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Drew Speedie Memories


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This is not an edit, it is a comment. It is hard to see inside the mind of another person. That's part of the human condition. Maybe Drew had darker demons than any of us understood. (Charles Hankey, who is as smart as anyone I have known. maybe saw the dark side before the rest of us). Maybe Drew did jump off that bridge. But he sure didn't take Brent with him. I saw the way they were together and he never, ever, EVER would have done that.

A place to remember...

Here's my favorite memory of Drew Speedie. It's actually more a memory of Brent. Years ago I entered a big Devcon session room shortly before Drew was to speak. The room, a big one, was almost totally PACKED, with few if any seats left, people standing along the walls, sitting in the isles, and the room was already pretty dark, just before Drew was to begin. I spotted Irene Speedie in the back right corner of the room near the door I just entered, with young Brent, aged maybe 5 years old, on her lap, waiting for the session to start. Brent was being so good, happily and quietly sitting on his mom's lap, not too interested or understanding what was going on. I approached them and I said "Hey Brent, how's it going?. Brent, do you realize that ALL these people are here to see *YOUR* dad? They've come from all over the world, some of them across oceans, to hear what he has to say. Isn't that amazing? Your dad is great, he's a STAR!". Brent's eyes lit up, he gave me the biggest grin, I ruffled his hair and walked away real happy to have told him that about his dad. In the years since, at every conference where I saw Brent, I like to think he remembered me, and that special moment, when someone confirmed what, surely, he already intuitively knew and believed about his dad. -- Steven Black


I read many of Drew's articles over the years, and they were always quite insightful and inspiring. With great sadness I then followed the story of his and his son's death, as well as the final analysis by the Park Service as to what actually happened. I don't want to open old wounds, but at the same time as a father of four children, I have to say that I have a **potential** problem with these beatiful and touching eulogies. If I choose to believe what the Park Service concluded, then at least in my book Drew's entire life became null and void the very instant his son died. One of our basic moral tenets in this world, whether we are Christians or not, is: "What you do to one of these children, you do to me", and to break this tenet is simply unforgivable.

However, if I don't choose to believe the Park Service's conclusions, these eulogies may be just barely adequate to honor the man and his life.

As I walked over the Golden Gate Bridge with my 11-year old daughter today, I thought of Drew and his son, and I couldn't even begin to imagine... And as I returned from that walk, I'm sorry, but I just had to express my ambivalent feelings about this topic. Maybe someone here could put my mind at ease and tell me in no uncertain terms what I want to hear so badly -- that their death was a random, horrible accident.

No matter what, however, on many occasions when I cross over a bridge I say a little prayer for Drew's and his son's souls.

I am so, so sorry. -- Pertti Karjalainen


I have added Andrea Speedie's "memories" and photos to the Drew Speedie Memorial web site.
Added a number of blog links. (Let me know if I've missed yours.)
-- Russ Swall
Drew was an amazing developer, both eager to explore and learn, and solid in his opinions. His code was the rare combination of brilliant and understandable.

If Drew lit up Brent's eyes, the opposite was also true. He talked about Brent constantly and proudly. -- Zahid Ali

I first met Drew in the very early days of the D.C. area Fox user group(later to become Potomac Area FoxPro Users Group or PAFox), circa 1990. He was seldom without his laptop, slinging code at every opportunity. Within a few months he gave a talk to the user group, showing some cool (and often very funny) Fox tricks (DOS version). I remember telling George Goley (Drew's boss at the time) at the next DevCon that Drew would make a good conference presenter. I guess that qualifies as an understatement.

RIP Drew and Brent -- Dale Gilstrap Leopold


I have been a big fan of Drew Speedie for years. Drew was a great help to us in our business, and we will miss him greatly. He was a mentor and an inspiration to us as to how we should conduct our own business.

I first met him at a Toronto Fox Users group meeting when VFP3 was released. He was in town to explain it to us, and from that first time I saw him lead a session through the last time I saw him, I was always amazed by his skill, his speed, and his desire to share his love of VFP.

On many occasions, I watched Brent do time keeping and providing assistance to his Dad during VFP sessions. It always made me wish that I could have done that with my kids. Those two certainly loved each other very much. As devastating as this tragedy is, at least they left this earth together, spending time with each other as they loved to do.

Rest in peace Drew and Brent -- Charles Waud

I've blogged a couple of my memories at http://www.craigberntson.com/blog/2005/09/farewell-old-friend.asp -- Craig Berntson

Last year we took on the undaunting task of putting on a Visual FoxPro conference. We made sure to give him plenty of credit, but he deserved more. Drew mentored us all the way. He suggested having it somewhere other than a costly hotel, he helped us with choosing topics and gave us advice on every aspect of the conference from his vast experience as a presenter.

The highlight of the conference for me was his keynote address. It was a once in a life time performance. Drew was delivering his address and one of the attendees was asking a lot of questions. The guy's phone rang and he left the room. When he returned he asked a question about what Drew covered when he was out of the room. Drew asked him if he wanted to give the keynote and the guy went up on stage and took the mike from Drew! He then proceeded to tell jokes! I wasn't paying attention to how it was received by the attendees because I was laughing so hard. You can only imagine how much fun we had planning it with Drew! Drew planned the whole thing with the professional commedian and we didn't even know what they were going to do. -- Jeff Johnson

My tribute is at http://foxproadvisor.com/doc/grant154 -- Tamar Granor
Just last week I was just talking with another consultant about the 1996 VFP conference in Minneapolis. I saw saying that I didnt remember a whole lot of detail about it, but who could forget the aptly named Drew Speedie's presentation. I was sorry to hear of his untimely demise.

Hans Guttmann
The tragedy is very mysterious indeed. But let other speculate on it - it won't change the facts. Therefore I will share some of our memories with you:

No doubt Drew Speedie was a very important and highly respected personality within the FoxPro Community. We all will miss Drew as a speaker, as an initiator, as a source of many ideas and as an advisor. But most we miss Drew and his son Brent as dear and always reliable friends. Therefore this
will be a very personal memory.

Scene from Prague 2003: Jan Vit and Jan Král and myself were sitting in a one of the computer rooms at the Technical University of Prague, each of us working with his notebook typing his portion of the report about the Prague DevCon 2003. Suddenly a slim young boy came in - Brent Speedie. He switched on the computer next to me, logged into the internet and started playing some complicated strategy game. After a while he was bored with this. Since the two Jans and myself were busy writing, but not talking any word he got interested in what we were doing. He looked onto my screen and pointed at a word I had spelled the wrong way. I thought that this was very useful, but it was also sort of disturbing, because I was in a hurry to get my text done. So I asked him whether he would like to help us. Brent's Answer: "Sure what can I do?". So I pointed him to UT and asked him to check the report uploaded so far.

This was the start of an exceptional friendship between an old man (me), who easily could have been his grandfather, and a young, committed and very efficient young boy - Brent Speedie.

Brent then became our "Assistant Spell-Checker" for this report from the Prague 2003 DevCon. (At the end of this 2003 report there are two pictures, which pretty well illustrates this story.)

Some month later: Again I had agreed to the report about the Frankfurt DevCon 2003, this time in a team with Armin Neudert. This I formally asked Brent whether he would join us again. He agreed to it. Now Armin and myself promoted him to be our "Proof-Reader". So he no longer was a simple spell-checker, which was very important for him.

Unfortunately we had no pictures of Brent during this conference. That's why there are only lines about Brent helping us with the report of the Frankfurt DevCon 2003.

One year later, again Frankfurt: The - sadly - last contribution of Brent Speedie as a Proof Reader for a DevCon Report was for the Frankfurt DevCon 2004. Again Brent was a reliable partner and his commitment helped to make a good report. But this time his picture was included in the same fashion as the pictures of the reporters, which was very important for him.

Well, so much about Brent. My wife and I had the great opportunity once to invite the Speedie family - Irene, Drew and Brent - for dinner to our house. It was an exceptional evening with dear friends in a very friendly, relaxed and at the same time very stimulating atmosphere. We exchanged many thought about FoxPro, but also about many other topics as well: two families from very different parts of the world, eager to learn as much as possible from each other. We certainly will never forget this evening.

Hans and Gaby Lochmann
Drew was an extremely attuned developer as far as the needs of his Visual Max Frame users. He wrote volumes of documentation, stuck very close to being backward compatible, and provided copious tools and notes to keep people working and up to date on the latest version of his software. You always knew Drew would answer the tough questions and you were never left alone to figure it out yourself.

Best of all (for me) is that he was always friendly towards me and remembered me by name even years and years ago when we first met. He was a terrific man who found a way to spend the majority of his time with his wife and his son, for whom his care and concern was obvious to us all. I am deeply saddened by his loss. -- Kristyne McDaniel
Drew memories... My gosh, I bet we all have at least a few.

He was often contentious, sometimes gruff, but always smart, unknowingly cool, and a phenomenal resource for answers to the questions that others couldn't answer. I guess God was having trouble with the IT stuff up there and called Drew back.

One of my favorites was Drew 'peeing' his pants at the Whilfest over the fact that BINDEVENT was so 'cool'. Every time I use/see BINDEVENT I think about him.
That's a pretty popular story -- I posted a couple of photos of that incident on the memorial site. -- RS

His relationship with Brent was also special. He would often grouse about how his next update was a bit delayed because the 'kid found a few more bugs... He loves that', but his love and respect for Brent were evident. Brent for his part took extra special pleasure in finding his dad's bugs.

My condolences to Irene and the rest of the family. Godspeed Drew, Godspeed.

Drew & Brent, you will be missed. -- Marc Lyon

Drew was a true gentleman and I had the most pleasant experiences with him in all my meetings.
He will definitely live on through his amazing software that is used by many many developers & users around the world.
I have learned a lot from him and to see his code is to see the footprint of a lion.
May the Lord rest his soul in eternal peace.
Thank you Drew
Ahmad Joulaie

One of the first times I met Drew was when he worked at Mobil Oil in Virginia. I met him and his son who was probably less than a year old at a resturant. We were able to sit outside and he grilled me on VFP. I didn't get the job since it turned out that they were actually just needed a tester.

I then had a chance to work at Prosoft and in Drew's office he had a Lazy-Boy chair and he usually didn't have his shoes on when he walked around the office. Like what someone else said, he always had his laptop with him and typing on it all the time. David LCrooks
A tribute in Portal Fox by Ana Maria Bisbe York

Drew Speedie In Memoriam (Text in English)
Drew Speedie In Memoriam (Texto en Español)
I first met Drew when I coordinated a one-day presentation for the release of VFP3. We hit it off and have been in regular contact since. We coordinated a one week VFP training session. One of my proudest moments was getting a training certificate signed by him. He said I was one of the few who could keep up with him in a class. He helped my career by letting me provide technical support for Visual Max Frame and later recommending I be hired by MaxTech, where I taught and did projects with VMP. My favorite memory is of some presentation with Drew. His mouse was behaving badly. It was one of the ball types so was probably a little gunky. I lent him my brand new 3M Precise Mousing Surface mouse pad. It worked so well he said "This is great! You realize I'm keeping it. Right?". This got a laugh from everybody. Several people tried it out after he finished. A week or so later Drew surprised me with a replacement, which was the newer model. He wouldn't accept the newer one from me. I'm using it even now. He was one of the kindest people I've ever known. -- Mike Yearwood
Drew was a major mentor to me. I remember a number of occasions when we were working side-by-side on a project and I would ask him a question. Without looking up from his screen, or even hesitating in his typing, he would mutter "Stupid question." and keep working. At first, I was a bit offended, until I realized that in every case, they were, in fact, stupid questions. After that, I just learned to do more research before bugging him. One of my favorite memories of Drew was one day when the development team was going to a restaurant for lunch to celebrate someone's birthday. I drove Drew, who sat shotgun with his laptop, working away in the car. As I made a left turn onto the main drag, Drew started shouting "No! Turn around! Turn around immediately!" I asked what the problem was and he replied that the sun was on his screen and he couldn't work. I reassured him that we would be there in just a couple of minutes. He fussed and fidgeted the rest of the way there and as soon as we got inside, resumed his work at the dining table with the other 8 of us eating away. He never stopped for a minute. He was tireless, relentless and one of a rare breed of truly good men. He will be greatly missed. I think of him often and was deeply shocked and dismayed at the news of his tragic death. Drew, if you still are, I hope you and your son are well and happy. We all miss you so.
Category People
( Topic last updated: 2015.02.06 01:00:36 AM )