Remembering Gary Smith

Reflections on my first EDA friend.


The EDA industry recently said farewell to one of its biggest advocates, Gary Smith, who passed away on July 3.

Writing a remembrance for an industry acquaintance can be uncomfortable; writing one for someone who was a friend is just, plain painful.

Gary SmithWhile I had a number of years writing about technology under my belt, by the time I started covering EDA for Electronic Business in 1997 I knew it was a whole new ballgame. To get my bearings, EB colleagues recommended I get in touch with Gary Smith, then at Dataquest, as he was the person who could explain, well, everything where EDA was concerned.

For a few years, there were few articles I worked on that I didn’t seek Gary’s input on — many times as a reality check for myself. He was always patient, kind and understanding even when I would ask the same question more than once: “Could you please explain statistical static timing analysis one more time?”

The great thing about Gary too was that he always put me at ease, and as a result, we talked about everything under the sun in addition to technology: music — of course; philosophy; his grandkids, then his wife, Lori Kate and son Casey; my husband and kids; life in general.

From my vantage point of being one of the few women in a male-dominated industry, he was a huge supporter of the contributions that women made in the industry. He was encouraging and helpful, and by his comments to me, I could tell he actually read my work. It made a difference.

One of our mutual friends reminded me that Gary was my “EDA Dad,” and he was. His passing is a huge loss to so many of us, whose lives and careers were made that much better because he played a role in them.

Rest in peace, Gary.

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Jeff Dorsch says:

He was always available to bewildered tech journalists, and very helpful. I’m sorry I missed his last pre-DAC briefing. Good post, Ann.

Graham Bell says:

Ann, Thanks for sharing your friendship with Gary. I will miss him.

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