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Fellow dealers note passing of James S. Ballard

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Long-time tire dealer James S. Ballard, 87, founder of Freeway Tire Co. in San Diego, Calif., recently died.

Ballard had more than 60 years in the surplus and used tire business, noted Carl Atkinson Jr. of Wheels Etc. "He was extremely nice and well-liked by many similar tire dealers throughout the United States."

One of those dealers was Eugene Beck, founder of Beck Tire International in Kansas City, Mo., who sent us this tribute:

"At the close of World War II in 1945, many individuals found themselves out of work. You either found a job or created one. James S. Ballard created one, by involving himself in the buying and selling of used tires in the San Diego area. He started Freeway Tire Co. in 1946 with one pickup truck. He also began another tire adventure, purchasing government surplus aircraft tires for ground use in the mid-1960s.

"No question, he was an entrepreneur. A span of over 60 years, through hard work and dedication, Freeway Tire , with the guidance of James S. Ballard, has remained solid, and is now managed by his son, James T. Ballard.

"James S. Ballard developed many business friendships over the years, working with many successful individuals in the tire business. He was well-liked and he was called by his friends 'a true gentleman.'

"He possessed great values and a great business acumen. He shared his knowledge of the tire industry with many new faces that came along in the tire business. He was a hands-on type of individual and handled many tires over his career, wearing out many gloves. He enjoyed working in the industry and that was part of his success, he enjoyed the rewards of a successful business and was dedicated to his family.

"He always had a smile to greet anyone he met. He enjoyed his business and personal friendships including John Barberi of Sacramento, Calif., John Sullivan of Phoenix, Ariz., and with me, Gene Beck."

Ballard is survived by his six children, 10 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

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