George Robert (“G.R.”) Schell, 69, died July 11 in a plane crash. He joined Ferguson (Newport News, VA) in 1962, hired by then-President/CEO David Peebles, when it was still a tiny local company. After five years, he opened a branch known as Schell Supply in Virginia Beach. In Ferguson's early years, independent supply houses were named after the president/general manager. Schell was a major stockholder when Wolseley acquired Ferguson in 1982. He remained active in the company until his retirement in 1999. He also served as a board member prior to and after the sale of Ferguson, for a total of nearly 20 years. Jerry Allen, vice president/HVAC for Ferguson, who worked with Schell, recalled him as “having a passion for the business and his customers, which helped make Ferguson a leader in the plumbing supply business.”