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In 1935 he headed for California on a 1930 Harley Davidson motorcycle. After finishing college, he took a design job with Airstream Trailers and helped design the now-classic aluminum teardrop model. Then he worked for the Southern California Gas Co.
In 1946 he founded Rusherheat in Inglewood. The company eventually became Rusher Air Conditioning, moving to its present facility in Torrance in 1976. The company designed and installed hydronic radiant systems in prestigious and tract homes, high rises, commercial and industrial complexes, and outdoor dining and athletic facilities.
Rusher worked with architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, his son Lloyd Wright, and grandson Eric Wright; John Lautner; Paul Williams; Richard Neutra; Joseph Eichler; and Quincy Jones. The company’s projects included systems for ex-presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and celebrities Paul Anka, Johnny Carson, Gary Cooper, Leo Duroucher, and Bob Hope.
His son David joined the firm in 1972 and expanded the business base to include major oil companies, aircraft facilities, and government projects for the U.S. Air Force, Federal Aviation Administration, and various public works projects in Alaska and Hawaii. His grandson Scott joined the staff in 1989 and currently operates the company’s service department.
Rusher was preceded in death by his wife Elizabeth, and is survived by his son David, daughter Elissa, grandson Scott, great-granddaughters Keala and Malia, and great-grandson Kalani.
According to the family, donations may be made in his name to the USC Athletic Department or a charity of the donor’s choosing.
Publication date: 11/09/2009