Photography

Gordon McDonald Bourne

November 26, 1923 ~ June 29, 2021 (age 97)

Obituary

Denver lost an officer and a gentleman when Gordon Bourne passed at home in Hospice care June 29, 2021.  His entire life was committed to service to his country, church and community. In each capacity, he served well and deserves recognition as a proud warrior for 20 plus years before retiring as a Major in the U S Army during World War II.

 Originally, he was assigned to the Army water purification unit, but  his love of music, previously supported by his sisters paying for clarinet and saxophone lessons,  he quickly gravitated toward music, which quickly won him a position in the Army band. During  during World War II, he played with the Duke Ellington and Count Basie bands for troops on their way overseas.

 He loved the Army, but later the Parkhill and Greater Metro Denver communities became his focus.  Bourne worked tirelessly and fearlessly to introduce diversity and equality in all aspects of community life, e.g., Park Hill Branch of SERTOMA and Colorado Disabled Veterans. Unafraid to rock the boat, he became a champion for Women equal rights and opportunities through his work as Dean of Students at the former Colorado Women’s College in northeast Denver. 

  His life of service did not keep him from serving his family,  which included his late wife Thelma Bourne, their daughter Jennie and son Gordon. Born November 26, 1923, in Cambridge Massachusetts to parents Goldburn Bourne and Miriam Watkins Bourne who emigrated to Massachusetts from Barbados in the Caribbean, Bourne was the youngest of their five children. Known for his love of life filled with gratitude and gusto, he  loved fast sports cars, good music, football and intelligent women.

 A graduate of Cambridge Ringe and Latin School., after World War II, Bourne used the GI Bill to study law at Boston's Adelphi University and joined  the Massachusetts National Guard. His studies were interrupted when his National Guard Unit was sent overseas to serve in the Korean War. With his previous military experience, he quickly rose through the ranks and was assigned to  Germany for three years; to language school, and then to Korea duty on the 38th parallel just before the war ended. He served 22 years in the Army, before returning to Germany, with a high security clearance and responsibility for atomic weapons.  He also served at various bases in the United States before retiring as a Major in 1971. He was the oldest surviving member of his original Massachusetts unit - the 372nd Artillery- when he passed. Upon requirement,Bourne relocated his family to Denver, and became an active advocate for racial integration in his Park  Hill neighborhood. He developed community programs that included tennis, and  as Dean of Students at Colorado Women's College, also created  diversity and active arts programs. Later,  he was hired by the State of Colorado to work  in then Governor Dick Lamm's office.  There he actively helped transform Colorado Academy from a military school to a prep school.  

 Then, Bourne led an insurance based fundraising campaign to build a New Hope Church complex at its current location. 3701 Colorado Blvd.  In 2006,  There, he met and  married  and Carolyn Allen. They remained together until her death in early 2021.

Bourne loved his family, church, country, community, home, fast sports cars. He is survived by Daughter Jennie Bourne, who lives in New York, and many nieces and nephews including Shaqim Walker of Castle Rock.

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