Cecil H. Green, 102, the last of the four founders of electronics giant Texas Instruments and a philanthropist who donated more than $200 million to education and medical institutions around the world, died April 11 in a hospital in La Jolla, Calif. He had pneumonia.
On Dec. 6, 1941, he joined Eugene McDermott, J. Erik Jonsson and H. Bates Peacock to purchase Dallas-based Geophysical Service Inc., which performed seismic explorations for petroleum. During World War II, GSI branched into other areas, including the manufacture of submarine-detection devices. By the late 1940s, it was making airborne radar systems.
In 1951, the company changed its name to Texas Instruments, retaining the Geophysical Service name for a subsidiary. In 1952, Texas Instruments entered the semiconductor business, and in 1954, the company's transistors resulted in the first mass-produced pocket-size transistor radio. In 1958, the company came up with the integrated circuit, and a new electronic age was born. Today, Texas Instruments, with annual revenue of about $8.4 billion, has more than 34,000 employees in more than 30 countries.
Over the years, Mr. Green had served as vice president, president and board chairman of Geophysical Service Inc. and as a director and vice president of Texas Instruments. He retired in the mid-1970s.
Cecil Howard Green was born near Manchester, England. While he was an infant, his family migrated to Canada and then to San Francisco, where Mr. Green survived the 1906 earthquake. The family finally settled in Vancouver. Mr. Green was a 1923 graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he also received a master's degree in electrical engineering in 1924.
After college, he traveled the continent looking for work and business ventures. The ventures included a failed attempt selling neon signs in Canada, and the jobs included selling cars and insurance. He also worked for a time at Raytheon Corp. as an assistant to electronics and corporate legend Charles Litton (who went on to found Litton Industries).
He joined GSI in 1932, two years after the company was founded. As a seismographic field crew chief, he explored for oil while living in small towns across Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana.
His wife of 60 years, the former Ida Mabelle Flansburgh, died in 1986. She had maintained, from the time she and her husband were living in tents and eating off packing crates, that her greatest goal in life was that they could become philanthropists.
The Greens eventually put millions toward building hospitals, schools and colleges. Some reported that the goal of Mr. Green, who lived a quiet and relatively frugal life, was to give away the bulk of his money. His work resulted in 13 honorary doctorates, an honorary knighthood and countless medals and awards for charity.
He leaves no immediate survivors.