Robert Bradford Bourne, of Summit New Jersey and New York City, and beloved husband of Carolann Clynes, died after a short illness on January 24, 2020. He died at Overlook Hospital in Summit where he was born.
Bob was born in 1931 in Summit, where he lived and worked much of his life, as did his parents, Meredith Wilson Bourne and Donald Bourne. Grandparents, Ada and Robert Cade Wilson, lived nearby in Summit at their home Dalkeith now known as Wilson Park. Bob’s father, himself a lawyer, opened a law firm in Summit in 1936, in the Bassett Building, which remains there to this day. Bob’s mother Meredith was active in community affairs and was instrumental in establishing the Summit Junior League.
An active Franklin School bobsledder, he went on to Summit Junior High. After WWII, the Bourne family moved to Bedminster, NJ, where Bob commuted to Morristown School, graduating in 1949. At Harvard College Class of ’53, Bob majored in History and Literature and rowed on the varsity crew. He was a member of the D.U. Club.
Prior to embarking on his legal career, Bob served as a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps from 1953 through 1955.
After law school receiving the LLB degree in 1959 from Harvard Law School, Bob clerked with Judge Dickinson Debevoise and served as an associate with Riker Emery & Danzig in Newark, New Jersey (now Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti). He served as staff attorney and as Acting Chief of the Administration of Justice Section at the United States Commission on Civil Rights in Washington, DC during the Kennedy Administration. Following in former Mayor Ed Koch’s footsteps, Bob was defense counsel to underprivileged black teenagers and helped register black voters during the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964. His work continued with the Afro-American community in the South and included membership for many years on the Board of Trustees of Atlanta University along with his colleague Vernon Jordan.
In 1963, Bob moved back home to Summit and to his father’s law firm, Bourne, Schmid, Burke & Noll (now Bourne, Noll & Kenyon). Bob taught estate and tax planning at the Summit Area Community School for over 20 years and served as an instructor for the New Jersey Skills & Methods Course in Wills & Estates. He was an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University School of Law for many years. He also served as a trustee and president of Family Service Association of Summit, as a trustee of the Summit Area YMCA, the Unitarian Church in Summit, counsel to the Reeves-Reed Arboretum, and as General Campaign Chairman of the United Way of Summit & New Providence. Bob has been recognized as a New Jersey Super Lawyer in the editions for 2005 to the present. He was a long-term Fellow of the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel.
Mr. Bourne was a longtime member of Beacon Hill Club in Summit, Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield and The Harvard Club of New York City.
Bob leaves his wife of 31 years, Carolann Clynes of Summit, a brother Donald of Yarmouthport, MA, a sister Judith Newbold of Keene, NH and children Jonathan, Christopher (Debra), Mark Kirkpatrick (Sharon Miller), Susan Laskaris (Theodore), Sarah (Howard Widelitz), Mary Harris (Alessandro Sarzi) and nine grandchildren.
A celebration of Bob’s life is scheduled for February 29, 2020 at Calvary Episcopal Church, 31 Woodland Avenue, Summit at 11:00 am.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Robert’s name may be made to: Summit Area Public Foundation, PO Box 867, Summit, NJ 07902, or Summit Area YMCA, 67 Maple St.Summit, NJ 07901
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