Admiral Hopper Dies (John Levine)
Thu, 2 Jan 92 19:49:05 CST

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Admiral Hopper Dies (1992-01-02)
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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
From: (John Levine)
Keywords: obituary
Organization: Compilers Central
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 92 19:49:05 CST

Here is an obituary for Admiral Grace Hopper, one of the great computer
pioneers. Thanks to Preston Briggs for forwarding this, it's not clear
who wrote it.

    Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (USNR Ret.) died New Year's Day at
her home in Arlington, Virginia. She had celebrated her 85th birthday
on December 9.

    At the time of her death she was employed as a senior consultant at
Digital Equipment Corporation, and until 18 months ago was actively
representing the company at industry forums, making presentations
that focused on Government issues and participating in corporate
educational programs.

    In September, President George Bush awarded the National Medal of
Technology to Admiral Hopper "for her pioneering accomplishments in
the development of computer programming languages that simplified
computer technology and opened the door to a significantly larger
universe of users." She was the first woman to receive the award as
an individual.

    Admiral Hopper was sometimes called "Amazing Grace" because she
recorded successful careers in academia, business and the United
States Navy while making history in the computer field. Just as Adm.
Hyman Rickover was father of the nuclear navy, Rear Adm. Hopper was
the mother of computerized data automation in the naval service.

    Admiral Hopper joined Digital in 1986, shortly after her retirement
as the U.S. Navy's oldest officer on active duty. The ceremony was
conducted aboard the USS Constitution, the service's oldest
commissioned warship. She had devoted her military career to keeping
the Navy on the leading edge of computer technology.

    Admiral Hopper was born Grace Brewster Murray on December 9, 1906
in New York City. She began summering in Wolfeboro, N.H., in 1907 and
regarded the town on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee as her second

    After receiving a Ph.D in mathematics from Yale, she began her
professional life as a math teacher at Vassar College, her alma
mater, where she ultimately became an associate professor. Later, she
worked as a top scientist at Sperry Corporation and its predecessors.

    However, her employer of choice was always the Navy, which she
joined in 1943 at the height of World War II. As a lieutenant
assigned to the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard
University, Adm. Hopper was thrust into the world of computing as a
programmer on the first large scale digital computer, the Mark I.

    Mustered out of the Navy in 1946, she remained at Harvard as a
faculty member in the computation laboratory. She continued to work
on Mark II and Mark II Navy computers and maintained her Navy career
as an active duty reservist.

    Although retired from the Navy reserve in 1966 because of age, Adm.
Hopper was recalled within a year to full-time active duty and
steadily advanced to flag rank. Her assignment to the Naval Data
Automation Command in Washington, D.C., permitted her to refine
computer language techniques to the Navy's advantage and to keep that
service at the cutting edge of computer technology.

    Adm. Hopper had received honorary degrees from more than 40
colleges and universities, and had been honored by her peers on
several occasions. She was recipient of the first Computer Sciences
"Man of the Year" award given by the Data Processing Management
Association. Her entry in "Who's Who" takes 34 lines to thumbnail her
accomplishments, appointments and honors.

    She is survived by a brother, Dr. Roger F. Murray II of New
Hampshire, a sister, Mary Murray Westcote of New Jersey, nieces and

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