In Memory of Friends and Colleagues

FIG stuff

Robert L. Smith

photo of Bob at Forth Day 2005

Robert LeRoy Smith

Robert LeRoy Smith passed away on Friday, September 3, 2021, at the age of 90.

Bob was a Stanford University Research Physicist whose work took him to Antarctica. He was also a Software Engineer, programming his first computer in 1955. He belonged to the early computer clubs in Palo Alto (he thought Wozniak was brilliant, but didn’t care much for Jobs). He re-wrote the Forth-79 Standard compiler to handle complex number arithmetic and created an improved algorithm for complex division. He was also a member of the IEEE Floating Point Standards committee as well as Secretary for the Forth Standards Team.

Bob was an accomplished accordion player, starting lessons when he was 10. In his retired years, he was a member of the San Francisco Accordion Club and the San Francisco Accordion Chamber Ensemble.


LaFarr Stuart

photo of LaFarr Stuart - 2004

LaFarr Stuart

LaFarr Stuart passed away peacefully with family by his side on July 26, 2021.

LaFarr worked for Control Data Corporation. The company that designed the first commercial super computer. He also worked for RCA and Zytrex. He invented and patented the digital computer clock.

LaFarr and Robert L. Smith developed LaForth concurrently with figForth in 1978-79. Both of them actively participated on the Forth Implementation Team which released the figForth Model on six different microprocessors in 1979. However, LaFarr was not satisfied with the figForth Model, so he put his many ideas into LaForth and used it to demonstrate the results of his experimentations. In one of the FIG meetings, he jokingly introduced himself by announcing that “I'm mutilating Forth”.

Larr said, "I was invited to give a talk at the Silicon Valley FIG Meeting on 2007 September 22. I like talking with this group. I know of no other group that have more in depth knowledge of their computers. Forth almost requires and appeals to that sort of user."


Randy Dumse

photo of Randy Dumse

Randy Dumse of Dallas died on 11/25/2020

Randy earned a BA in Physics from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) in 1975. In 1970, he received the Science Symposium Prize for Physics from UNI. After graduation he served as a commissioned officer in the US Navy where he was a Gunnery Officer aboard the USS Dewey.

Randy was the keynote speaker at the UNI Science, Math and Technology Symposium in November of 2005 where he spoke on how his UNI education opened the doors for him to become a successful entrepreneur.

Randy was the Founder, Owner, and President of New Micros Inc. a small electronics / computer manufacturer in Dallas. The company was involved in an incredible range of activities, including making robots for museums and updating a movie crane on Oprah's set. He was also worked on automotive applications, deep ocean probes, spaceshots, and pursued numerous R&D projects. The company's clients included DEC, IBM, AT&T, major US auto manufacturers, and many other companies.

One of New Micros products was a version of the Motorola 68HC11 (F68HC11) that contained the MaxForth Kernel in its ROM memory. The kernel featured an interpreter to allow Forth commands to be typed interactively or downloaded through a PC communications program through a serial port. The Forth interpreter resident in the 68HC11 kernel was adequate for tasks which were not time critical. Max-FORTH created a complete development enviroment.

New Micros Website - Single Board Peripherals, Coupons, Deals (Archive from 04/20/2018)
Max-FORTH for the 68HC11 - Forth programs - NewMicros

Wil Baden

photo of Wil Baden

Wil Baden - 10 June 1928 - 9 November 2016.

"This is the man who, as a boy, lived in Hollywood and was an extra in a crowd scene in an "Our Gang" episode about a birthday party."

"This is the man whose father took him to the World Science Fiction Convention, in 1939."

"He took the bus to visit John W. Campbell Jr. at Astounding Science Fiction magazine's offices. While at Princeton University, he had tea with Albert Einstein. (Which wasn't unusual at the time, all the incoming freshmen did.)"

"He was always good with languages. One day, a man from the government asked the head of the languages department if he could be introduced to the students who were especially good with the following languages? Which is how he ended up spending a summer translating Russian mathematics papers."

"He was active in the New York lodge of the Masons. He was a performer -- he was part of a comedy troupe called the Rusty Brothers. His favorite bit was where a mason who'd been away from the lodge for a while is trying to remember the correct secret handshake. It illustrated that you could do comedy without speaking a word."

"He learned Hebrew, and translated the news from Israel into English for the lodge newsletters to benefit the Jewish readers."

"He worked for a private detective firm for a while, doing secret audits of New York drive-in movie theaters. At the intermission he'd walk down the aisles between the cars, with a mechanical counter in one hand and his date's hand in the other. He'd click the clicker for each car he walked passed, and for each time his date squeezed his hand for one on her side. He saw a lot of movies."

"As a computer programmer, he was active in what we would now call the Open Source movement. He was a big fish in a shallow pond. The users group for mid-sized IBM computers was called "COMMON" (named after a Fortran statement), and he was active in that group for many years. He ended up on the Fortran '77 Standards Committee, which is when the Fortran language added "structured programming" to its library. (Before, with Fortran '66, implemented on IBM as Fortran IV, we only had IF, GO TO, and DO loop constructs. All those { } you see in modern languages? We didn't have them back then.)"

"When the family moved to California, he would answer the door on Halloween in his black cassock, white makeup, with the lights out and tall candles burning ... and demand that the kids do a "trick" to get a treat. This was something he learned from being a kid in the Depression - you don't get something for nothing. You could whistle with a mouth full of peanut butter, or sing Pumpkin Carols, or do a cheer routine or somersaults - anything, really."

"When his four kids were at College Park Elementary School, he'd come and read The Hobbit and Charlie & The Chocolate Factory at school. Decades later, the school librarian still remembered him fondly."

"He was active in the Forth programming language world, and was invited by the Chinese government as part of a group of Western computer scientists to come and give lectures. So he learned Mandarin, to be able to give his speeches in Chinese. He was invited back, two or three years later, and did it again."

"He'd bring us into his work on weekends, and we could play Hangman on the computer. No video monitors, each move resulted in another sheet of paper printing out on the huge line printer. I asked him how it was possible for a computer to play a game. Because of that question, I have a career."

"He took me to the very first convention I ever attended, a "COMMON" conference in Minneapolis. (At the Leamington, which was later home for Minicon for many years.) We flew on Northwest Orient Airlines. I remember it was spring, and there was snow on the ground, and I ordered a lemonade in the bar and charged it to our room."

"For awhile, he worked for the Arabian-American Oil Co. (ARAMCO) in Houston, staying for a week or so and flying home. TWA, the airline, actually issued him a wooden plaque acknowledging him as a frequent flyer. There was a possibility of him (and all of us) getting relocated to Riyadh, so he learned Arabic. The course at Orange Coast College was short on students and in danger of getting canceled, so some of us in the family joined him there. Our Arab teacher told us that each word in Arabic has four meanings: its primary meaning; the exact opposite; something obscene; and something to do with a camel."

"He learned about the Doctor Demento radio show on KMET, four hours each Sunday night, and we all started listening to it. He and mom performed Tom Lehrer's "Irish Ballad" at a church talent show once, along with "There's a Hole in the Bucket." "

"When he was recovering from a medical procedure about ten years ago, at a nursing facility, he brought along his old Spanish grammar book so he could communicate with the Spanish-speaking staff. They called him El Viejo."

"He had a life-long interest in shorthand, both the handwritten kind and alphabetic abbreviations. The system started by the telegraphers, back in the 19th century, was something he worked on updating and expanding."

"In the last few years, as he was going deaf and his eyesight was failing, he started studying Esperanto."

Reported by Chaz Boston Baden, his son on Facebook

Wil Baden aka Neil Bawd (1928-2016) Memorial Party and Sing-along

Saturday, 21 January 2017, 2:00-4:00 pm
Sierra Room, Balearic Community Center
1975 Balearic Drive
Costa Mesa CA 92626

"Wil Baden once told his children that when he died, we should have a party."

"So, with Mom's permission, we are doing just that. We are going to have some of his favorite snacks, and sing songs from the Dr. Seuss and Tom Lehrer songbooks. He sang us peculiar lullabies when we were small, acompanied us on piano from time to time, introduced us to the Doctor Demento show, and performed duets with Mom on occasion."

"We expect to have newspaper swordfights, and play some "Halloween Games," and talk about some of our favorite memories of growing up."

Hosted by the Baden children - Dorothy, Elaine, Chas., and Thomas.


Obituary on SF Site
Photo (Sunday 18-Aug-2002)

Photos from 1984 Forth Workshop in Tapei
Photos contributed by Bill Ragsdale

Photo of Will at 1984 Forthh Workshop in Tapei

At the National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan

Photo of Will at 1984 Forthh Workshop in Tapei

At the Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China

John (Sandy) Bumgarner

photo of Sandy Bumbarger

Sandy Bumgarner - June 15, 1940 - March 10, 2016

"He fought a courageous six year battle with cancer. I believe the Forth group meeting is coming up and if you could pass this information to others, I would appreciate it. I have planned a memorial service to be held at the Unitarian Church, 825 Middlefield Road, Petaluma, on May 14th at 11:00 am. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery, 304 Magnolia Avenue, Petaluma, with lunch following at Graffiti Restaurant, 101 2nd Street, Petaluma. It would be wonderful to have anyone who would like to come attend. I thank you for the friendship you shared and I know how much he enjoyed the Forth Interest Group. I hope to see you May 14th."

Reported by Sherry Bumgarner (his wife)

Sandy's Twitter
Gilroy Dispatch Obituary

Glen B. Haydon

photo of Glen Haydon at Forth Day 2003

Glen Haydon passed away at home on March 12, 2016.

He was a good friend to me, for many years, and of course was one of the great characters at FIG, Mountain View Press, and was accomplished at many endeavors outside the Forth subset of the universe. His wife Helen survives him, and is still living in the home they built together among the coastal foothills.


Reported by Marlin Ouverson

Glen B. Haydon

Jeff Fox

photo of Jeff Fox

Jeff Fox died at 62 of a heart attack some time before 1030 PDT this morning (May 4, 2011), at his home in Berkeley. His ex-wife Jane, who had been helping him take good care of himself, came back from an hour's errands to find him slumped over his computer. She called for medical assistance and immediately applied CPR but apparently it was just too long after the event. This was a surprise as Jeff's recovery from an earlier episode of congestive heart failure had apparently been going very well.

Jeff asked to be cremated and will share his back yard with his cat.

Jane said that Jeff specifically did not want a memorial or anything. We can each remember him in our own ways, together or apart as seems best.

Reported by Greg Bailey

Death Notice in San Francisco Chronicle

Dave Boulton

photo of Dave Boulton

Dave Boulton died on Saturday, October 10, 2009.

"There will be a service for Dave at 1 pm on Friday, October 23rd. It will be held in the Pacific Chapel at Skylawn. I hope each of you can spread the word and bring as many of Dave’s associates to the service – I would love to have a full house."

"Skylawn is located on Highway 92 at Skyline Blvd."

"We need to have photos to place into the guest book and put on display at the service. As Dave is being cremated the urn will be at the service. If I have not already told you, he donated his cornea so that 2 more people in the world will have sight."

Dave's cousin Bette
Memorial Invitation - 233 Kb pdf
Memorial Card - 243 Kb pdf
Send condolences to:
Bette Daoust
bjdaoust -at-

The Forth Interest Group (FIG) was started by Bill Ragsdale, Kim Harris, John James, Dave Boulton, Dave Bengel, Tom Olsen, and Dave Wyland. They introduced the concept of a FIG Forth Model, a publicly available Forth system that could be implemented on popular computer architectures.

Dave and Sandy Bumgarner worked at Jef Raskin's Information Appliance where he programmed all of the many printer drivers for the Canon Cat.

Dave was credited with the phrase: Never trust a computer which you cannot lift.

Dave wrote a Life program for the Jupiter Ace.

Here is what Dave wrote about himself on December 9, 2007:

"I did a big push for cell phone browsers a few years back at Openwave Systems, then I took some time off. I'm now working up to a new generation of wireless internet stuff."

Don Colburn

photo of Don Colburn

Don Colburn died on the morning of September 30, 2009 while undergoing a cardio-cath procedure to diagnose and repair damage to his heart.

A Memorial Service to celebrate Don's life was held on Sunday, October 4th at 6pm at the Unity of Fairfax (2854 Hunter Mill Road, Oakton, VA).

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Announcement on comp.lang.forth

Here is what Don wrote about himself and his contribution to the Forth community on July 2, 2009:

"I wrote a Forth block I/O PerSci floppy interface for Bill Ragsdale and Bob Selzer's Jolt Computer 6502 Forth project, and in exchange for writing two articles in Dr. Dobbs on Selzer's 6502 assembly development system, got a copy to run on my own Jolt system."

"I wrote a Forth-77 standard 8080 CP/M Forth system that was the basis for MSI Data's hand held computers. I used this to target compile the first 68000 Forth system in 1979. This was followed by 68000 MultiFORTH, distributed by HP on their desktop computer line. In the mid-1980s, MacForth, a fully featured Forth system for the Macintosh sold over 12,500 copies, and taught a whole new generation of programmers how to use menus, windows, and mice."

"My company, Creative Solutions, Inc., went on to develop Macintosh I/O devices. In 1995, I sold Creative Solutions, and retired. I have had MS for 30 years now, and although confined to a electric wheelchair (an iBot), I still get around pretty well."

"Forth encourages a scalable, interactive, incremental, reliable, and testable engineering approach that has, and always will influence my hardware and software designs. It has enabled me to do some absolutely amazing things."

"I have recently started up a new company, 3D Metal Parts, Inc. that repurposes 6-axis industrial robots with a plasma torch for flexible just-in-time manufacturing of 3D metal parts."

Julian V. Noble

photo of Julian V. Noble

Julian V. Noble, 66, died after a long illness on Sunday, March 11, 2007. He was a great contributor to the Forth comunity. He wrote the Beginner's Guide to Forth which is included with Win32Forth and frequently posted on comp.lang.forth. Several of his algorithims are in the Forth Scientific Library and he is the author of the text book Scientific Forth (ISBN 978-0963277503).

Physics at the University of Virginia website
Personal webpage
Forth webpage
Comp.lang.forth references

Trace Carter

Photo of Trace Carter

Trace Carter, Skip's wife, died suddenly on June 6th, 2006 of a brain hemorrhage resulting from the rupture of an unknown - to them - vascular anomaly. She ran the FIG office during Skip Carter's time as FIG President and handled all the membership, fulfillment, and sales.

Notes from Trace's Memorial Service at the Unity Church of Monterey Bay - Saturday, June 24th, 2006.

Min Moore

photo of Min Moore

Min Moore, Chuck's wife, passed away January 11, 2006. In addition to being the wife of the inventor of the Forth programming language and the mother of their son, Eric, she taught and practiced weaving and spinning at Elkus Ranch in Half Moon Bay. A recent newsletter memorializes her contributions there.

Bob Reiling

photo of Bob Reiling

Bob passed away on May 5, 1999. He was the primary organizer of the annual FORML Conference, editor of the Homebrew Computer Club Newsletter, co-organizer of the first West Coast Computer Faire, and a past President of the Forth Interest Group. Lee Felsenstein reflects on Bob's contributions.

In Memory of Friends and Colleagues on SVFIG website.

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