Former Tire Dealer of the Year Walt Dealtrey dies

Dec. 4, 2002

Walter J. Dealtrey Sr., 74, of Lower Saucon Township in Bethlehem, Pa., died on Dec. 2 at St. Luke’s Hospital.

Dealtrey was the co-founder of Service Tire Company Inc. in Bethlehem in 1955. Service Tire grew to five stores before Dealtrey sold them in 1980 to concentrate on his thriving Service Tire Truck Centers (STTC) commercial tire business.

He retired as chairman of STTC in 1999.

In 1997, Dealtrey was named Modern Tire Dealer's Tire Dealer of the Year.

"I first met Walt when he was named our 1997 Tire Dealer of the Year," says Greg Smith, MTD publisher. "He was not a talker, but rather a person who got things done. He not only loved his community, he worked hard to improve it.

"It was obvious by talking with his suppliers, his associates, his customers and civic leaders that Walt had a special presence about him that allowed him to succeed in all facets of life. The industry has lost a great individual and leader."

Dealtrey worked on the city council and created a Chamber of Commerce project to entice high-tech and light industry into the region to decrease its dependency on the steel business.

He also spearheaded the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park system and worked as the group’s president for 20 years. The group has created five industrial parks with nearly 15,000 employees, bringing in more than $280 million in payrolls and $10 million in taxes annually.

He also helped organize the I-78 Association that helped push through construction of a 38-mile link to the interstate system.

He was a director of the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, Lehigh Valley Partnership, Lehigh Valley Industrial Park Inc. and Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. He also was the chairman and founder of the Bethlehem Area Vocational Technical School's Bridges Foundation.

He served as president of the Bethlehem Jaycees from 1961-1962; the Bethlehem Risk Corp., 1967; Lehigh Valley Industrial Park, 1985-1996; Bethlehem Area Chamber of Commerce, 1976-1977; and the I-78 Association, 1979–1984.

Dealtrey served as co-chairman of the Greater Bethlehem Area United Way Fund Campaign in 1975, campaign chairman of the United Way of Northampton County in 1985, and chairman of Blue Cross of the Lehigh Valley from 1976–1977.

He served as a director for the Keystone Savings & Loan Association, Boy Scout Council, Blue Cross of the Lehigh Valley, Summit Bank (Pa.), Muhlenburg Hospital and Highmark Inc./Blue Shield in Pittsburgh.

He also was a member of the Bethlehem Area School Authority from 1965-1968, and served on the Bethlehem City Council from 1968–1972.

Dealtrey was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Bethlehem, where he served as an elder and past president of the board of trustees.

Dealtrey graduated from high school in 1946 and served in the U.S. Army. He trained to be a crypto analyst and was assigned duty in post-war Japan, but wound up in Alaska as a clerk/typist. He left the service in 1948 and started his college education at Union Junior College in Cranford, N.J.

He moved on to Syracuse University and earned a bachelor's degree in business in 1952 before joining the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. He left to start his own business in 1955.

In MTD's November 1997 article honoring Dealtrey, Bethlehem’s mayor called Dealtrey "the epitome of what a community leader should be." Here are some of Dealtrey's quotes from the article:

* "Quality is not measured by me -- not even by you. Quality is in the eyes of the customer."

* "One hundred percent is the only acceptable quality level. It's the only number customers will really accept."

* "There is no such thing as good enough."

* "Listening -- the single most important act of caring."

Born in Miami and raised in Plainfield, N.J., he was the son of the late Rose and William Dealtrey.

He is survived by his wife, Joan; his son, Walter Jr., of Bethlehem, Pa.; two daughters, Rev. Dale Dealtrey Uffelman of Chatham, N.J., and Helen Toscano of Bountiful, Utah; and a brother, William, of New York City, N.Y. He also is also survived by five grandchildren: Elizabeth and Charles Uffelmlan, Julia Toscano, and Scott and Jack Dealtrey.

There will be a Memorial Service on Friday, Dec. 6, at 10 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church 2344 Center Street, Bethlehem.

Memorials may be made to Bethlehem Area Vo-Technical Bridges Foundation, 3300 Chester Ave., Bethlehem, PA 18020.

The Connell Funeral Home in Bethlehem is handling arrangements.