In memory of Gary Kildall

                  In Memory of 
                 GARY A. KILDALL 
          May 19, 1942  --  July 11, 1994 
                Memorial Service 
                 July 15, 1994 
             Naval Postgraduate School 
               Monterey, California 
On behalf of Kristin, Scott, and the Kildall family I 
welcome you to this memorial service for Gary Kildall. 
Today we will pay tribute to the accomplishments and life 
of Gary Kildall. 
        Gary Kildall was a pioneer who brought 
        order into the early chaos of the PC 
        industry by providing focus, leadership 
        and vision.  In a competitive, often 
        impersonal microcomputer industry, 
        Gary showed us that friends and business 
        associates are one and the same.  His 
        family and friends will long remember him. 
I must begin this talk by admitting to you that this is the 
most difficult task that I have ever done in my life.  I am an 
enthusiastic high energy person usually operating at about 
100 Mhz.  Giving a eulogy is not something which fits very 
well with my personality, or that I have been prepared to 
do.  It is, however, something I want to do with all my 
Gary Kildall was the best male friend I have ever had in 
my life.  I trusted him implicitly, with my life and my 
Let me tell you about the Gary I knew and loved as viewed 
through my eyes and with my heart.  I've often been 
accused of being entirely too cheerful, even a "Pollyanna", 
seeing only the good in people.  This may tell you 
something about being chosen as one of Gary's close 
Gary was the biggest "kid" I've ever known.  He had a 
child-like enthusiasm which was obvious in his work and 
recreation.  A man with a multitude of toys from airplanes, 
to cars, boats, motorcycles, and yes, computers too.  I 
couldn't express it better myself than on the front cover of 
the first issue of Byte Magazine in September of 1975 
which carried the headline, 
	"COMPUTERS- the World's Greatest Toy!" 
Gary was on to something long before there was a 
Nintendo or Sega.  Creating programs is a lot of fun. 
Gary was a man of many passions, he was warm and open 
to those he loved, I shared many of his passions and I will 
share some of them with you. 
Gary had a wonderful way of calmly and patiently guiding 
my enthusiasm, especially for computer technology and 
flying.  During the often frantic hours of preparation for a 
tradeshow or a customer visit I would literally run in 
circles from one task to another until I realized that Gary 
was standing in the middle of that circle smiling at me, 
waiting for me to notice him and then he would calmly 
suggest that I take a deep breath and slow down.  Gary 
always had the confidence that the tasks would be 
completed, and that gave me confidence in myself.  We all 
know what we can accomplish when we believe in 
ourselves, and Gary taught me that confidence. 
I have frequently heard it said that you can learn a lot about 
a person by playing golf with them.  Living here on the 
Monterey peninsula and not being a golfer may be some 
form of misdemeanor.  But, Gary and I shared something 
even better than golfing, we flew together.  I believe that 
you can learn even more about a person by flying with 
them.  I have been Gary's co-pilot for over 1,000 hours and 
that is where I learned the most about him.  He was 
passionate about flying and loved the aircraft he flew. 
As I wrote this eulogy I came to the realization that there 
were a lot of parallels between the way Gary flew and the 
way he programmed.  The first parallel that came to mind 
was his planning ahead before a flight.  Gary was very 
methodical before every trip, whether we were going out 
for a brief bit of aerobatics in his Pitts biplane, or flying 
across the country to Boston in the twin-engine Aerostar. 
While my own personality would have prompted more 
spontaneous departures, Gary's would always be done after 
detailed weather briefings, fuel loading, and weight and 
balance calculations.  Gary's programming was just as 
methodical.  It always began with complete and detailed 
sketches of data structures on large sheets of paper.  The 
coding never began until he had visualized and 
comprehended the overall design. 
The second parallel was the flight itself.  From the preflight 
to landing,  Gary was a consumate professional in his 
flying, paying attention to every detail and never getting 
flustered.  He was always calm, confident, and equally 
demanding of detail from his co-pilot.  He would have me 
rehearse my ATC transmissions over and over so that I 
would sound like a professional.  After all, we were flying 
up at 25,000 feet close to the big commercial jet traffic. 
Gary paid just as much attention to detail in his 
programming.  Unlike other designers who are often 
content to paint the broad picture and then let the more 
junior programmers fill in the details, Gary designed, 
implemented and debugged his products. 
Gary frequently talked about the pleasure of watching the 
earth slip beneath our feet as we crossed the country, 
sometimes in excited conversation and other times silent 
for hour upon hour in awe at the beauty and uniqueness of 
the country we saw.  On numerous occasions at night he 
would turn off all the cockpit and instrument lights so that 
we could watch the stars and the distant city lights. 
Gary frequently talked about the  pleasure of completing 
the programs he'd written. He called me at some of the 
strangest times to come see his programs run for the first 
time.  This was an infectious enthusiasm that he always 
shared about his work. Gary was a pioneer, in the best 
meaning of the word, who truly enjoyed creating new 
Gary was a man of responsibility and calculated risks. 
This applied to his flying as well as his work.  I can 
remember his anxiety during the early days of Digital 
Research because he felt responsible for the livelihood of 
the new employees during the growth of the company.  I 
remember his discomfort when he no longer knew the 
names of all the new employees.  He felt that same 
responsibility about his flying.  I can distinctly remember 
our conversations the day after the loss of the space shuttle 
Challenger.  We wondered if the whole crew, especially 
those not piloting understood and had calculated the risks. 
Gary talked about his first flight in bad weather in 
instrument conditions with his children asleep in the plane. 
He was aware of his responsibilty and carefully calculated 
the risk. 
During Gary's last years he devoted a great deal of time to 
a manuscript he has written titled "Computer Connections: 
People, Places, and Events in the Evolution of the 
Personal Computer Industry".  Learning and education 
were one of his books theme's,  beginning with his 
academic days at the University of Washington where he 
earned his bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. degrees in Computer 
Science.  He began his professional career as a professor 
here at the Naval Postgraduate School.  Even after leaving 
this school to build a software business he still held on to a 
passion for teaching.  This is very clear in his manuscript 
where he wrote, 
       "I took the battle against the BASIC language. 
        I did this because I felt that the kids using 
        BASIC on the Apple II and IBM's new PC 
        were being taught archaic mind tools to solve 
        problems.  A new alternative had appeared on 
        the scene, a computer language called Logo. 
        I wrote Digital Research Logo, or Dr. Logo, as 
        it came to be called.  Logo taught kids how to 
        think about solving complex problems. 
        Logo became popular among a largish cult 
        group of teachers that were computer literate, 
        and I believe their students gained significant 
        mind tools.  But, in reality, most teachers found 
        themselves racing to catch up with their 
        brightest students and found solace in using 
        This is not a comment about inadequacies in 
        our educational system.  It is a comment about 
        the times.  I expected too much of educators. 
        I expected them to understand, in a sense, the 
        sugar-coated concepts of LISP used in AI that 
        were embodied in the Logo language. 
        It was then that I learned that computers were 
        built to make money, not minds." 
In closing I would like to pay my tribute to Gary as a 
pioneer.  I could not resist pulling out the Webster's 
Dictionary to look up the word pioneer.  I was all too 
pleased with the definition:  "A pioneer is one who 
originates anything or prepares the way for others." 
Gary was truly a pioneer among pioneers. 
Tom Rolander 
Pacific Grove, Ca 

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