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Retreading Legend, Tire Industry Hall of Famer Bozarth Dies

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Marvin Bozarth, whose tire industry career started in 1958, was inducted into the Tire Industry Hall of Fame in 2003 and retired from the Tire Industry Association in 2018.

| Photo Credit: TIA

Retread industry legend, former executive director of the American Retreaders Association and Tire Industry Hall of Fame member Marvin Bozarth recently died at the age of 85. 

The youngest child of Ed and Esther Bozarth of Paris, Mo., he was raised on their farm.

After a three-year stint in the U.S. Army, where he was stationed in Germany, Bozarth joined the tire industry in 1958, working as a plant manager for the Missouri Farmers Association Oil Co.

In 1965, he joined Community Tire Co. in St. Louis, Mo., where he served as general manager of the company's retread division.

In 1970, Bozarth joined Purcell Tire & Rubber Co. in Potosi, Mo., where he served as plant manager for five years and then vice president of manufacturing for 15 years.

In 1990, Bozarth accepted the position of technical director at the American Retreaders Association (ARA) in Louisville, Ky., which later became known as the International Tire & Rubber Association (ITRA), a predecessor to today's Tire Industry Association (TIA.) 

His first major assignment at the ARA was overseeing the design and construction of the organization’s state-of-the-art headquarters and training center in Louisville. 

Bozarth was promoted to executive director of the ARA in 1991.

During his tenure at the association, he served as editor of the Tire Retreading/Repair Journal and managed the organization’s name change transition from ARA to ITRA.

In 1991, he also received the ITRA Industry Recognition Award. Four years later, he was inducted into the Retreaders Hall of Fame.

Bozarth resigned from his position at ITRA in 2002 when the organization merged with the Tire Association of North America to form TIA.

He continued to serve TIA as senior technical consultant, while operating Bozarth Tire Industry Consultants LLC, whose services included tire and wheel failure analysis, expert witness testimony, equipment evaluation, plant surveys, troubleshooting, fleet surveys and more.

Bozarth was inducted into the Tire Industry Hall of Fame in 2003 and retired from TIA in 2018. This past May, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his numerous contributions to the tire industry.

During his career, Bozarth also served on the American Society for Testing and Materials F9 Committee and was a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers on the Off-the-Road Tire & Rim Committee. 

He was a member of the Society Automotive Engineers J2014 Committee for Tactical Military Tires and a board member of the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau.

He also was past chairman of the Retread Industry Government Advisory Council and a past member of the ITRA Advisory Council.

One of the things "that made Marvin special was his ability to put complex situations into the most simple terms that anybody could understand," said now-retired former TIA CEO Dr. Roy Littlefield last year in a publication celebrating TIA's 100th anniversary. 

Littlefield served as director of government affairs under Bozarth at the ARA and later ITRA.

"He was very effective when we met with legislators and regulators on Capitol Hill or industry groups and organizations because he was incredibly knowledgeable, yet very down to earth. Combine that with his kind and gentle spirit and he was an influential force in Washington D.C. and the industry (for the association's) members."

"Nobody knew retreading at the level of Marvin Bozarth, with his experience in passenger, light truck, truck and OTR retreading and repairing," noted former ARA President Terry Westhafer, himself a retreader for many years.

"He was a retreader and if another retreader needed help, he would do everything he could to solve the problem, which he did more times than not," Kevin Rohlwing, TIA's chief technical officer, wrote last year in a tribute to Bozarth.

"That's what I remember most about Marvin Bozarth as the leader of ITRA. It was always about helping the members. He drilled it into our heads every  day that we were a service organization," wrote Rohlwing, who added that Bozarth was "the epitome of the Horatio Alger story.

"From the humble beginnings of a small town in northeast Missouri to leading the ARA/ITRA and guiding (TIA's) hands-on training programs that continue to this day, his stamp on the industry and the association will be forever remembered.

"In his case, the riches in the 'rags to riches' story are the countless people he helped and the lives he changed for the better."

Preceded in death by four brothers - Clyde, James, J.E. and Robert - and five sisters - Madge Tawney, Blanche Jacobs, Jane West, Esther Hatton and Dolly Kiplinger - Bozarth is survived by his wife Donna, whom he married in 1962; children, Tina, Ed and Scott;  grandson, Mitchell; many nephews and nieces; and friends.

A visitation for Bozarth will be held on Tues., September 13, at the Bible Baptist Church; 4275 East Highway; Columbia, Mo., at 1:00 p.m EST.. A short memorial service will be held there at 2:00 p.m.
 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Missouri Veterans Home in Mexico, Mo., or to the Alzheimer's Association at www.alz.org.

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