Home   About Us   CP/M    Software     DR   Contact Us 
Digital Research

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 


Digital Research

Home | About Us | CP/M | Contact Us | Links | Privacy | Software | Yahoo! Group  ]

Copyright © 1974-2012 DigitalResearch.biz - MaxFrame Corporation