Joe Grady, an internationally recognized authority on flooring installation issues, and a long-time columnist for National Floor Trends and Floor Covering Installer magazines, died Friday, Dec. 9, following a prolonged battle with respiratory complications from rheumatoid arthritis. He was 79.

A native of Scranton, Penn., Grady started in the flooring business in 1967 when he joined W.W. Henry Co. as a sales representative. He stayed with the company until 1994 and retired as national marketing development manager. Using the knowledge and contacts he accumulated in his 27 years at W.W. Henry, Grady and his wife Joan went on to establish the consulting firm Diversified Resources. The family business, which also included their daughter Donna, worked closely with flooring manufacturers and other in the industry. He also worked as a flooring problem expert with the Advanced Testing Services in Fullerton, Calif.

During his distinguished career in the flooring industry, Grady was invited to serve on numerous industry committees, many dealing with adhesive and moisture control issues. His work included serving as chairman of the Ceramic Tile Institute of America's Coefficient of Friction Committee.

Beginning in 1994, Grady began contributing a column for Western Floors Magazine, which later became National Floor Trends, a sister publication of Floor Covering Installer. Beginning in 1995, he also contributed a regular column to FCI. His columns typically explored various installation issues and often explained complex subjects in a practical, straightforward manner.

"We have lost a father, a husband and an industry icon," said Donna Grady. "He loved his work as much as his family and instilled this passion to everyone he met. He will be missed by all of us."

Howard Olansky, NFT senior editor and a close friend of Grady, also fondly recalled his long-time colleague: "He was a caring, loving man with a fantastic wit," said Olansky. "He kept things in perspective at all times. We were very fortunately that he began contributing columns for Western Floors and Floor Covering Installer. When we started the magazine he was the first columnist we pursued."

In addition to Joan, his wife of 49 years, and his daughter Donna, he is survived by another daughter, Cynthia, and a granddaughter, Leah. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be sent to: UCI Foundation, Rheumatology Dept, Attn: Donna Cochran, UCI Medical Center Building 53, Room. 125, 101 City Drive S., Orange, CA 92868.