William Burwell - Chairman at Brush Development
291 Corning Drive
W. Russell Burwell was a distinguished mathematician, a former college professor, and Cleveland industrialist and executive.
William Russell Burwell was born in 1894 in Providence, Rhode Island, to Wiliam Chamberlin and Francis Burwell. He earned a B.A. in 1915 and an M.A. in 1916 from Brown University. As a Rhodes scholar at Oxford, Russell received a bachelor's and master's degree. In 1921 he was the first American scholar to obtain a doctor of philosophy from Oxford. All degrees were in mathematics. In 1950, he received an honorary doctor of laws from Brown.
He was the dean of freshmen and a mathematics instructor at Brown from 1922 to 1926. Before 1922, he was an associate professor of mathematics at the University of Tennessee.
The president of the Brush Development Company, a manufacturer of audio, phonographic products, and magnetic recording technologies, interested him in coming to Cleveland in 1937. He became chairman of the board in 1952, vice chairman of the board, and a director of Brush Electronics inc. He became vice-chairman of the board of Clevite Corporation when it acquired Brush Electronics.
Mr. Burwell was a director of Cleveland Cliffs Iron Co. and Wheeling Steel Corp. Volunteer activities included being a past president of the Council of World Affairs, the Cleveland Institute of Music, vice president of the Musical Arts Association, the Cleveland Playhouse Foundation, and a trustee of Denison and Brown Universities.
Burwell was a member of the Bratenahl Village council from 1952 to 1956.
Russell Burwell married Aubrey Eaton in 1922. Her father was Congressman Charles C. Eaton of New Jersey. The marriage set the stage for Burwell’s career as an investment banker. Aubrey was a cousin of Cyrus Eaton, who also attended the wedding. Cyrus interested him in investment banking.
Mrs. Burwell was exceptionally well informed on current affairs, especially international conditions. Her father was Congressman Charles Eaton of New Jersey, chairman of the foreign affairs committee. She had lived in England, Spain, France, and Greece.
Aubrey spoke French fluently, and all of her life, she read in French for at least an hour.
As a girl, she studied piano and once practiced eight hours per day while taking lessons. Unfortunately, this strenuous work was terminated by an appendectomy that led her to her first visit abroad to recuperate.
She became interested in Greek Relief. She was put in charge of a massive fundraising campaign. She was sent to Greece to study conditions and lived in peasant homes. Later the agency offered her a permanent job. It was a temptation, but it would have meant long separations from her husband and children, so she gave it up.
The Burwells had a summer residence in Sanbornville, New Hampshire. Since his retirement in 1952, he had made his home in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.
William died in November 1971 in Funchal, Portugal, where he had spent winters for the previous six years. He is buried in Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, Rhode Island.
Survivors include his wife and three children: Robert W., Nancy Anstis (Atchley), born on August 28, 1924, and Richard Eaton, born on March 14, 1930.