Brooklyn Heights

Obituary: John Bourne, founding member of Heights Players

March 13, 2015 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Photo courtesy of the family
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John Bourne of Brooklyn died January 9, 2015 at age 90. He was born November 8, 1924 in Kennebunk, Maine, son of Harold Hubbard Bourne, JD, and Sally Goodwin Bourne. His older sisters were Dorothy Rose Swetland, Marcia Bourne Marr and Sally Mullane. The Bourne Family dates back to John Bourne I (b. 1708 on Isle of Shoals near Portsmouth). John descended from a long and    respected line of shipbuilders, lawyers, judges and congressional representatives. 

John grew up in the Bourne Mansion in Kennebunk. He attended Kennebunk High School, graduated Andover Phillips Academy in 1944 and completed his education at Cornell University in 1947. He moved to Brooklyn, N.Y. and spent most of his working career as an underwriter at Insurance Services Office, Inc., formally located on Water St. in Manhattan.

John’s true passion was the theater. He was a founding member of the Heights Players in Brooklyn, formed in 1956. He was President of the Board of the Heights Players for 20 years from 1968-1989; and continued on the Board of Directors until 2012. Throughout more than 50 years with the Heights Players, he directed 46 plays, assistant directed 5, produced 6 and acted in numerous productions. And he served as house manager of 247 plays. In 2012, the Heights Players honored his many accomplishments by naming the theater on Willow Place in Brooklyn Heights, The John Bourne Theater.

Survivors are his nephews William Delbert Swetland, Dudley Bourne Swetland, Harry Bourne Marr and his nieces Caroline Holt Marr and Sally Dell Marr. He has 7 great nieces and nephews and 7 great, great nieces and nephews. John Bourne will forever remain a beloved legacy to his family, his fellow thespians and friends of the John Bourne Theater.

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