Remembering Dick Vahlstrom...

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This page is dedicated to the memory of our friend and colleague Dick Vahlstrom who passed away January 18, 2001.

Dick was well known at Microdata for years before we became collaborators but I got to know Dick when Microdata was closing down. Dick was so generous with his knowledge on performance of Reality machines even though it looked like the end of his involvement with Microdata was imminent. He gave me his “book” on performance with the instruction that I be careful with it.

That particular trip to Irvine has turned out to be my last. One of the lasting memories was the evening Dick played his flute and I accompanied him on piano. Apparently, Dick had waited years to find anyone who would play for him, most of the pianists of his acquaintance being far too good. Not a problem in my case. The time and the activity were somehow symbolic; as Microdata crashed and one arena graced by Dick’s immense talents disappeared, yet another of Dick’s undisclosed sides emerged.

What a man!

Roger Bowen

Thanks for the update on Dick Vahlstrom's passing Steve. I was saddened by the news. I worked with Dick a number of years during the Microdata era. I remember Dick as a highly intelligent, motivated person. Roger Fletcher would also remember him as a soft-spoken Leader, but Dick had a drive about him that would not let him give up on a project until the design was built, tested, and shipped. We spent many hours - after-hours - working together, solving logic problems on new hardware designs. Sorry to hear of his passing.

Dick Samstag

A true gentle giant who always had time for others. Dick was always a positive influence on myself and others. A real inspiration of a person. Always bringing out the best in those around him!

Keith Peterson

I was saddened to hear the news about Dick Vahlstrom's passing. He was a good man. I've referred to him a lot when I talk about the value of the basics of any discipline. Once, when I went to Dick, the company's "Senior Scientist", with a technical problem, he went to his notepad with a blunt pencil and wrote verbatim everything I said - word by word - until 3 whole sentences were on his notepad. Then he quoted Kirchoff's and Ohm's laws, the things you learn in Electric 101. Poof!...the answer appeared. I thought basics like this were for junior techs who could someday aspire to be brilliant "Senior Scientists". I aspired that day. If you run into anyone who cares about him, and if they ask, mention this.

Ron Schow

I was very saddened to learn about Dick's passing. It was a pleasure to have had the opportunity to work with Dick as both a co-worker and eventually having Dick reporting into me as the engineering department's System Architect. His major contributions to the performance enhancements of Sequel and Pegasus contributed significantly to the bottom line for both the UK and US operations. I can remember quite vividly seeing Dick in his office running benchmarks on the system in the process of identifying areas where major system improvements could be attained. During the first 6 month's of Pegasus' existence the R&D development costs were more than recouped- a testimony to Dick's work and the whole of engineering working on various aspects of the project! Although there were many players in this project, Dick certainly played a major role. I also remember the Henry/Dick debates on how best to achieve performance improvement.

I can also recall vividly seeing and occasionally joining in with Dick and Peter Lee having lunch or a deserved break over at the RedHill Cafeteria. An opportunity to talk about life outside of Microdata/McDonnell Douglas. Dick was a good person and we will surely miss him. My prayers and thoughts are with him and his family.

Carlos E. Lozano

I am compelled to remember Dick as always kind and very gracious. He was a brilliant Chief Scientist but always had time to talk to anyone at any level. If you asked him a question he would always take the time to answer.

He will be missed, but never forgotten!


Graham Fossey

I had the privilege of working with Dick during an exciting period of Microdata's history. Although many talented people contributed to the development of Reality and Sequel, I believe that Dick stood out as the key contributor. He was always ready to take on and solve the toughest design and integration problems. He was indeed the Chief Scientist.

However, it was not until I attended his "celebration of life " that I began to fully understand the many talents and dimensions of this modest but very capable person. Dick you made the world a better place.

Frank Reinhart

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