TASSA family lost a valuable member, Dr. Orhan Gurbuz

On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee, we announce with sympathy that Dr. Orhan Gurbuz, a previous board member of TASSA, has passed away peacefully on August 31, 2020.  We would like to thank the late Dr. Gurbuz for his invaluable contribution to the TASSA and express our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.

Dr. Orhan Gurbuz's Biography

Orhan Gurbuz was born in the small town of Senirkent, Turkey, on December 8, 1939. As a kid who excelled academically, he was sent to military school to serve the Turkish armed forces and to uphold the principles set forth by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Orhan continued to excel academically. His biggest regret in life, he would often half-jokingly state, was finishing second in his class at the esteemed Kuleli military high school. Orhan was then commissioned into the Turkish army as a young officer. It was clear he had yet much more to offer. In 1962, he enrolled in classes at Robert College (now Bogazici University) to study mathematics and engineering. He rented a room in a house in Rumeli Hisar, whose owner had a niece, Meral Sunar, living next door. Orhan and Meral married in July of 1963.
Also, that year, the Turkish army decided to send Orhan to the United States to advance his studies further. In the fall of 1963, Orhan enrolled as an undergraduate at Iowa State University, majoring in civil engineering. The couple had two kids, Gamze and Basbug (Robert), and moved back to Turkey in 1966, where Orhan used his newly acquired skills to design bridges and power plants for Turkey.
In 1970, Orhan and his family returned to Iowa State University, where he enrolled in its Ph.D. Program in civil engineering, which he received in 1974. The family moved to California, where Orhan took a job with Bechtel Power Corporation. He excelled as an engineer and eventually became a leading expert in the niche area of nuclear power plant design. His talents took him all over the world, including an extended stay in the Ukraine, where Orhan worked on remedying the infamous Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster. He even toured the plant on two occasions, in full radiation-resistant space gear!
Orhan spent a total of 37 years at Bechtel, ultimately obtaining the prestigious appointment as a “Bechtel Fellow.” On a personal level, Orhan and Meral raised their two children and, later, doted on their two grandchildren, Selene and Daniel. They also longed for their Turkish community. Soon after moving to California, Orhan became a founding member of the Association of Turkish Americans of Southern California (ATASC). He after that served as the president for many years and on the boards of ATASC, Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), and TASSA. He was committed and dedicated to furthering the interests of the Turkish American community in Southern California and across the country and gave his unending support for this cause. Orhan will be dearly missed. His memory will live forever in the Turkish American community.  
Meral, Orhan’s wife of 50 years, passed away on February 07, 2014, and, sadly, Orhan passed away on August 31, 2020. They truly lived the American dream and are survived by their two children and two grandchildren.