American guru Joseph M. Juran dies at age 103

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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Dr. Joseph M. Juran, an American industrial engineer and philanthropist, has died from a stroke on February 28 at the age of 103.

He was born on December 24, 1904 in Brăila, Romania. In 1924, with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota (he would later earn a law degree), Juran joined Western Electric at the Hawthorne Works. His first job was in the inspection branch.

Juran was promoted to a managerial position in 1928, and the following year became a division chief. He would publish his first quality related article in Mechanical Engineering in 1935. In 1937 he moved to Western Electric/AT&T's headquarters in New York City.

After World War II, Japan was experiencing a crisis in mass manufactured product quality. Japanese goods were thought to be inexpensive, however, easily broken and in general poor quality. The Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) recognized these issues and invited Juran to Japan in 1954.

Juran is survived by his wife Sadie Shapiro, 3 sons and 1 daughter.