William B. Ruger Jr., former Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Sturm, Ruger & Company, has died. He was the second CEO of the company and son of Ruger’s founder.

“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.”

William B. Ruger Jr.

Ruger joined Sturm, Ruger in 1964 and worked in a variety of manufacturing and engineering positions within the company. In 1970, he became a member of the company’s Board of Directors. The following year, he was named Vice President of Manufacturing of the Southport Firearms Division. A few years later Ruger was promoted to Senior Vice President of Manufacturing and, in 1991, was named President of the company. He became Vice Chairman of the Board and Senior Executive Officer in 1995, and reassumed the duties of President and Chief Operating Officer in 1998. He became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer upon William B. Ruger Sr.’s retirement in 2000, and officially retired from the company in February 2006.

Ruger was born in Greensboro, N.C., in 1939. He graduated from Harvard College in 1961 where he studied engineering and applied physics. Before joining Ruger, he worked for the Kel Corporation of Belmont, Mass., as an electronics engineer.

Ruger was a member of the Executive Committee of the Sporting Arms & Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute and various other trade associations, a trustee of St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, and a trustee of the Buffalo Bill Memorial Association of Cody, Wyo.