|United States Ambassador to Belgium|
|Preceded by||Robert Strausz-Hupé|
|Succeeded by||Anne Cox Chambers|
|Born||Leonard Kimball Firestone
June 10, 1907
Akron, Summit County, Ohio
|Died||December 24, 1996
Pebble Beach, California
Barbara Knickerbocker Heatley;
Caroline Hudson Lynch
|Alma mater||Princeton University|
Leonard Kimball Firestone (June 10, 1907 – December 24, 1996), was a business man, ambassador and philanthropist.
He was born on June 10, 1907 in Akron, Ohio to Harvey Firestone and Idabelle Smith Firestone. He was educated at The Hill School, and graduated from Princeton University in 1931, where he was active in golf and polo. He was a member of Alpha Kappa Psi, and later attendee at Bohemian Grove.
He was employed on graduation by the family company in sales positions by Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, founded by his father in Akron, Ohio. In 1935, he was appointed sales manager and in 1939 became a director of Firestone. He was named president of Firestone Aviation Products Co. in 1941.
He was commissioned in the United States Navy as a lieutenant, but was assigned to inactive status to become president of Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. of California in 1943. In 1966, he was the target of an abortive multimillion-dollar kidnap plan. He retired as president of Firestone's California operations in 1970.
Politics and diplomacy
Firestone was chairman of the Nelson Rockefeller campaign in the California Presidential primary in 1964. Firestone was appointed U.S. ambassador to Belgium by President Richard Nixon in 1974, and was reappointed by President Gerald Ford, serving until 1976. He was later chairman of the Richard M. Nixon Foundation.
Inspired by a 10-year local weather study, Firestone and two neighboring ranchers developed vineyards in the Santa Ynez valley, California in 1972. Firestone planted 250 acres (1.0 km2) of vines, including 60 acres (240,000 m2) of Chardonnay.
In 1975, his son Brooks decided to leave the family business, and relocated his family to the Santa Ynez Valley:
I am the classic executive dropout. I spent 12 years in the tire business, and I finally decided my soul wasn’t there.
In partnership with his father, he founded the first commercial winery to crush grapes in Santa Barbara County. The vineyard served as the basis for the major development in California as a global source of wine.
Firestone was a contributor to charities and served as president of the trustees of the University of Southern California and president of the World Affairs Council of L.A. He was a board member of several organisations.
Firestone took a particular interest in charities associated with alcohol abuse, and was cofounder of the Betty Ford Centre in 1982. He was also director of the National Council of Alcoholism and also the Eisenhower Medical Center. Firestone also served on the Advisory Board of the ABC Recovery Center and was a major contributor to the expansion at the ABC Center.
In 1932, he married Polly Curtis, by whom he had three children, including Brooks Firestone and Kimball Firestone who owns Firestone's Culinary Tavern in Frederick, Maryland. Polly died in 1965 of cancer. He then married Barbara Knickerbocker Heatley on March 4, 1966. She died in 1985 of cancer as well. He married Caroline Hudson Lynch on January 11, 1987, the daughter of the owner of Oklahoma Ada and Atoka Railroad. His grandson is TV reality show personality Andrew Firestone. Leonard Firestone was buried at Columbiana Cemetery, Columbiana, Ohio.
- "Leonard Kimball Firestone, class of 1931". Princeton University. 1996. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
Leonard Firestone died at home in Pebble Beach, Calif., Dec. 24, 1996, of respiratory failure. He was 89. At The Hill School, where he prepared, and at Princeton, he was active in golf and polo. Upon graduation he was employed in sales positions by Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., founded by his father in Akron, Ohio. In 1932, he married Polly Curtis, by whom he had three children. Polly died in 1965. In 1935, Len was appointed sales manager and in 1939 became a director of Firestone. He was named president of Firestone Aviation Products Co. in 1941. He was commissioned in the Navy as a lieutenant, but was assigned to inactive status to become president of Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. of California in 1943. ...
- Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity Archived September 12, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
- Planet – 404 pagina
- ABC Recovery Center
- The Political Graveyard: Index to Politicians: Finlinson to Fischel
- City Election Results 1950–2005
- Anderson, Totton J.; Lee, Eugene C. (January 1, 1965). "The 1964 Election in California". The Western Political Quarterly. 18 (2): 451–474. doi:10.2307/445290. JSTOR 445290.
- L. K. Firestone Weds Caroline Lynch – New York Times
- Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation – Betty Ford Center News
- WineDay:Firestone Milestones
- "Mrs. Leonard Firestone, 55, Wife of Industrialist, Is Dead". New York Times. January 11, 1965. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
- Leonard Kimball Firestone at Find a Grave