PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — Longtime lighting executive Leonard Schwartz, who was employed by WAC Lighting for more than three decades, has died.
Schwartz started his lighting career as a factory representative for Lightolier in the late 1950s. Soon thereafter, he went to work as a salesman for Electrical Distributing Company (EDCO) in San Antonio, Texas, where he learned the business and eventually purchased the company, according to an obituary written by WAC.
At the same time, he established Southwest Lighting to produce some of his own lighting products for resale, WAC said. He then sold EDCO and concentrated on manufacturing. Southwest Lighting was combined with Eagle Lighting before becoming American Lantern. When American Lantern was winding down operations, Schwartz formed a rep business, Leonard M. Schwartz and Associates.
Schwartz owned and operated his rep business for a few years before selling the company to concentrate full-time on his work for WAC, where he was employed for more than 30 years, serving as an executive vice president of sales and marketing, sales representative and consultant.
“Leonard was one of the finest men I ever met. A gentleman in every sense of the word, he was very generous, kind, and highly successful in his personal and professional life,” said WAC Lighting founder Tony Wang. “He was instrumental in helping our family build WAC into the industry leader it has become today.”
“Leonard meant so much to so many of us,” said Shelley Wald, co-CEO of WAC Lighting with Dirk Wald. “He always inspired people and had a great gift for seeing the best in everyone. By his example, he helped people aspire to be better. We will sorely miss his patient empathy, fierce friendship and generosity of spirit.”
Schwartz is survived by his daughters Beverly Weiser and Joann Raby. His son Hal Schwartz, and grandchildren Sam and Renee, continue to represent WAC and its affiliated brands. In addition to Sam and Renee, he is also survived by seven other grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.