George Griggs Luce, retired president and co-founder of Luce, Schwab & Kase, of Fairfield, N.J., passed away Feb. 9, 2012, at the age of 91.

Luce, a native of Illinois, obtained a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois in 1942. He was first employed by General Electric Co., where he received his early air conditioning experience. After a stint with a Washington, D.C., refrigeration contractor, he relocated to New Jersey to serve as a sales engineer for Dunham-Bush Inc.

In 1957, along with Frank Schwab and Bill Kase, Luce formed the company Luce, Schwab & Kase Inc., which became a wholesale distributor of refrigeration, air conditioning, and heating equipment and supplies. The company, originally located in Newark, N.J., relocated to its present location in Fairfield, N.J. in 1969. Today, Luce, Schwab & Kase has four locations throughout New Jersey. James F. Luce, George’s son, is the current president and CEO of the company.

Luce, a licensed professional engineer, served as past president of the North Jersey Chapter of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), was a director of the Garden State Chapter of the Refrigeration Services Engineers Society (RSES), and was a president of the Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Wholesalers (ARW).

Locally, Luce served as past president of the West Essex Chamber of Commerce and coached baseball and basketball for the Caldwell/West Caldwell Recreation Department for many years.

In addition to his son, James, he is survived by daughters, Cynthia Luce Coords and Judith Tuttle Zollner, 10 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

Publication date: 03/26/2012