Founder of Southern Tire Mart passes away

Founder of Southern Tire Mart passes away

COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) - Ernest Duff died May 27, 2016, at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  Visitation and funeral are at Hathorn Funeral Home in Columbia, Mississippi, Sunday, May 29, 2016.  Visitation is from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. with the funeral at 3 p.m. Interment will be held at Woodlawn Cemetery in Columbia.

Ernest Duff was born to Carl M. and Lela Harvey Duff June 2, 1931, in Covington County.  He is preceded in death by his parents, his brother Radelle Duff and two sisters Janie Duff Cochran and Georgia Duff Harrington.  He is survived by his wife Bobbie Baggett Duff of Hattiesburg, three sons Tommy, Jim and Stephen of Hattiesburg and his daughter Jane of Hattiesburg, seven grandchildren, Jeremy Duff Thomley, Katie Duff Waldrop, Amanda Thomley Egan, Robbie Duff, Maggie Duff, Michael Thomley, Caroline Duff, and six great grandchildren.

He attended the Oak Grove Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints where he served as a former Bishop and member of the High Priest Quorum.

Mr. Ernest, as he was known by his friends, was a man of vision and inspiration. His leadership abilities were evident early in life as he was chosen President of the National Youth Red Cross when he was a senior at Columbia High School and was President of the Student Body at Columbia High. He attended Ole Miss where he was elected President of the Student Body and was a graduate of the Ole Miss Law School.  Mr. Ernest served as attorney for the City of Columbia for 32 years; attorney for Marion County for 36 years; attorney for Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association for 53  years; and served on the board of directors of Trustmark Bank for 28 years.

Ernest Duff had an entrepreneurial spirit.  As a successful corporate attorney he worked with many major businesses and while serving as an attorney for Georgia Pacific in Columbia he saw a need, filled it and, as they say, the rest is history. The company needed someone to haul wood chips and Mr. Ernest started Forest Products Transports.  The trucks needed tires so he started Southern Tire Mart which has become the largest commercial tire dealer in North America.

Southern Tire Mart led to the formation of Duff Capital Investors which is comprised of twelve various businesses employing over 10,000 people with total revenues exceeding $ 2.2 billion.  Duff Capital Investors is the second largest business in Mississippi which includes KLLM Transport Services of Jackson.

In lieu of flowers the family has requested donations be sent to:

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

P.O. Box 97151

Washington, D.C. 20090-7151

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

P.O. Box 96305

Washington, D.C. 20090-6305