Ed Wagner dies at age 87; enshrined in Tire Industry Hall of Fame

Jan. 1, 2020
Known and respected throughout the tire industry for his many contributions spanning many years, Ed Wagner died Sept. 7 at a hospice in Louisville, Ky. He was 87.

Known and respected throughout the tire industry for his many contributions spanning many years, Ed Wagner died Sept. 7 at a hospice in Louisville, Ky. He was 87.

Wagner was inducted into the Tire Industry Hall of Fame in 1998.

Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Martha, five sons, four daughters and nine grandchildren. The funeral is Monday, Sept. 12 at St. Albert the Great Catholic Church in Louisville.

“The industry lost a giant this week,” says Roy Littlefield, executive vice president of the Tire Industry Association (TIA). “The association lost one of its true leaders, and we all lost a friend.”

Wagner was a former director of the American Retreaders Association (ARA), which later became the International Tire & Rubber Association (ITRA), subsequently merging with the Tire Association of North America (TANA) in 2002 to form the current TIA.

In 1968, Wagner succeeded George Edwards at the ARA, managing the Louisville Conference for 20 years as it grew to become one of the top 200 industrial trade shows in the U.S. During his tenure the organization’s roster expanded from 250 members to more than 1,600.

From 1956 to 1958, he served as director of the Retreading Institute with the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association (NTDRA). For more than 30 years he also wrote for Modern Tire Dealer.

“Ed had a tremendous positive impact on the industry, on the association, and on me,” Littlefield says. “Ed Wagner was a prince. He was fair-minded, witty, enthusiastic, respectful and warm. He was one of the most intelligent individuals I have ever known.”

Littlefield recalls that “over the years that I had an opportunity to work with Ed, he always had time to share his wisdom with me. Right up to our last telephone conversation, he was full of energy to put a new strategy into play.”

Wagner took pride in the blessings he had accumulated during his journey through life. “He was proud of his wife, Martha, and of his large and loving family. He was proud of his Catholic traditions, and he was proud of our industry association,” Littlefield says.

“I can truly say that I am a better person because of Ed Wagner,” he points out. “We all are.”

For more information, visit www.tireindustry.org.

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