Joel S. Spira, chairman, director of research and founder of Lutron Electronics Company, Coopersburg, Pa., passed away on April 8, 2015 in his home at the age of 88.

Spira began his company in a small apartment in New York City with the idea of commercialization of the dimmer for household use. The Capri dimmer was introduced in the early 1960s with ads suggesting that it could enhance the ambiance of a room by “dialing romance.”

Today, Lutron makes some 14,000 products that can be found in more than 100 countries in residences, palaces, universities, hotels, museums and offices, including the Empire State Building in New York.

Spira and his wife, Ruth, moved the company to Coopersburg, in the Lehigh Valley region of eastern Pennsylvania. Even as Lutron grew into a global company, with sales in more than 100 countries, he continued to run the business with a personal touch, the company described.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of our Chairman and Founder, Joel S. Spira. He was our leader, our guide, our mentor, our strategist and our friend. He was so much to so many, and felt that each and every Lutron employee is a part of his family,” shared Michael W. Pessina, president, Lutron Electronics Company Inc., in a company statement.

According to Pessina, the ownership of Lutron will remain in the Spira family, as per the request of its founders, Spira and his wife, as a privately held, family-owned and family-run business. Ruth Spira and her daughter, Susan Hakkarainen, will be the co-chairs. They will lead the company with Lutron’s company president, and the current management team.