Werner E. Neuman
Werner E. Neuman, 89, died on Sunday, June 14, 2015, in Boulder, Colorado, surrounded by his family.
Werner was born on February 16, 1926, in Kassel, Germany. In August, 1938, he and his family left Germany to escape the Nazis.
They went to Havana, Cuba, where Werner celebrated his bar mitzvah. They came to the United States in 1939, settling in Chicago.
Werner worked as a delivery boy, locksmith, soda jerk and bellhop while attending Hyde Park High School. He was drafted into the army and in early 1945 shipped out to Europe, where he served as an interpreter in Germany and Austria.
He graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with a degree in electrical engineering in 1949.
It was the cusp of a technological revolution that spanned Werner’s career: the first transistors were just becoming commercially available. When Werner retired five decades later the components manufactured by the company he founded, Corcom, were inside millions of personal computers and other sophisticated digital devices.
In 1955 Werner and a friend borrowed $8,000 to start a manufacturing company to make parts that went into radios and other devices produced by companies like Motorola and Hewlett Packard.
It eventually specialized in filters to remove electromagnetic noise that interfered with electronic devices. At the time such components were custom-made for each client.
Werner’s innovation was to mass produce off-the-shelf components that customers could easily incorporate into their product designs.
He retired in 2000.
Werner loved the outdoors and was an enthusiastic skier and hiker and a generous supporter of groups that protect the environment, including the Sierra Club and Earthjustice.
With his wife, Judy, and children, Suzanne and William, he took raft trips through the Grand Canyon and on the Snake and Green Rivers and camping trips in the mountains of Colorado and Montana, often sleeping in a pyramid-shaped bright yellow tent. In his 70s, he trekked in the Himalaya Mountains in Nepal.
Werner fell in love with skiing as a child and the last day he skied was on his 87th birthday, on Aspen Mountain in Colorado. He spent part of every winter and summer in Aspen, skiing, hiking and taking photographs. He was a devotee of the annual Aspen Music Festival and established a scholarship program for young musicians.
His philanthropy also included support for the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, Colorado, Mayo Clinic, the Illinois Institute of Technology and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
Werner and Judy were married for 58 years. They lived in Deerfield, Illinois, where he served on the village board in the 1970s, and Long Grove, Illinois, before moving to Boulder in 2010. They built pioneering passive solar houses in Aspen and Long Grove, and were renowned for their lively dinner parties.
Werner is survived by his wife, son and daughter.
His grit, courage, focus, intelligence and clear thinking were an inspiration to his extended family, including nieces, nephews and grandchildren. Instead of flowers, donations may be made to Aspen Music Festival or Earthjustice.