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Tire industry's own Steve Disney dies

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Tire industry's own Steve Disney dies

Stephen "Steve" Disney, the Louisville, Ky., tire dealer who led the newly merged Tire Association of North America and International Tire & Rubber Association through its first year of existence, died Jan. 24, 2013. He was 56 years old.

According to his wife, Cathleen (Cathy), he fought a life-long battle with post-radiation disease.

"Steve died of post-op complications following artificial heart transplant surgery in Houston," she says.

"I am pleased and grateful for the care provided by the surgical, cardiac and nursing staff here at Methodist Debakey Hospital. They were able to give him this last chance at life, something only a few surgeons in the United States were qualified and willing to do."

Disney is survived by Cathy and their two children.

"Clark, Christine and I feel as if we have lost the most important person in our lives. We are devastated by the loss."

Steve was preceded in death by his father, Paul Disney, who co-founded Disney Tire Co., a wholesale tire dealership based in Louisville, with his father in 1950. Paul Disney died in 2010 at the age of 83.

Raben Tire Co. Inc. acquired the assets of Disney Tire in 2005.

As the first president of what eventually became the Tire Industry Association (TIA), Disney said the first order of business was consistency for tire dealers and retreaders alike.

"We want to ensure that all members have a consistent experience," he said. "We must deliver excellent member services."

Disney also presided over Disney Tire Co. as president, and was chairman and president of SURE Tire Co. at one time. In 2003, he was the recipient of TIA's Industry Leadership Award.

He also was known for his lifelong love affair with popular music -- and his extensive LP collection. While attending Vanderbilt University in Nashville from 1973-1977 (BA, business administration), he brought big-name acts like Frank Zappa, Genesis and Jimmy Buffett to the campus.

We will provide more information as it becomes available.

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