Computer Histories Page XIII

John Frank Pilvines, Jr.

1954 – 2020

From almost as soon as he got to college John was quickly mesmerized by computer technology. Not only did he use them for class work (largely through punch card computers which have gotten mixed up a few times!), but to understand and learn about them. After graduating from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) with a B.S. in Bio-Organic Chemistry he quickly pivoted his career back towards computers.

John’s 35+ year career in the computer industry led him to work with companies such as Tandy Corp, Radio Shack, GRiD, AST and MicronPC, primarily working as a systems engineer. He had many fond memories implementing solutions and working with companies such as NASA, General Electric, the military during The Gulf War and many others. Never one to hold off on storytelling, he would always have a tale or analogy or reference for almost any conversation. Two of the stories he always got a laugh from were…

· laptop received back from the military with a pistol round shot into the hardware with a note in the box only stating “won’t turn on”

· walking through a engineering office where old CRT monitors were put into a crushing box to break the tube & glass before sending them out for repair (which as John pointed out it would have been cheaper for this client to buy new monitors than send the broken ones in for repair!)

Among John’s greatest passions was teaching and mentoring the next generation to have a passion for technology, and a pursuit of knowledge. He was always amazed and reminded everyone around him how far computer technology has progressed in such a short period of time. John had a huge impact mentoring the next generation through the FIRST robotics competitions over 20 years of volunteering. He spent much of his free time giving seminars, volunteering at robotics tournaments, mentoring local robotics organizations & helping numerous students to reach for a career or degree in STEM.

Over 30 years he collected countless books, articles, historic computer equipment and more, to one day hopefully help catalogue and remind the world how far computer technology has progressed in such a short period of time. His family & friends hope that in a small way, the donation of his collection will be a reminder of his legacy, and help catalogue pivotal chapters in the information age.