THEY CALLED him the "King of Tires."

And Clifton Grandy earned the title. His company at 27th and Poplar streets handled all kinds of tires, from those of a wheelbarrow to the giant tires of tractor-trailers.

It was a family business and his wife and children pitched in to run it over a 30-year span.

Cliff Grandy, a happy, smiling man with a million friends, died Sunday. He was 85 and lived in West Philadelphia.

When Cliff founded his tire-repair service in 1962, it was the first black-owned business in North Philadelphia, his family said. Over the years, it became a kind of neighborhood mecca, and Cliff himself was a popular figure in the community.

"He was a happy man," said his daughter Cheryl Gandy. "He enjoyed life."

Cliff was born in Elizabeth City, N.C., to Lucy and John Grandy. He was educated in the schools there and came to Philadelphia in the late '40s.

"No tire was too large or too small for him to change," his daughter said."He enjoyed teaching his children and grandchildren a trade so they could be self-sufficient as he was," his daughter said.

"Cliff's smile and his gusto made him popular with everyone."

Besides his daughter, he also is survived by his wife, the former Ruby Matthews; two sons, Noel and Ralph; four other daughters, Cynthia Hart, Audrey Watson, Cheryl Grandy-Singletary and Delphine Johnson; a brother, Joseph, and 16 grandchildren. He was predeceased by another daughter, Linda Matthews-Grandy.

Services: 11 a.m. Monday at the Pennick Funeral Home, 2312 Montgomery Ave. Friends may call at 9 a.m. Burial will be in Merion Memorial Park, Bala Cynwyd. *