George Frederick Van Buren

George Frederick Van Buren

Male 1928 - 2015  (87 years)

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  • Name George Frederick Van Buren  [1
    Born 18 Jul 1928  Little Falls, Herkimer, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Died 18 Sep 2015  Grass Valley, California Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Age 87 years 
    Person ID I35927  Tree2020
    Last Modified 3 May 2021 

    Father Ancestors George Harden Van Buren
              b. 25 Jun 1903, Rural Grove, New York Find all individuals with events at this location
              d. 10 Nov 1984, Medford, Jackson county, Oregon Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 81 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Ancestors Edith Pearl Keeler
              b. 27 May 1910, Fairfield, New York Find all individuals with events at this location
              d. 1 Mar 2007, Grass Valley, California Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 96 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Family ID F3667  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Frances Arlene Botsford
              b. 9 Oct 1929, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
              d. 5 Jun 1986  (Age 56 years) 
    Last Modified 3 May 2021 
    Family ID F13329  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • George Van Buren, born 18 July 1928, died 18 September 2015 in Grass Valley, California, after a long illness. Born in Little Falls, New York, Van Buren is the last male in the line descending from the brother of our 19th Century
      President. A member of MENSA, Van Buren was a talented an innovative engineer in television, Broadway, and concert hall illumination and acoustical design. He held patents in this field. He was responsible for building control systems for motorized scenery for many of David Merrick’s Broadway shows, such as Oliver, 110 in The Shade, and others. He toured the nation with many other shows such as Silk Stockings, Flower Drum Song, Music Man, and Pickwick.
      As Production Electrician for Disney on Parade, George designed and built the “flying rig,” that elevated stage show characters, such as Mary Poppins, all controlled from telemetering information sent from a primitive computer. For these and many other innovating stage and lighting devices, in 1994 Van Buren was given the Wally Award for development of entertainment technology, presented by Theatre Crafts International.
      Van Buren became an experienced aviator and with his wife travelled extensively across the nation in their personal aircraft. He became a computer expert such that he shared interests with Steve Jobs. During the 1970s George helped to design and install the first Global Positioning System at the North Pole, though ultimately he realized that his heart was in theater. As chief electrician for the San Francisco Symphony, Van Buren designed and oversaw the construction of the Davies Hall “cloud” of convex acoustical clear acrylic tiles. The array of 50 panels is positioned by a preprogrammed system to focus sound from a particular configuration of the orchestra. He received a number of proclamations for his efforts, from the Office of the Mayor, the Board of Trustees of the San Francisco War Memorial Department, and the San Francisco Symphony. He retired from Symphony Hall in 1991, moving to Grass Valley, but maintained his association with the IATSELocal 16 Union in San Francisco until his passing. During “retirement” in Grass Valley Van Buren initiated and redesigned a local theater, now known as the Center for the Arts. This new center attracts major artists and musicians from across the nation. The termination of his rich life leaves a void in the extensive legion of professionals he influenced over many decades of unending activity. He leaves his wife of 31 years, noted Balanchine and New York City Ballet Company-trained ballerina and classical ballet instructor, Myrna Galle, two daughters, stepson and family, six grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren.

  • Sources 
    1. [S1306] 1940 United States Federal Census,, (Name: Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2012;), Year: 1940; Census Place: Little Falls, Herkimer, New York; Roll: T627_2543; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 22-47.