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Marlan Bourns, a longtime Bermuda resident dies in the US

A US business tycoon with close links to Bermuda who once worked on the top-secret project to develop the United States' Second World War nuclear bombs has died in hospital.

Marlan Bourns, an engineer and entrepreneur who founded technology firm Bourns Inc, was 93.

Mr Bourns owned a house in Point Shares, Pembroke, since the 1970s and two of his daughters, Anita and Denise attended Mount St Agnes High School.

A spokeswoman for Bourns Inc said: “His family fondly recalls Marlan's sense of humour, his love of playing games and his compassion for people.

“Marlan will be greatly missed and will be remembered as a generous and brilliant man who lived his life with purpose and respect for other people.”

Michigan-born physics graduate Mr Bourns, who lived in California, founded the firm that bore his name with his late wife Rosemary in 1952 after his wartime service with the US Navy at the California Institute of Technology on the Manhattan Project, which developed the two nuclear bombs dropped on Japan in 1945.

His work was so secret, he was not told the purpose of his work until after the war was over.

The firm began in the garage behind their home in California, developing products for the booming aerospace industry and grew into a worldwide company, which played a key part in the Apollo programme which sent astronauts to the moon.

Bourns Inc, which now employs 4500 people around the world, developed the joystick sensors that allowed the pilot to guide the landing module to the surface and also components for the oxygen system in the spacesuits of the first men to walk on the lunar surface.

The firm later provided components for the Mars Rovers and other space missions.

Mr Bourns, who won a string of top awards for his innovation and philanthropy, donated an endowment now worth $10 million to the University of California and the university has a college of engineering named after him and his wife, which he also supported.

Mr Bourns died on March 18. His wife died in 2012. The couple are survived by their four children, 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Instead of flowers, the family has asked for donations to the University of California, Riverside, the Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering or the California Baptist University (CBU) School of Engineering's Bourns Laboratories.

Anyone who wants to donate to the University of California should visit https://advancementservices.ucr.edu/AdvanceOnlineGiving/Search?key=200748.

The link to make an online contribution to the CBU Marlan Bourns Memorial Fund is www.calbaptist.edu/marlanbourns.

Engineer and entrepreneur Marlan Bourns

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Published March 28, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated March 27, 2014 at 11:49 pm)

Marlan Bourns, a longtime Bermuda resident dies in the US

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