Lighting pioneer Joel Spira, founder of the Lutron Electronics Co. and inventor of the first solid-state electronic dimmer, died on April 8, 2015 at the age of 88.

Spira served in the United States Navy from 1940 to 1946 and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Purdue University (1948). He then worked for a defense contractor where he developed his lifelong interest in lighting control.

Spira founded Lutron in 1961 with his wife Ruth in their New York City apartment, introducing the Capri dimmer soon after. Chairman and Director of Research for the company, Spira grew Lutron into a leading global manufacturer of controls with some 14,000 products, eventually moving the business to Coopersburg, Pennsylvania.

In keeping with the founders’ wishes that the company remain a private, family-owned and -run business, Ruth Spira and her daughter, Susan Hakkarainen, will be the Co-Chairmen and will lead the company with Lutron’s company President, Mike Pessina, and the current management team.