Harold Finkelstein of Max Finkelstein Inc. Has Died

Dec. 17, 2021

Harold Finkelstein, who grew up in the family business and became one of the owners and leaders of Max Finkelstein Inc., one of the nation’s largest independent wholesale tire distributors, has died. He was 86.

Harold is actually part of the third generation of Finkelsteins to work in the family business which got its start as a junk collection and metal recycling business and transitioned to tires in 1919. Harold was born in 1935 and named after the company’s founder. He grew up in New York, married his high school sweetheart at age 21 and then was drafted to the U.S. Army.

He earned his business degree from New York University in 1955 and that same year officially joined the family business. His family notes "from the start, it was clear that he was a gifted and savvy businessman. He conducted business with passion, charisma and had a natural ability for building relationships with customers, associates and vendors whom he treated like family."

He dedicated himself to Max Finkelstein Inc, and in 1973 Harold and his brother Jerry became the company’s owners.

Together, the brothers expanded the company from a single-location shop in Astoria, N.Y. into a large-scale, regional distribution operation. Max Finkelstein now has 15 locations from Maine to Virginia and Pennsylvania and about 500 employees, including several members of the fourth generation of the Finkelstein family.

In “Max Finkelstein Inc: A Centennial Story,” employees and family members shared stories of Harold’s seemingly endless passion and love for his work. Here’s a snippet of a memory from Dave Goldman, director of commercial products.

Goldman said Harold loved making deals with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., the company’s top brand and supplier.

“When he knew he made an amazing deal, he would hang up the phone and he’d be rolling around on the floor like a little boy. That’s just the enthusiasm and passion that he’s always had in the business.”

And Goldman said three years ago, at age 83, Harold “still has the passion” and was “still loving it.”

During a centennial celebration for the company in June 2019, Goodyear CEO, Chairman and President Rich Kramer presented Harold and Jerry with lifetime achievement awards.

Harold died on Dec. 15 surrounded by his family.

In an online statement the company noted Harold played an instrumental role in many people’s lives.

“His lifelong dedication to Max Finkelstein Inc. and all that we hold dear will live on for generations in the spirit of his commitment to all that he loved, including every individual that is or has been a member of the Max Finkelstein Inc. family.”

He also was a former president of the New York Tire Dealers Association.

Away from the tire world, Harold was an avid outdoorsman who shared his love of hunting, fishing and gardening with his family and friends. He was an active member and generous supporter of his synagogue for more than 50 years. He sat in the front row to watch his wife singing in the choir.

Harold is survived by his wife of nearly 65 years, Marilyn, and their children, Ronald (Michelle) Finkelstein, Ellen (Scott) Paticoff, and Paula (Howard) Rosenthal; 10 grandchildren, Andrew (Hilary), Brian (Hali), Jonathan (Sarah), Jeffrey (Alyssa), Melanie (Andrew), Danielle, David, Julie, Jason and Daniel; four great-grandchildren, Benjamin, Noah, Jessa and Jonah; and siblings, Jerome (Estelle) Finkelstein and Susan (Paul) Schiff.

At a centennial gala for Max Finkelstein Inc. in 2019, brothers Jerry, left, and Harold, right, posed with Goodyear's Rich Kramer.