Harvey Brodsky, the longtime managing director of first the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau (TRIB) and then the Retread Tire Association (RTA), has died in Pacific Grove, Calif. He was 81.
He died on Sept. 17 of complications from lung cancer, which he had been battling since March of this year.
"One of Harvey’s many sayings has become a guidepost for RTA: 'Always be better than you need to be,' says Managing Director Jeffrey Parks, who knew and worked with Brodsky for 35 years.
He would also say, “There’s never a wrong time to do the right thing, and there's never a right time to do the wrong thing.”
"All words to live by, every day," says Parks.
Brodsky was born Dec. 16, 1935, and raised in Philadelphia, "and like most guys from Philly, was a friend for life once he got to know you," says Parks. "He made lifelong friends there and he loved them all to the end.
"As a boy he loved baseball, collected statistics, cards, news clippings and could name any player or team. He took his first job in his father Max’s auto upholstery business, and was a devoted son to him and his mother Gertrude, along with his sister and his brother Frank."
After a stint in the Army, he started his own company, a one-man upholstery business. "He sold himself door to door, to the finest and also the simplest restaurants and bars of LA, upholstering booths that would be occupied by the movie stars of the day, at Musso and Frank, Bordner’s, The Rainbow Room, Formosa Café, places of Hollywood history, and countless more," says Parks.
Over the years, Brodsky shared stories of his encounters with famous people with his friends in the tire industry. He lunched with author Ayn Rand; met actor and future president Ronald Reagan on a long train ride; and partied at the home of singer Bobby Darin. He also met artist Pablo Picasso, and was a dear friend of writer Art Buchwald.
Brodsky started in the tire industry in the early 1970’s. After years with the Lodi Super Mold Co. and Big O Tires, he took over the Tire Retread Information Bureau in 1982. His name quickly became synonymous with retreading.
* In 1991, he received the American Retreaders Association (ARA) Industry Leadership Award.
* In 2000, he was inducted into the International Tire & Rubber Association Hall of Fame.
Brodsky parted ways with TRIB in 2010. Shortly thereafter, he created the Retread Tire Association. Severe back problems forced him to pass the association leadership duties to Parks in December 2016.
He leaves behind two adult children and his beloved wife, Rona Halpern, who has been battling breast cancer for 15 years. She set up a gofundme account to help pay for Harvey’s medical bills. To donate, click on https://www.gofundme.com/harvey-brodskys-medical-fund.
For more information on Brodsky, check out "Harvey Brodsky Made a Lasting Impression on Retreading, the Tire Industry and Me."