OTR Tire Pioneer, Cobre Tire Founder Bob Fletcher Dies
OTR tire industry pioneer Bob Fletcher recently died at the age of 100. In 1970, Fletcher started Cobre Tire Co., which - under his leadership - became one of the largest OTR tire dealerships in North America, serving customers throughout the mining and construction industries.
Born in Phoenix, Ariz., Fletcher served in Africa and Italy during World War II as part of the Army Air Corps 41st Depot Repair Squadron, earning two bronze stars and other honors.
During his business career, Fletcher also co-founded and served as president of AMIGOS, an organization of Arizona business leaders dedicated to keeping Arizona's mining industry thriving.
A lifelong farmer who purchased his first plot of land at the age of 18, he also worked to bring water from the Colorado River to central Arizona and assisted with efforts to provide Arizona-based growers with access to affordable electricity and water.
He promoted Cobre Tire through his Fletcher Racing Team, which competed in Indy car racing at major venues, and also was a co-owner Phoenix International Raceway.
Active in his local Methodist church, Fletcher was the recipient of the Bishop Gerald Kennedy Award for his years of service, which included providing financial assistance to build churches and finance seminary training for missionaries and pastors.
"Bob Fletcher lived a full, rich and meaningful life," says Shawn Rasey director of global business development, earthmover tires, Continental.
"During his early Cobre Tire days, he quickly became an expert in what mines needed and built a specialized sales and service network across the United States to satisfy those requirements.
"I believe during that time, Cobre Tire grew to become the largest OTR dealer for Uniroyal, Yokohama, Firestone and Bridgestone. Bob helped Bridgestone early on in their ambitions to become a legitimate mining tire supplier. His support was critical in their OTR development.," Rasey continues.
"Bob was the kind of guy who could, in one moment, sit down in the board room with a rubber company CEO to charm them with his real-world wit and to work out complex deals, then jump on his plane and fly home to mend a fence row on his ranch. He was an extraordinarily adaptable man, right up to the end.
"Bob always found time listen to anyone who needed his ear and to dole out homespun wisdom to help provide useful direction to solve their problem. He will be missed by many."
Fletcher is survived by his wife, Karen, and his children Connie Harrington (Rick), Les Fletcher (Jeannie) and Jerry Fletcher (Lisa), as well as 10 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. Karen's children include Larry McCormick (Kara), Kimberly Wallace (Richard), Laura Laidley (Suan) and Kristy Kanui (Shaun), plus 16 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service was held earlier this month. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Arizona Agricultural Education/FFA Foundation, P.O. Box 5310, Glendale, Ariz. 85312 or online at: https://azffafoundation.org/donate-%26-reward-programs.