Garmin co-founder and chairman emeritus Gary Burrell passed away on Wednesday at the age of 81. Burrell and Min Kao founded the company in 1989 with the idea of creating products that used then-emergent GPS technology. After his retirement in 2002, Burrell served as Garmin’s co-chairman until being named Chairman Emeritus in 2004.
“Gary Burrell has been my friend, mentor and partner for more than 30 years,” said Kao. “His vision, values, engineering skills and commitment to serving our customers have been the foundation for the growth of our company. It has been both a great privilege and a blessing to have known this amazing man and I know his legacy will live on.”
Burrell was born in Stillwell, Kansas, in 1937. He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Wichita State University and a master’s from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Before founding Garmin, he worked at companies including Lowrance Electronics, King Radio Corporation and AlliedSignal. According to Garmin, the company now employs more than 13,000 associates in 60 offices around the world.