In passing: Dennis Ritchie, 70, C language developer

SUNDAY, OCT. 16, 2011

Dennis Ritchie, a pioneer in computer programming, has died at 70, according to his longtime employer.

Ritchie created the popular C programming language and helped create the Unix operating software. Ritchie joined Bell Labs in the late 1960s. He died Wednesday.

Ritchie is best known for his contributions to computer programming and software. The C language, which Ritchie developed in the early 1970s, is still popular. It has gone through a number of upgrades, and it is commonly used for website development and other computer tasks. The Unix operating software also surged in popularity. It and its offshoots, including the open-source Linux, are widely used today, in corporate servers and cellphones.

“My undergraduate experience convinced me that I was not smart enough to be a physicist, and that computers were quite neat,” Ritchie wrote. “My graduate school experience convinced me that I was not smart enough to be an expert in the theory of algorithms and also that I liked procedural languages better than functional ones.”

Robert Galvin, 89, Motorola leader

Robert Galvin, who over nearly three decades as Motorola’s CEO transformed the maker of police radios and TVs into one of the world’s leading electronics companies, has died. He was 89.

Galvin died Tuesday in Chicago of natural causes.

Galvin oversaw Motorola’s pioneering efforts in the cellular industry, including the creation of the first commercial cellphone in 1973 and the first cellphone network in the 1980s.

“He probably single-handedly provided this firm with more leadership and guided it through more innovation than any other single person in our 83-year history,” said Greg Brown, CEO of Motorola Solutions Inc.

Galvin was named CEO in 1959 at the death of his father, Paul Galvin, who had founded the company in 1928. Robert Galvin, known as “Bob,” remained in the post until 1986 and stayed on as chairman until 1990. He retired from the board of directors in ’01.

Galvin led the company into China with a $100 million investment in 1987. The country is still a major market for its phones. He helped create the Six Sigma quality system at Motorola, since adopted by many other companies.

“Bob saw around corners. He anticipated,” Brown said.

Anita Caspary, 95, led order of ‘rebel nuns’

During a showdown with the Catholic Church in the late 1960s, Anita Caspary and the Los Angeles order she led, the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, were cast as “rebel nuns” for progressive reforms that included abandoning the nun’s habit and suspending a fixed time for prayer.

Caspary died Oct. 5 at the Immaculate Heart Community’s retirement home in Los Angeles, said Lenore Dowling, a spokeswoman. Caspary was 95.

Conservative Cardinal James Francis McIntyre of the Los Angeles Archdiocese barred the sisters from teaching in the Catholic schools he oversaw.

The sisters appealed to Rome, but when the Vatican squelched their modernization efforts, more than 300 of them made what was an “unthinkable choice” and asked to be released from their vows, Caspary later wrote.

The ex-nuns came together to found the community. It has 160 members today.


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