George Robbins was a high school friend of mine, so I thought I would share some memories from that time & a little beyond.

Early George: Ninth grade was the last time that I remember when George's hair was not shoulder length. Early on, George once told me he repeated second grade because he was too busy looking at electronics catalogs to pay attention to class.

Trains: George had an affinity for things electronic & mechanical. Trains fit right into his interests. He once restored a handcar in his family's garage. I helped him do some test runs in the suburban street in front of his house. Later he lived in a former train station for a while.

Drop-In Centers: These were phenomena in Northern Delaware in the early seventies, & George was often found helping out at one or another. One drop-in center, Brown House (Claymont, DE) was frequented by neighborhood toughs who rarely shied away from a chance to fight. These guys always had great respect for George, probably because he kept the sounds of Black Sabbath & John Lennon going by keeping the house electronics & electrical systems together.

Coffee Houses: There were another early seventies phenomena in Northern Delaware. Again, George could often be found helping out in the background, setting up or breaking down tables, sweeping floors & the like. He cited one of these, the Side Door Coffeehouse, on his "About George Robbins" web page. As part of the volunteer "staff" George was a part of its social scene & camp-outs.

The Rambler: When George first started driving, he drove his ramshackle Rambler far faster than I ever thought safely possible, at least until the speeding tickets slowed him down. I will never forget when he drove me from a Side Door camp-out in the pouring rain, without windshield wipers, & at high rates of speed so I could make a train in Baltimore for a NYC chess tournament.

Girl Friends: Alas, George & I both courted the same two young women who both later became my girl friends. But he never seemed to hold that against me, & we agreed to become college roommates after high school.

College: The University of Delaware, in its dubious wisdom, decided not to admit George because he did not graduate high school due to a missing ΒΌ credit in gym. As further proof of its dubious wisdom, the U. of D. did not tell George this until after we had moved into the dorm. Since George was far more interested in the data center than classes, we decided that he should clandestinely live there even though the U. of D. took his key away. We simply did not lock the doors. It was not until Thanksgiving weekend when all the students were supposed to be home that the University Security caught him.

The Data Center: Towards the end of high school, & during that fall "semester" at the U. of D., George would spend as much possible at the Data Center. I never understood why --- punch cards were never my idea of an effective user interface, but it was clear that computers had become George's passion. You may have heard about some science studies indicating that humans in the absence of natural light tend toward a 25-hour cycle. George provided anecdotal evidence of this. For weeks, he would leave for the data center an hour later & return to the dorm room an hour later than the previous day or night, until George eventually cycled himself around the clock back to "normal" hours.

I have offered a here some humorous memories of George but they do not approach the measure of the man. In high school he was, to me, an important part of our social, intellectual, philosophical & playful scene of mutual friends & acquaintances. I rarely remember George getting angry, & he never seemed to hold onto anger when he did. He had a great, quirky sense of humor that always entertained me. He was one who truly demonstrated that competence does not depend upon grades or degrees, but comes instead from ability, achievement & knowledge.

I last ran into George at some point after he started working on the Amiga, perhaps about the time I started my own path into information technology. As always, he seemed quite satisfied & happy with such technical things, & at the chance to shape a computer architecture. I am sad that he know longer walks this earth. I hope that his spirit has found a fitting repose & that our memory of him stays alive with us for a long time.

Shalom, George.

-Ray Leonard