By SEMA Editors
Harold Coker with his son Corky.
Coker Tire Co. founder and automotive aftermarket pioneer Harold Coker, 84, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, passed away Sunday, November 16.
Coker opened his business in 1958, seeking out molds for obsolete tires and licensing them, virtually creating the collector vehicle tire industry in the process of simply trying to provide authentic tires for antique automobile collectors. This passionate endeavor gained him a place in the Tire Industry Association Hall of Fame just two weeks prior to his passing.
Since his retirement in 2004, Coker spent his days with his wife Lillian and growing family of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His lifelong passion of restoring antique cars kept him busy in the garage, even as he continued community service on various boards and committees.
Coker always felt compelled to give back to the community that was so much a part of his success. After becoming involved in local politics in the 1980s, he was called the father of the Hamilton County Republican Party, ran for U.S. Congress in 1988 and served on the Hamilton County Commission for 20 years, playing critical roles in the development and growth of Chattanooga’s current landscape. High points in Coker’s contributions include key roles in the acquisition and development of Enterprise South Industrial Park, which is now home to Amazon and Volkswagen Group of North America. He also served on the board responsible for bringing the residential fiber-optic network to Chattanooga area residents.
Coker is survived by his wife of 61 years, Lillian, his two sons Corky (wife Theresa) Coker and David (wife Kathy) Coker, daughter Christie (husband Jerry) Bowen, seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
For more information on Coker’s passing, visit Tire Business online.