Former Ruger CEO, William B. Ruger, Jr., dead at 79

William B. Ruger, Jr. was born in 1939 and graduated from Harvard College in 1961 where he studied engineering and applied physics before joining the company for a 42-year career. (Photo: Ruger)

The son of the famous inventor who helped found the company, Bill Ruger, Jr. went on to become its second CEO.

Sturm, Ruger announced Monday that the former Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer passed away over the weekend. Ruger had assumed the helm of the company in 2000 and retired after an extensive career with the gun maker in 2006.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Bill, who was integral to the foundation and early success of this company,” said Chris Killoy, President and CEO of Ruger. “Bill’s 42 years of loyal service to the Company has had a lasting impact that is still felt today. We will sincerely miss him and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Bill joined the company that his father and co-founder Alexander Sturm began in 1964, the same year that Ruger’s iconic 10/22 rifle was debuted. In 1970, he helped develop the Ruger Cars Division of Sturm, Ruger & Co., which built two prototypes of the Ruger, a yellow Great Gatsby-esque V8 touring car based on the 1929 Bently.

Working in a range of manufacturing and engineering positions, he is listed as a patent holder on a number of firearm inventions and, by 1991, was named company President after spending two decades on the company’s board of directors. He became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer upon his father’s retirement in 2000.

In addition to his work in the firearms industry, Ruger was a noted art and automobile collector and was profiled in the 2014 issue of Antiques & Fine Art magazine.

He is preceded in death by his father, William Batterman Ruger, who died in 2002, aged 86, and his brother James Thompson Ruger, who died in 1993. He is survived by his sister Carolyn Amalie Vogel, and a host of six nieces and nephews.

He was on the board of numerous organizations to include the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, St. Paul’s School, and Salisbury School.

According to his obituary, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Summercrest Senior Living Community, “or to a favorite transportation museum.”

Updated throughout from the original with information from The Valley News and his obituary provided by the Newton-Bartlett Funeral Home.

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