Charles Saab

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Charles Edward "Porky" Saab (born September 18, 1915 in Birmingham; died November 22, 1992 in Birmingham) was a welterweight boxer and the founder of Saab Tire & Automotive.

Saab was the 9th of 12 children in a family living in East Thomas. His father died when he was 13, and just before the Great Depression. Charles, nicknamed "Porky", delivered newspapers to help support the family. Dave Evans found him at the Boys Club and invited him to train as a boxer. Over the next eight years he fought more than 140 professional bouts before he retired from boxing in the mid-1930s and settled in Washington D.C.

When the U.S. entered World War II, Saab enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Afterward he returned to Birmingham where he married and opened a grocery store at 6th Avenue South and 32nd Street in Lakeview. He later partnered with Louis David in a new venture, Surplus Tire Sales at 1029 1st Avenue North. After a year and a half David bought out Saab's share of the business, and he went to work for Southern Rubber.

Saab's wife, Ione, encouraged him to go out on his own. They founded the Saab Tire Company in 1958 and were successful, soon moving it to the former Acme Oil Co. building on 5th Avenue North. The Saabs originally sold casings for retreads on a wholesale basis, but expanded to retail sales of used tires, and later to factory take-offs, installation and service. Their son, Charles Jr joined the business in 1973 and expanded the service department.

Saab died in 1992 after a long fight with Alzheimer's disease. He is buried at Elmwood Cemetery.


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