Nelson J. Bleisch, former president of the American Lighting Association (ALA) and executive at Thomas Industries and Kichler Lighting, died on Aug. 22, 2012 near Cleveland, OH. He was 85 years old.
Bleisch worked for Thomas Industries, Louisville, KY, for 25 years, where he held several positions in multiple states, including general manager of PhilMar Lamps in Euclid, OH. When he left Thomas Industries, he returned to Cleveland and joined Kichler Lighting, during which time he also served as President of the ALA and was subsequently inducted into the association's Hall of Fame. Bleisch was also an inventor, holding six patents for lighting.
Dick Upton, President of ALA, said Bleisch was a great resource for him, both personally and professionally, when Upton started at ALA more than 20 years ago.
“Nelson had technical knowledge and experience that I lacked and he helped me a lot in that respect,” Upton said. “He also helped me personally in filling the position of Director of Engineering and Technology. Most of all, he was helpful in the transitioning of the organization to where it is today — if we hadn’t done that then, we wouldn’t have been able to overcome the challenges that have come our way.”
Terry McGowan, Director of Engineering and Technology at ALA, also grew from Bleisch’s support and guidance.
"Nelson was very helpful as I began working for the ALA,” McGowan said. “He was interested in and fully supported the ALA Engineering Committee and was aware of the rapid changes in lighting technology that were underway — leading, of course, to the widespread use of compact fluorescent lamps and then LED light sources a few years later. It was a pleasure for me to be introduced to the ‘new ALA’ and the residential lighting industry with the help of such a fine professional."
Nelson Bleich is survived by his wife of 59 years Gertrude (nee Cowan) Bleisch, son N. David (Dr. Sarah Lochner) Bleisch of Boca Raton, FL, daughter Cindy Bleisch Jackson of Meriden, CT, and grandchildren Chris Jackson, Riley and Kyle Bleisch.