OBITUARY: Harvey Brodsky, founder of Retread Tire Association (RTA)
I am actually very upset at you personally, for having left this world which you loved so much. If I could talk to you now face to face, we would probably be exchanging jokes and gossiping about the retread industry that became an inseparable part of your soul. I remember how many times, when I told you that it’s time to rest, your answer was “you’ll have plenty of time to rest when you’re dead”. Now you have time, but knowing you, you are probably up to something which is unusual, rare, but never unethical.
When I met you for the first time 41 years ago, the first thing that impressed me was your positive attitude towards almost everything in life and your deep dismay of bigotry, lies and inequality. I remember what you told me when we were standing in the rain on a dreary day in Akron. I told you how I hate this weather. Your immediate response was “You don’t hate the weather, you hate Hitler or bigotry.” Harvey, since that day I have never used this term. Out next encounter was in Louisville, Kentucky, at the ARA Retread Show. You decided that we shall be walking to the hotel, which was “only” 5 miles away. You picked up an old newspaper and threw to a garbage can. Your words were “if everyone picks up one piece of garbage a day, the world will become the cleanest place.” Ever since, I pick up some garbage every day, despite the fact that the world has not yet become cleaner, but it will.
In so many ways you have shaped my life and influenced me, like many other people, in your simple, straightforward and very convincing opinions, as you had an opinion about everything, mostly positive. I think this is what attracted people to you. You have over the years rather often, asked me for professional advice and assistance. You have always thanked me for it. You have never taken it for granted. The only thing you have taken for granted is the necessity for you to assist other people. One of your greatest impacts was your love of reading literature of any kind. I have never seen anyone who carried with him on every trip, so many books. You would always give those books as presents to other people when you had finished reading them. You have taught me the love of literature and to many others.
The one thing that makes me happy about your departure is that you do not have to see the miserable time that our industry is going through. I do not remember a more difficult, unrewarding period for the retread industry as it is now, despite the fact that it is still the No. 1 tire recycling. The low price tyres coming mainly from China are hurting this industry, in a manner that is hard to describe. We know it will be over, but it does take its time and toll. In our business, there are few giants like you and it makes our industry special. I want to thank you Harvey for the many years of true friendship, but I still cannot forgive you for leaving us. Like most people in the tyre and rubber arena, we love you. Rest in peace my friend. I will never forget you. As you would say: “As ever” Jacob
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