I wrote last week about Jim Williams passing away and how influential he was on the analog electronics community and myself. In a sad twist of fate, one of Jim’s friends and another hero of mine, Bob Pease, died in a car crash on the way home from Jim’s memorial service. Bob was driving his ’69 Beetle in the hills of Saratoga, CA when his car went off the road and struck a tree. When I found out that two analog legends are now gone, it really hurt. Obviously nothing like their close friends and families have felt, but instead a loss in the world because they meant so much to engineers.
So this week’s theme is about mistakes? Well, it’s not my biggest, not by far, but my mistake is not asking Bob or Jim for an interview sooner. They were both at the top of the list of people to have on my radio show with Dave Jones, The Amp Hour. And yes, I realize it sounds petty that all I can write about when thinking of mistakes is that I’m sad I missed an opportunity. But it’s fresh in my mind and I’m sad that the world lost two great engineers; two engineers who exuded not just technical prowess, but things that I value and skills I hope I possess: clear communication, a good sense of humor, dedication to their craft, intense loyalty to friends and willingness to help complete strangers, simply because they ask. Bob and Jim both would help customers or hobbyists, in whatever capacity they could, often spending hours helping out someone who presented a new circuit or idea that was stumping them.
So as someone who is a writer about analog electronics who recently lost two role models, maybe it’s not completely silly to say that my missed opportunity is a mistake. But I sure will miss reading what both Jim and Bob had to write and I wish I could have had the chance to ask them for some advice personally. Now, all I can do I hope the things I’ve learned from their writings (and can continue to learn from their legacies) can help others someday. RIP Jim and Bob, the world is a little bit less analog with both of you gone.