Tire dealer Stuart “Stu” Zurcher died Wednesday, March 13, 2019. He was 72. Zurcher was born in Decatur, Ind., and was a 1965 graduate of Adams Central High School. He earned his associate degree in sheet metal development at International Harvester Apprentice School, and earned two more associate degrees in mechanical engineering from the Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne and the Indiana Institute of Technology.
In 1974 he founded Zurcher Tire of Angola Inc. in Angola, Ind., and managed the business for 36 years, until 2001. He was a past president of the Indiana/Illinois Tire Dealers Association (IITDA) and also served on the Tire Industry Association’s board of directors. He was an advocate and firm believer in educational opportunities for tire dealers.
Roy Littlefield, CEO of TIA, said, "Stu Zurcher was an enthusiastic TIA leader, a caring mentor, and a long-time supporter of the TIA training programs. He will be greatly missed by his many friends in the tire industry."
In 2007 Zurcher was part of the two-man team to create Dealer Strategic Planning Inc. (DSP), the tire industry’s first 20 group. Four years later, in 2011, he sold his investment in DSP to co-founder Norm Gaither, and Zurcher turned his focus to helping commercial tire dealers improve their profitability. He founded Strategic Alliance Group Inc. that same year.
Zurcher also worked to help tire dealers address one of their most serious problems — educating and developing the talent for the next generation of managers and owners. In early 2013 he assembled a group of tire dealers and collaborated with Northwood University to create Tire Leadership 21. It’s a university-level program to help promising employees learn about the financial side of the business.
He is survived by his daughter, Lesli Emerick, of Fishers, Ind.; two sisters, Vicki Magsamen of Fishers and Penny (Doug) Hinsky, of Decatur; and a grandson, Emerson Emerick.
He was preceded in death by a brother-in-law, Michael Magsamen.
Details about the visitation and funeral service, which will be held Monday, March 18, are available on the funeral home website.