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T.O. Haas Tire Co. founder dies

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Long-time tire dealer and Tire Industry Hall of Fame member Theo Oswald "T.O." Haas passed away this past Sunday; he was 87.

Haas founded T.O. Haas Tire Co. in 1947 after serving in the Air Force during World War II.

Under his guidance, the Lincoln, Neb.-based company grew into one of the Midwest's largest independent tire dealerships.

It now boasts 29 stores, according to Modern Tire Dealer statistics.

After retiring in 1978, Haas co-authored a legislative bill in Nebraska that collects $1 for the disposal of each scrap tire, which has generated millions of dollars that cities and municipalities throughout the state have used to build or renovate recycling centers.

He also championed several causes outside the tire industry.

He and his wife, Terry -- both master gardners -- taught school children how to grow and maintain gardens, and he contributed to police dog programs, which earned him a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Police Officers Association of Nebraska last month.

Haas also was involved in numerous civic and community organizations.

In 2000, he was inducted into the Tire Industry Hall of Fame.

"My mom and dad always stressed honesty and integrity and that seems to work pretty well," Haas told MTD when asked if he had any advice for fellow tire dealers shortly after his Hall of Fame induction.

"Make friends. If you have lots of friends, you have everything."

He is survived by his wife, Terry; son, Randy; daughter-in-law, Sheri; son, Rick; daughter, Rebecca; son-in-law James Alan Williams Jr.; and seven grandchildren.

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