Posted on | July 26, 2015 | 2 Comments
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 (pictures below).
I drove up, wearing a suit with a tie at the ready, but I noticed guests walking in without ties. Without suitcoats. Hmmmm…. Turns out, we were all told to wear orange, which was Gary’s signature color. Cooley wrote about it, but I missed that. I mean who reads Cooley any more?? (John, please…I kid.)
In any case, I walked in with orange-soled shoes, my ticket apparently.
Packed house. What a set-up. A beautifully appointed room in the Doubletree with fountains of flowers and pictures of Gary and a warm hum. There was an outstanding food spread and big urns of hot coffee and flowing, friendly chatter. It wasn’t the type of conversation you usually hear at these things–murmuring, look-over-your-shoulder skittish. It was positive, pleasant. There was laughter. There was Michelle Clancy of Cayenne Communications, who pulled this together in a matter of days. From the East Coast (with West Coast help from Jill Jacob, Paul Cohen, Bob Gardner). In a matter of just days. Cool, calm and collected, she was. (Michelle, please … I kid).
It was a who’s who of the EDA industry. There was the Cadence crew. The Synopsys Crew. Anne Cirkel from Mentor. Tom Anderson from Breker. The EDAC crowd. The ARM crew. Kathryn and Kevin back from Turkey and a wedding. Wally cabled over a nice note, and Aart popped in in person. My media buddies represented: Richard, Rick, Dave, Lou, Peggy. Sean O’Kane, Steve Alvin and Roger Stoneburner manning the video and audio.
Sean was the perfect choice to nurture the vibe as emcee, his looming figure, stage presence … that comic timing ringing out rim shots. He unwound an astonishing, touching, funny, insightful eulogy that he wrote himself. He quoted Thornton Wilder. Yes, the Irishman with the basketball knees and bum back carried Thornton Wilder to the stage: “Choose the least important day in your life. It will be important enough.” Sean, who knew? (Sean, please… I kid).
And then there was Hogan (there ain’t but one). He was funny and he was moved and he lost some words but found some more and he laid down an oral riff on a Gary Smith that was near and dear to big Jim’s thumping rock-and-roll heart … a Gary Smith that called B.S. on Hogan’s technology pitches over the years but honored the right stuff at the right time when it was right to do so… a Gary Smith whose passing leaves a strange quiet in our world, a unfamiliar hush we won’t soon understand or accept. As if to fill that void, Hogan and Grant Pierce rocked out some blues on stage, honoring Gary’s bass-plucking, band-gigging hobby, those great DAC parties and industry collegiality.
Lori Kate spoke. Man that took something. I wouldn’t have done it. Most of the room wouldn’t have done that under similar circumstances. She did and she rocked it with that sunshine smile of hers. And it made me think about how powerful a bond those two had for the past couple of decades, and it made me recall Gary’s sweet recollection at the 50th DAC in Austin:
— Brian Fuller (@bfuller9) June 4, 2013
In the end, it was unlike any memorial I’ve ever been to. I tasted that lingering sadness that I’ll never get to break bread with the man, get his insights (which sewed up so many articles over the years for me, for Goering, for others), his bad jokes and his bon homie.
I had to surrender that day, let it sit alone for a while before writing about it, before wondering again why he never emerged. And now I’m pretty sure that Gary, as always, had things to do, people to see, places to go and jokes to tell. And he’s off doing that with that big ole smile and big ole heart of his.
The Gary Smith Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to one undergraduate student annually participating in San José State University’s Guardian Scholars Program. A vital program for Silicon Valley’s public university, Guardian Scholars serves youth emancipated from foster care, Wards of the Court, and certified homeless individuals who are highly self-motivated to complete their college education at SJSU. Students planning careers in the tech and/or EDA industries are strongly encouraged to apply. In addition, DAC will enable the Gary Smith Memorial Scholarship students to attend our flagship industry event.
You have the option of making your gift online. And as you are making your online gift, in the Purpose section, be sure to note that your gift is for the “SJSU GARY SMITH MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP”