Briley was prominent in the field of industrial refrigeration
Friday, July 22, 2016
George Clifton Briley, an expert in industrial refrigeration who worked for companies such as Refrigeration Engineering Corporation and Lewis Refrigeration before starting his own company in San Antonio, died June 17 at 90.
Raised on a small farm in Louisiana, Briley enlisted in the military after graduating from high school, serving as a combat engineer across Europe and during the Battle of the Bulge.
Discharged in 1946, Briley enrolled at what was then Louisiana Polytechnic University, studying electrical engineering and graduating in 1949.
“Nobody in his family went to college, but he felt that it was the thing to do,” his daughter Melissa Mieras said. “He wanted to get out of that small town and see the world.”
Graduating summa cum laude, Briley was recruited by the York Corporation in Pennsylvania to go through an engineering training program. It was there he met his future wife, who had graduated from college with a teaching degree. She also was the first in her family to attain a higher education.
“They were from two different parts of the country, but had similar experiences,” Mieras said. “He was from rural Louisiana and she from a small town in Pennsylvania; they both wanted to get out and be more worldly.”
Marrying in 1950, the couple moved to Houston for Briley’s career. “She felt they had moved to the wild, wild West,” Mieras said.
Leaving York in 1961, Briley took a position in Pennsylvania, but soon returned to Texas, becoming a vice president with Lewis Refrigeration Company for the next 14 years. “He did a lot of traveling for business,” his daughter said. “He was gone about half the time, but when he was home, he was a full-time dad and husband.”
Supportive rather than strict, Briley urged his children to learn from their mistakes. “He provided a good example for us,” Mieras said.
Moving to Washington state after their children graduated from high school, Briley and his wife pined for Texas, returning to live in San Antonio, where he worked for Refrigeration Engineering Corporation before launching his own business, Technicold Services, Inc., in 1990.
Considered an expert in his field, colleagues often said Briley “developed the bible” for the industrial refrigeration industry.
He also, along with colleagues, held at least four U.S. patents for inventions such as a fluidized freezing method, slush ice maker and others.
Briley worked until he was 79, and even then only stopped because of health issues.
“He was a rock star in the industry,” his daughter said.