Lutron Electronics co-founder Ruth R. Spira dies at 90

COOPERSBURG, Pa. - Ruth R. Spira, co-founder and co-chairwoman of Lutron Electronics Co., Inc., has died, the company said on its website.

The Coopersburg native died Saturday at the age of 90, leaving behind a bright legacy.

Ruth Rodale Spira was a member of two very prominent Lehigh Valley families. Born a Rodale, Ruth joined her parents' press company after graduating from Wellesley College and receiving an honorary doctorate from Muhlenberg College.

She then moved to New York City in the 1950's and met her late husband, co-founder and chairman of Lutron Electronics Joel Spira. The couple started Lutron in their Manhattan apartment and grew it into a global brand. 

"We were all very sorry to hear of Ruth's passing here at the Allentown Symphony," said Al Jacobsen, Executive Director of the Allentown Symphony Association.

If you look closely around Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown you'll see Ruth's legacy lighting up the venue.

"The Spiras and Lutron have contributed for decades, Lutron has supported the Allentown Symphony as well as our youth and family concerts, the annual Symphony Ball," said Jacobsen. 

Jacobsen says the Spiras not only helped keep the hall well-lit, they were also regular attendees with a passion for the Allentown arts community.

"They had a particular fondness for the music of Beethoven and so when we had Beethoven performances they were definitely here," said Jacobsen. 

While Jacobsen did not know Ruth personally, he says one of his board members did, and she was known as a wonderful person. 

"Jim was sharing with us that he remembers every time one of his children were born Ruth and Joel would send flowers congratulating them," said Jacobsen. 

Ruth passed away Saturday at 90 years old.  The family is asking for donations to the American Parkinson Disease Association in her honor.

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