Gary Burrell

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Gary Burrell
Gary Leon Burrell

August 24, 1937
DiedJune 12, 2019(2019-06-12) (aged 81)
Alma materWichita State University (B.S., Electrical Engineering)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (M.S.)
Occupationelectrical engineer and entrepreneur
Known forco-founder of the Garmin GPS company

Gary Leon Burrell (August 24, 1937 – June 12, 2019) was an American businessman and philanthropist. He was the co-founder and chairman emeritus of Garmin, makers of popular Global Positioning System devices.

Early life[edit]

Gary Burrell was born in 1937. He earned his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Wichita State University and a master's degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.[1][2]


Burrell worked for Lowrance Electronics and King Radio Corporation.[2] In the early 1980s, he worked for Allied Signal.[1]

Along with partner Min Kao, Burrell founded Garmin in 1989 to make navigation devices for aviation and boating using the Global Positioning System.[1] Their original office was two folding chairs and a card table. Some U.S. servicemen used Garmin GPS during the first Gulf War, even though Garmin never had a military contract. Later on, the technology was expanded for the U.S. market, providing directions across all United States roads and highways.


Burrell was a significant donor to the Indian Creek Community Church in Olathe, Kansas.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Burrell was married, and had three children.[1] He resided in Spring Hill, Kansas.[1] As of 2016, Burrell was a billionaire.[1] He died on June 12, 2019, at the age of 81 from complications of Parkinson's disease.[4][5][6][7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "The World's Billionaires: Gary Burrell". Forbes. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Leadership: Gary Burrell". Garmin. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  3. ^ "Olathe church looks like locus of Burrell gifts". Kansas City Business Journal. April 4, 2004. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  4. ^ Roberts, Sam (2019-06-20). "Gary Burrell, Who Helped People Find Their Way (With GPS), Dies at 81". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-08-03.
  5. ^ "Gary Burrell Obituary - Olathe, Kansas |".
  6. ^ "Garmin® announces passing of Co-founder and Chairman Emeritus Gary Burrell". BusinessWire. June 13, 2019. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  7. ^ "Gary Burrell, Who Helped People Find Their Way (With GPS), Dies at 81". The New York Times. 2019-06-20. Retrieved 2019-06-24.