Gary Smith, founder and chief analyst at Gary Smith EDA, passed away July 3, 2015 after a brief illness. He was a good friend and a mentor and he contributed substantially to fostering the collaboration around a shared vision in Electronic Design Automation that is necessary to keep Moore’s Law moving forward.
I learned a lot from him in a friendship that spanned more than 25 years and will miss the chance to compare notes with him on life and business. He lived the life he wanted, was devoted to his wife Lori Kate and his son Casey, and stayed active in a professional community he had nurtured for more than four decades.
In December of 2006 I wrote about our friendship and our first meeting in 1989 in “Coffee Break With Gary Smith”
I have known Gary Smith for almost 20 years: we met when he was a methodologist at LSI Logic and their salesman for 3Com dragged him in to encourage us to continue using the proprietary LSI tools and not move to Synopsys Design Compiler and Verilog for ASIC design. Like all good ENTJ‘s he was hearty, robust, and argumentative. I guess it takes one to know one. What Gary and I considered to be a friendly but spirited conversation the salesman was convinced had escalated to a shouting match. We have been friends ever since.
We continued to have lunch or coffee a couple of times a year. I visited him the Good Samaritan ICU when he was hospitalized in late 2013 with a bad infection and again at home a few weeks after he got out. He had a long tether of plastic tubing that allowed him to walk around his house and get oxygen, I felt like a fish in aquarium being visited by a deep sea diver. He was very cheerful and took his son Casey out for a walk (he had a small portable oxygen tank he could use to leave the house).
When he came back he lay down on the couch for nap and he was so still I had this sense he was lying in a coffin and that this might be the last time I would see him. But we met for lunch perhaps two months later in early 2014 and he drove himself and did not bring his own oxygen: he was thinner but full of energy and good humor and it was like nothing had ever happened aside from some weight loss.
There were several things I learned from his example and his insights:
- He was a good researcher; systematic in gathering feedback, numbers and stories.
- He was a careful observer of people and how they worked, he probed not just for how they did their jobs but their mental model for the project (their cognitive task model).
- He was genuinely committed to growing the pie and advancing the EDA and Semiconductor industry, he wanted to create more value than he captured.
- He was a versatile and effective communicator. He could write well, he was comfortable in a one on one conversation or a small group discussion and he could speak to a large audience in an entertaining and informative manner.
Memorial Service Sunday July 12, 2015
There is a memorial service scheduled for Sunday July 12 at 11am at the DoubleTree San Jose (2050 Gateway Place, San Jose, California, 95110). To provide a loving memorial for Casey and Gary’s granddaughters, Rachel and Shannon, Lori Kate and the family kindly request that you share your favorite stories and/or pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Gary Smith Memorial Scholarship has been established at San Jose State University.
Other Obituaries for Gary Smith
- Richard Goering “Gary Smith Obituary” March 9, 1941 — July 3, 2015
Gary Smith, founder and chief analyst at Gary Smith EDA, passed away unexpectedly July 3, 2015 after a brief illness. He died peacefully in Flagstaff, Arizona, surrounded by his family.
- Also in San Jose Mercury News
- US Navy Class of 1963 Gary Smith Deceased
- Graham Bell “In Fond Memory of Gary Smith“
- Peggy Aycinena “Gary Smith–Oracle”
- Tom Anderson “Fond Memories of EDA Analyst Gary Smith“
- Dwight Hill: Photos of Gary Smith at the Electronic Design Process Symposium: http://dwighthill.smugmug.com/EDA/GarySmith-at-EDPS/
- Paul McLellan “Gary Smith Passed Away Last Friday“
- John Cooley “Gary Smith died on Friday, July 3rd“
- Dylan McGrath “Veteran EDA Analyst Gary Smith Dies“
- Max Maxfield “Goodbye Gary Smith–It’s Been a Blast” (also here)
Way back in the mists of time, I co-authored a book called EDA: Where Electronics Begins with my friend Kuhoo Goyal Edson. The idea was a non-threatening book that could be used to explain EDA to Venture Capitalists. Gary and his wife-to-be, Lori Kate, helped out bouncing ideas around. One of the things we did was to explain how to pronounce abbreviations — like the fact that you always spell out “U-S-B” and you always pronounce RAM to rhyme with “ham,” and that some words like DAC can either be spelled out “D-A-C” or pronounced to rhyme with “hack,” while some are a mixture like “E-DAC” — the point being that you need to say things the right way if you want to be taken seriously. The main reason we decided to do this was because Gary shared a story that found its way into the book. While he was an analyst at Gartner Dataquest, an administrative assistant from a magazine (that shall remain nameless) called him up, told him she was fact-checking, and asked him “Just how do you spell E-D-A?”
- Brian Fuller “Remembering EDA Analyst Gary Smith“
- Gary Smith Autobiography Gary was always candid about his alcoholism.
Unfortunately during that period home life wasn’t going very well. The Carlisles were a Scotch-Irish family, which meant they were Briton Celts. The Celts have a high instance of alcoholism and the Carlisles were no exception. I had inherited the alcoholic gene and was well on my way to drinking myself to death. By 1983 I was close to the end when I got arrested for drunk driving which began my road to sobriety, the best thing that has happened in my life. But when I was six years sober, and Tammy and Kim graduated from USC, Diana divorced me. She had had enough.
- Paul McClellan “In Memoriam: Gary Smith“
- Peggy Aycinena “Gary Smith: The Ecclesiastical Purple And The Pagan Orange“
- Ann Steffora Mutschler: Remembering Gary Smith, Reflections on my first EDA friend.
Writing a remembrance for an industry acquaintance can be uncomfortable; writing one for someone who was a friend is just, plain painful.
- Shlomo Gradman: “My Dear Friend Gary Smith” [Translation]
orignal Hebrew at http://chiportal.co.il/chips/4190-chipsim-0707159
- Brian Fuller “Gary”
It puzzled me that he never emerged from behind the curtain to stride across the stage with his ceaseless smile and glimmering eyes to address us again. I really expected it. But he didn’t. Still, Gary Smith’s spirit pervaded that San Jose room on that Sunday where the industry, family and friends (many of whom were all three in one) gathered to remember the wonderful industry analyst, engineer and man.