Marvin Bozarth, one of the retread industry’s foremost experts and a past managing director of the American Retreaders Association (ARA) and executive director of the International Tire & Rubber Association (ITRA), died Sept. 1, 2022, at the Missouri Veterans Home in Mexico, Missouri. He was 85, according to his obituary.
Born Dec. 10, 1936, in Paris, Missouri, Bozarth was raised on a family farm 3 miles south of Paris on the Elk Fork of the Salt River. He joined the Army in 1955 and was stationed in Germany until his discharge in 1958. For the next seven years, he worked for MFA Oil & Tire Division in Columbia, Missouri and was responsible for its tire retread shop, his obituary said.
After Bozarth married his wife, Donna Lear, in 1962, they lived near Midway, Missouri, until he was offered a position at Community Tire Co. in St. Louis. In 1970, they moved near Potosi, Missouri, where Bozarth was employed by the Purcell Tire & Rubber Co. as plant manager and vice president of production.
Bozarth started his career at ARA in 1988 as technical director, and three years later, was named the association’s managing director. When the ARA changed its name to ITRA in 1996, Bozarth continued to lead the organization as executive director serving until 2002. During his tenure at ARA/ITRA, the association built a new headquarters and training center in Louisville, Kentucky, and greatly expanded and improved its retread and tire repair training programs. During this time, Bozarth also served as editor of The Tire Repair & Retread Journal and co-authored the book “Tire Essentials.”
Bozarth later worked as a consultant for his own company called Tire Analysis, Inc. He was an expert witness in civil court cases involving tires and retreading for many years. He also was the recipient of many awards and honors during his career.
Tina Bozarth, his daughter who also spent time in the tire industry, said her father had a deep passion for the tire business and “lived and breathed it.” She fondly remembers waiting for her dad in the car during trips to the gas station, as he would walk the lot looking at the tires on trucks. “I think he was looking to see if they retreaded,” Tina proudly shares. She and her siblings’ lives intertwined with the tire industry so much that she helped her father create an extruder gun and then created her own business, ETS Inc., and sold them for 10 years.
“The retreading business was so great,” she says. “Everyone is so down to earth. I’m glad my dad was in this industry because he deserved to be around good people like himself.”
In 1995, Bozarth was inducted into the Retreaders Hall of Fame. In 2022, he was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Tire Retreading Sector by Valebridge Media Services in the United Kingdom, publisher of Retreading Business and Tyre & Rubber Recycling magazines. Then in 2003, he was inducted into the Tire Industry Hall of Fame.
“Words cannot describe how much Marvin means to me and my family,” says Kevin Rohlwing, chief technical officer for the Tire Industry Association (TIA). “He took a chance on me 26 years ago and did everything he could to help me succeed. My time at ITRA with him as my boss was like a six-year doctorate program on tires and life.”
Rohlwing said Bozarth’s passion for the industry radiated in everything he did. For example, at the end of ITRA instructor training classes in Louisville (prior to the merger), Marvin would drop in and remind the students of their duty to pass on the information they learned to someone else, Rohlwing says. He would share his thoughts on the importance of making tire service safer for technicians, which was a “sobering and powerful moment when the students realized how they could save someone’s life,” Rohlwing recalled.
Roy Littlefield III, longtime TIA CEO who now serves as its government affairs consultant, said he had worked with Marvin for years and “can’t imagine anyone in the retread sector that knew more about tires than [Marvin] did.”
“He was so gracious to everyone he met. He was certainly one of my mentors,” Littlefield says.
According to his obituary, Bozarth enjoyed quail hunting and spending time with his family. He was active in the Baptist church and served as a deacon. He was well-read and very well-traveled. He was a light in the life of anyone who knew him, and we will all miss him very much, his family said.
Preceded in death by four brothers, Clyde, James, JE and Robert, and five sisters, Madge Tawney, Blanche Jacobs, Jane West, Esther Hatton and Dolly Kiplinger, Bozarth is survived by his wife, Donna, children Tina, Ed and Scott, grandson, Mitchell, and nieces and nephews too numerous to list.
A visitation will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, at the Bible Baptist Church, 4275 East Highway WW, Columbia, Mo., at 1 p.m. A short memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., his obituary says. Remarks and well wishes can be made on Bozarth’s digital tribute wall here through H.T. May & Sons Funeral Home.