John A. Luke, Sr. was born November 20, 1925 in Tyrone, Pennsylvania, the son of David L. Luke, Jr. and Priscilla (Warren) Luke. He graduated from the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut before serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps from 1943 to 1945. Following the war, Luke attended Yale University, receiving his Bachelor’s degree in 1949.
Luke spent his entire 43-year career working for the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company established by his great-grandfather with the creation of the family’s first pulp mill on the Potomac River in 1888. Luke began his turn in the family business in 1949, becoming the Assistant Mill Manager for Westvaco’s Charleston, SC mill. In 1955, Luke was named Manager of the Luke, MD fine papers mill. From 1960 to 1974, he served as Manager of the Fine Papers Division with responsibility for the Company's largest unit. Before becoming company President in 1980, he served as senior Vice President and Executive Vice President. Under his leadership, Westvaco strengthened its role in environmental stewardship.
Luke became active with the University of Maine Pulp and Paper Foundation in 1977 as Membership Committee Chairman and then as a Vice President. He was elected the Foundation's President in 1982 and Chair in 1984. He served as an effective proponent of the Jenness Hall Addition with campus administrators and University Trustees.
John A. Luke, Sr. died on May 7, 2007 from complications following a brief illness.
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Chemical engineering, Pulp science, Paper manufacturing