IOWA ASSOCIATION OF THE DEAF, INC.
"Concerned with the General Welfare of the Deaf of Iowa"

Updated  December 7, 2021

Francis Jay Bourne

February 22, 1943—October 15, 2021

Francis J. Bourne, 78, died on October 15, 2021 from cancer in his Walkersville home of 41 years supported by his loving wife, children and grandchildren.

He was a man of great service and loyalty to his God, his family, his community, and his country.

Born on February 22, 1943 and raised on a small humble farm in Beaconsfield, Iowa, he knew the value of 0hard work and learned to fix or build anything.

He was a mathematics major and took computer science classes when computers were the size of entire rooms and never lost his fascination with the abilities of the ever shrinking capable machines.

He served as a lay leader advocating for Deaf ministry with Frederick Church of the Brethren and in the denomination for 50 years.

He cherished his wife Jenny Sue for 55 years and together they had four daughters and 11 grandchildren. Many joked that having only daughters is what caused his shock of prematurely gray hair.

He enjoyed attending nearly every child’s and many grandchildren’s activities. He led the Maryland School for the Deaf’s parent-teacher association for a time and loved all sports at every level having played on numerous teams throughout high school at the Iowa School for the Deaf and at then-Gallaudet College (Class of 1966). He was always willing to lend his time and a helping hand to family or friends.

He spent his nights and weekends when working, and nearly everyday in retirement, improving his or his children’s homes, loving his grand-pets, helping launch a friend’s home improvement business, or driving church members to worship or the airport for service trips.

He loved to travel and he and Jenny Sue visited every state in the nation and numerous countries.

Francis proudly helped establish the US Army Intelligence and Security Command’s presence around the globe in Europe and Asia and served as the only Deaf civilian computer programmer there for 36 years, earning several awards for his knowledge and skills.

Francis is survived by his wife, Jenny Sue Bourne, his four daughters — Bridgetta Bourne-Firl of Frederick, Bettina Bourne Tanacea of Charlton, MA, Frances Bourne of Washington, DC and Julie Bourne of Frederick, his 11 grandchildren — Jared Firl, Gideon Firl and his wife Colleen Firl, Sterling Tanacea, Caleb Grim, Isabella Tanacea, Sabrina Firl, Eden Grim, Elijah Firl, Josiah Lockhart, Tobias Lockhart, and Meredith Lockhart — his sister Dora McHugh of Altoona, Iowa, three sons-in law - Leslie Firl, Jason Grim and Matthew Lockhart - and numerous nieces and nephews.

His family knows he is enjoying his shiny red tractor in heaven and has probably already started a garden of tomatoes and green beans. We are forever grateful for his support and love.

The family will schedule a celebration of life ceremony at a later date.

The family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Gallaudet University Class of 1966 Endowment Fund.