BRUCE THOMAS HALLE
Bruce Halle, philanthropist and Chairman of Discount Tire, passed away on January 4, 2018.
In 1960, with an inventory of only six tires, Halle founded Discount Tire in Michigan and built it into the largest independent tire dealer in North America. He is survived by Diane, his wife; four children; a brother; two sisters; and seven grandchildren.
Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, Halle was the second of seven children. As a young boy, during the Great Depression, he helped to support his family by delivering newspapers, cutting grass and digging graves. In 1942, the family relocated to Michigan where Halle completed high school. After enlisting in the US Marine Corps and serving a tour of duty in the Korean War, he returned home and, in 1956, received a degree in Business Administration from Eastern Michigan University.
Next, Halle took a series of jobs, then formed an auto supply distribution company with a high school friend. By late 1959, the business went bankrupt.
The following year, borrowing just $400, Halle acquired an inventory consisting of two new tires and four retreads, rented an old plumbing supply building, built countertops, repainted the outdoor signage and was the store’s only employee; tire technician, cleaning crew, salesman and accountant. It was three days before Halle had his first customer and a week before he made a sale.
Halle opened his second store in 1964 and had seven in Michigan by 1970. He expanded to Arizona that same year, then moved its headquarters to Scottsdale in 1987. By 1990 the company had more than 200 stores and opened its 500th store in 2002. Discount Tire currently has 975 stores in 34 states and employs more than 20,000 people.
As a businessman, Halle was described as an unassuming, down-to-earth and self-made billionaire who built a business empire on the philosophy of taking care of people and giving them a good deal.
Michael Zuieback, CEO of Discount Tire shared,“I have had the privilege of working with and learning from the most talented, respected, humble and kind leader anyone could hope for, and I speak on behalf of all who knew Bruce, in that he will be dearly missed.”
Halle’s phenomenal business success was matched by his astounding generosity. With his wife, the Halles formed a philanthropic foundation – the Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation – defined as “a collaborative charitable resource that embraces the entrepreneurial spirit in like-minded philanthropists and nonprofits to propel real social change.” The mission is “to strengthen the daily opportunities and lifelong outcomes for the people and the communities in Arizona.” The categories of giving are Social Justice, Hunger, Homelessness, Human Services, Health and Medicine, Arts and Culture, Education, Religion and Scholarship.
Charitable donations to many statewide nonprofit organizations include American Heart Association, Children First Academy (the nation’s largest school for homeless children), American Cancer Society, Muscular Dystrophy Association, American Red Cross, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and American Liver Foundation.
Equally dedicated to caring for the local Valley community, the Foundation serves Arizona Boys and Girls Clubs, Mayo Clinic, Arizona Opera League, The Phoenix Symphony, Scottsdale Symphony, ASU Foundation, Crisis Nursery, Ballet Arizona, Arizona Kidney Foundation, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the Diane Halle Center for Family Justice at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. And, since 2004, the Halles have offered a scholarship program that has helped more than 2,700 Discount Tire employees’ children attend college.
Passionate collectors of 20th and 21st century Latin American art, the Halles have generously donated many works to Phoenix Art Museum. Amada Cruz, The Sybil Harrington Director and CEO, Phoenix Art Museum said, “Mr. Halle was a model of profound generosity, whose long life was one characterized by a commitment to his values of hard work, determination, self-reliance and an entrepreneurial spirit that drove his success as a self-made man.”
It seems especially fitting that the Halle’s exquisite Black Cloud artwork by Carlos Amorales is currently on loan from their collection. Each visitor who enters the Museum will pass through this installation. The artist has described it as his way of saying goodbye to his grandmother.
Goodbye, but never forgotten.