BARRY STEINBERG
1945 - 2021
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STEINBERG, Barry Barry Steinberg of Boston, MA, passed away after a long battle with prostate cancer on April 27th, 2021. He was 75 years old. Barry was born in Port Chester, NY in 1945 to Pearl and Meyer Steinberg. He was the younger brother of Judy Carlish. He graduated Port Chester High in 1963 and completed two years of college before being drafted into the Army, serving in Thailand during the Vietnam conflict. After his service, Barry began a lifelong career in the auto business, initially working for Duddy Kravitz at Duddy's Tire. In 1974, he partnered with his friend, Albee Stone, founding Direct Tire and Auto Service in Watertown. After six months he bought Albee's share and they remained lifelong friends. Barry went on to build one of the most well-known businesses in the Boston area, specializing in high-end custom wheels and winning over customers with great service, echoing his father's motto: "the customer is always right." Direct Tire grew to five locations, earning the distinction of receiving the first-ever "Tire Dealer of the Year" by Modern Tire Dealer Magazine, and made Inc. Magazine's list of "26 Most Interesting Entrepreneurs" for helping to initiate the National Retail Tire Network, a trade group that turned competitors into peers. An advocate for the small business community, Barry helped drive the "Right to Repair Act" into law. In the 80's, Barry's clever marketing phrases, "We'll Fix It So It Brakes" and "We'll Brake, Shock & Exhaust You" became hallmarks on Mass Pike billboards. Anyone listening to the radio in Boston was familiar with Barry's trademark voice touting ads for "Dye-Rect Tire". Barry broke the mold by working with the Department of Corrections Work Release Program, giving former inmates a chance at employment and livelihood. He was a strong believer in mentoring and training young men and women, folding them into his Direct Tire family, which earned him fierce loyalty over four decades. Many of his friends' kids got their first job at Direct Tire, including his own three sons. Support for the community was also close to Barry's heart. He spearheaded charitable drives for the Boston Food Bank, the Jimmy Fund, Boston Children's Hospital, as well as Watertown High Robotics Team and Peabody Little League. Barry was a well-known fixture in the Boston area, rarely going out on the town without running into a customer or friend. Barry was the person you called when you were in a jam or just needed advice. He was a hero to his four kids, and it wasn't just because he doled out free ski lift and concert tickets. He always put everyone else's needs before his own. Barry had a great sense of humor, and even as a child, he loved entertaining people and making them laugh. He was always a gentleman and positive role model. Up until the end, he maintained a positive outlook on life. Barry's greatest passion was his family. During the blizzard of '78, Barry met his beloved wife and best friend, Penny, sparking a 41-year marriage that was the epitome of a joyful, loving, respectful relationship. They shared a love of travel, fine dining (always sitting at the bar!) and a blended family that included his two children - Jason and Matthew and Penny's - Dan and Sara. When the grandkids came along, they stole Barry's heart. His most treasured moments were time spent with Miranda, Gabriel, Isabella, Claire, Noah, and Logan at the family lake house in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. Swimming, boating, fishing, treehouse building -- so many great times over the years. Barry's happy place was driving his boat at top speed on Thorndike Pond. Then he would cut the motor, sit back with a martini, and watch the sun set behind Mt. Monadnock. Barry is survived by his wife, four children, six grandchildren, and his sister. Due to Covid, graveside service and burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations in Barry's memory may be made to Care Dimensions Hospice House in Lincoln or Dana Farber Cancer Institute. www.brezniakfuneraldirectors.com


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Published in Boston Globe from Apr. 28 to Apr. 29, 2021.
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Memories & Condolences
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22 entries
May 6, 2021
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MICHAEL T DIMARCO
May 6, 2021
I’ve known Barry since 1977 when we built a relationship while I was working at Foreign Motors In Boston.
We subsequently did business wherever I worked introducing Direct Tire to several Dealerships. He was always warm friendly, professional and ethical. A mensch.
He never got too big so as not to take my phone calls and remained true to himself, always. He and Penny bought several cars from me over the years and were a delight to do business with. Barry was a delightful person. The car world, at the very least, will be lessened by his loss.
My deepest condolences to Penny and the Steinberg family. May Barry rest in eternal peace
Marc Lisenco
Marc Lisenco
Friend
May 5, 2021
I knew Barry as a long term tenant of ours for warehouse space on Water Street; one heck of a guy with a great sense of humor is how I will always remember him. Rest in Peace Barry. My sincere condolences to the entire Steinberg Family
JAMES CURTIN
Acquaintance
May 4, 2021
Barry was a great businessman because he was a great person. He focused on his customers, his friends, and his family. I was a customer but he made me feel like a friend. I will miss him greatly. God is with you, Barry!
Peter Metz
Friend
May 3, 2021
I just learned of Barry's passing.
I had been a customer at the Watertown location for many years.
Barry was a wonderful, honest, urbane and polite man who was very well spoken.
He always made you feel like the most important customer on the planet.
He always made things right, and drove repeat business by loyalty, and honesty.
He was a fixture for tires, wheels and service, always had a solution to a need.
He will be missed and my prayers go out to Barry and his family.
A truly good and decent man, bless him.
James M Zakon
Friend
May 3, 2021
Met Barry once many years ago. Turns out we had a mutual friend. At the time, had no idea who he was but he had to go into the garage and change tires and somebody at the counter told me he was the owner! Transferred my business to the Peabody store after I moved and once had a snow tire that would not seal correctly. Apparently this was not covered under warranty but they gave me a new tire anyway. I wrote Barry a grateful email not expecting an answer. Not only did I get a very nice answer but he called the guys in Peabody and read them the email. They got lots of Brownie points and didn't hurt me any whenever I needed a loaner! A couple of them are even my patients now. Have been dealing with the same folks for 20 years now.

Sad that I only met him once but Direct has become the "go to" company for all four cars in the family. At least eight sets of tires that Costco didn't sell!

Please allow this Catholic guy to say Barry was a real "Mensch"

Dick Peinert,
Richard A. Peinert, MD
Acquaintance
May 1, 2021
I become a long term and loyal customer of Direct Tire in Watertown MA because of Barry. When I needed advice about tires or what type of new car to purchase, I would go to Barry. His warm and friendly demeanor and great sense of humor, clearly wanting the very best for his customers, always showed through. RIP Barry - you will be missed!
BARBARA FELDMAN
April 30, 2021
Barry was a customer of mine for years and I always enjoyed talking with him. He was a very special guy! Here's a little Barry story: NTB Tires was a large national chain that was owned by Sears. Back in the 1980s (when Sears was still a big deal), I met and made a sales presentation on a group of their top buyers in the Chicago suberbs. When I said my business was in Newton MA., their senior VP asked if Newton is near Watertown. Yes. OMG, that where Barry Steinberg's company is, he told the group. They said Barry was the best marketer in the whole country, and one tough competitor. That's quite an accolade, coming from the highest echelon of Sears buyers.
Rich Snider
Friend
April 30, 2021
Although we haven’t seen Barry and Penny in a while, they have always been in our hearts. Now our hearts are broken. We will never forget all the fun we had as families. Barry will always remain larger than life to us. Our deepest condolences.
Marlene and Mort Nussbaum
Marlene Nussbaum
Friend
April 30, 2021
I knew Barry since the early 80's, 7 cars ago. He went out of his way for me and others, and his heart was as big as his dreams. I always looked forward to talking to him at the shop where he would greet me with that big sincere smile; Second best was enjoying a telephone conversation with him and listening to that mellow Barry-tone.
I told him I'm a customer for life, but now for eternity as well.
My heart is broken, I will miss him dearly.
Lance Milbouer
Friend
April 30, 2021
I knew Barry since the early 80's, 7 cars ago. He went out of his way for me and others, and his heart was as big as his dreams.
Not only did I tell him I'm a customer for life, but now for eternity as well.
My heard is broken, I will miss him dearly.
Lance Milbouer
Friend
April 29, 2021
Very nice, warm guy. Met him as a fellow Beaver Country Day parent; always had a friendly chat at Direct Tire Watertown.
Bill Kirtz
Acquaintance
April 29, 2021
It is very sad to hear of Barry's passing. Our family has competed against Direct Tire since he opened in Watertown in 1974. Our two business are only one mile apart. Barry was a giant within our industry and a visionary leader who taught us all about passion, exceptional customer service and integrity. He was one tough competitor and I will miss him very much. God bless the entire Steinberg family.
John Quirkl
Friend
April 29, 2021
What a beautiful Legacy.
Although I have not personally met Barry, we talked quite often.
I've known Barry for many years being in the Tire Industry.
Barry was always such a pleasure to talk to, I was saddened to hear of his illness, things just won't be the same. My thoughts and prayers go out to his beautiful family. May his soul rest in Peace.
Lynn
Acquaintance
April 29, 2021
My deepest sympathy to the entire Steinberg family. Your Barry was a special person. Got to know him over the 30 years as a loyal customer. He even went as far as to share his personnel cell number with me. He was always there to guide me to the right choices for me car. But most of all he always had a smile onto greet all of as at the store. Rest in piece Barry. I know you have a new pair of high end tires on your car in heaven so you can rip around those corners. :)
Steve M
Friend
April 29, 2021
Barry also gave my son his first job at Direct Tire and taught him the meaning of service. Also one of my favorite memories is when Barry wanted to go to the INdianapolis 500, and I am from there. So we both flew there and stayed at my fathers condo. He was so generous he enabled my Dad and I to get pit passes and we really had a whole new view of the race. What a guy. Always caring and sharing. We had many fun summer visits to Quissisana too. Here is a photo from one of our trips there
Jill Katz
Friend
April 29, 2021
Barry was one of my favorite people. He was joyful and sweet as sugar. His smile was infectious. We have so many great memories of life with Barry. Always the consummate family man. RIP dear friend.
Jill Katz
Friend
April 28, 2021
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
Bernie O’Reilly
Friend
April 28, 2021
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Paul J. Sullivan Sullivan Tire
April 28, 2021
Barry was a great business man and greater person. He will be missed-
Christopher Lynch
Friend
April 28, 2021
Barry never tired of being a Mensch!
Although we haven't seen each other for several years, he'll always be the guy who offered his grand 'Hello', chatted about stuff and then went on and on about his wonderful family. My sincere condolences to his wonderful family.
LesG
Les Greenberg
Family
April 28, 2021
So sorry to hear. Over 25 years ago i worked near Direct tire and we did some business with Barry ( who didn't?) and I would just pop into his Watertown office for a chat, story and a laugh, always! We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers, Jonathan
Jonathan D Kirshtein
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