Friday, August 5, 2011

Daniel D. McCracken

Daniel D. McCracken died peacefully in his home in New York City on July 30, just after his 81st birthday.

Born July 23, 1930, in Hughes, Mont., he wrote in 1957 the first computing programming textbook, heralding the start of the computer era. Thousands learned programming from Professor McCracken, who held degrees in mathematics, chemistry and divinity. His 25 titles—including one edited with Margaret Mead—have sold 1.6 million-plus copies in 15 languages.

An Ossining, N.Y., resident from 1958 until 1980, he was formerly married to Evelyn (Edwards), who died in 2008. The couple had seven children: Charlie (Ann) of Greenfield, Mass.; Judith Carlin, Virginia Ballou (Jeff) and Rachael Bahrenfuss, all of Hailey; Cynthia Baldwin (Reuben) of Shoshone; Aliza of Bakersfield, Calif., and Tom of Leadville, Colo.

As school board president in the 1960s, he was instrumental in the construction of the Middle School.

In 1970, he founded Computer Professionals Against the ABM, publicly challenging the Defense Department to a debate of the computing capabilities of the era. He was a past president of Association of Computing Machinery.

In 1981 he became a computer science professor at City College of New York, serving as department chair, where he continued to teach until his death.

He is survived by his wife, Helen Blumenthal; his seven children; a stepson; grandchildren, Marcus Carlin and Patrick, Wayne, Trista and Kenny Ballou; Lyn Broxson; Drake Fischer; Deuce Bahrenfuss; and T.J. McCracken.

Funeral services were held Aug. 2, in New York. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Daniel McCracken Memorial Fund, CCNY, 160 Convent Ave, Sheppard Hall 166, NY, NY 10031, Attn: Elena Sturman.

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