Skip to main content

in this section

ECE Professor Emeritus, Norman M. Vrana dies at 93

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

ECE ??Professor Emeritus, Norman M. Vrana, passed away peacefully at home November 9, 2013. He was born February 16, 1920 the eldest son of Rudolf and Barbara Heindel Vrana in Hudson Heights, NJ. Norman prided himself in his work ethic, actually he knew no other way.

As a teenager he helped build structures for the 1939 New York World's Fair and worked as a messenger on Wall St., just some of the many jobs he took to get ahead. He then worked for ADT while going to night school at NYU studying math and science.

Norman moved his young family to Ithaca in 1949 to pursue a Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering at Cornell. Norman taught laboratory courses for more than 40 years and never missed teaching a summer school session. The courses he taught started with DC machinery and ended with microprocessor systems. In 1973 he designed a laboratory course where students assembled computers from chips integrated into a briefcase, which became known as the "Vrana Box" on campus.

As a family they enjoyed numerous camping trips to the Adirondacks, Maine and Canada. As a father and grandfather he passed his love of camping and skiing on to the future generations of Vrana's. In 1992 he married Ethel Heila Vrana. They enjoyed 21 years together, traveling and continuing to enjoy camping in the Adirondacks. He was active in the Ellis Hollow Community and helped create the Ellis Hollow Ski Slope. After retirement he joined the Ithaca Community Chorus and The City Club.

He is survived by his wife, Ethel Vrana; sons and daughters-in-law, Dr. Mark and Jody Vrana of Athens, GA, Kim and Anahid Vrana of Chapel Hill, NC, Bruce (Esq.) and Lee Vrana of Durham, NC, Steven Vrana (P.E.) and Michele Colbert of Ithaca; he was a loving grandfather to Kimberley (Josh), Shaw (Rachel), Anna, Maleka, Erica (Josh), Sarah, Jeff, Nick, Mark and Blaise; and great grandchildren, Harrison and Charlotte; stepchildren, Lisa and Tom, Clemoms, Chris, Daniel and Patricia Heila; step grandchildren, Sarah (Nick), Jesse, Keiran and Aiden; brother, Stanley; his first wife, Olga Vrana; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, brother Ralph, and beloved son Eric. Norman is greatly missed by all.

Memorial services will be held Saturday November 23, 2013 at 12:00 Noon at Anabel Taylor Cornell University with Rev. Janet Shortall officiating. Bangs Funeral Home will be assisting the family. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to American Heart Assoc. ?

- See more at:

back to listing