By John Janette Jr, Lindel Computers and Technology
Once in a millennium, we are blessed with someone with extraordinary genius. The 20th century saw the birth of Steve Jobs. Most know of his rise to fortune because of Apple Computers, which he set up in his parents garage, with his friend, Steve Wozniak. From such humble beginnings we now have the Mac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone and iPad.
Lesser known is a little company he purchased from George Lucas. This company was called Graphics Group. We now know it as Pixar, with notable films such as Toy Story and Cars. One other company that many do not know about is called NExt. This was developed after Steve was fired from Apple in 1985 by the board of directors because of “creative differences”. Ironically it was the new CEO who pushed for this ouster. He was hired by Steve Jobs. Thankfully, NExt basically saved Apple a decade later. Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy and Steve was brought back in 1996. The operating system developed by NExt was used as the blueprint for OSX, which has been used since. One side note is that the World Wide Web was developed on a NExt computer, so what you are able to read here was made possible by that. Everyone owes a debt of gratitude for what he has brought to the world of today.
Much has been written about Steve’s professional life, but we know little of his personal life because he wanted it that way. The most fitting tribute can be attributed to his sister, Mona Simpson. She gives some insight to the personal side of Steve in a eulogy she read at his services. I cannot put the whole eulogy here because of space constraints, but will do my best.
By MONA SIMPSON
” I remember when he phoned the day he met Laurene. “There’s this beautiful woman and she’s really smart and she has this dog and I’m going to marry her.” When Reed was born, he began gushing and never stopped. He was a physical dad, with each of his children. He fretted over Lisa’s boyfriends and Erin’s travel and skirt lengths and Eve’s safety around the horses she adored. None of us who attended Reed’s graduation party will ever forget the scene of Reed and Steve slow dancing. His abiding love for Laurene sustained him. He believed that love happened all the time, everywhere. In that most important way, Steve was never ironic, never cynical, never pessimistic. I try to learn from that, still.
I remember my brother learning to walk again, with a chair. After his liver transplant, once a day he would get up on legs that seemed too thin to bear him, arms pitched to the chair back. He’d push that chair down the Memphis hospital corridor towards the nursing station and then he’d sit down on the chair, rest, turn around and walk back again. He counted his steps and, each day, pressed a little farther. Laurene got down on her knees and looked into his eyes.
“You can do this, Steve,” she said. His eyes widened. His lips pressed into each other.
He tried. He always, always tried, and always with love at the core of that effort. He was an intensely emotional man.
He told me, when he was saying goodbye and telling me he was sorry, so sorry we wouldn’t be able to be old together as we’d always planned, that he was going to a better place.
Steve’s final words, hours earlier, were monosyllables, repeated three times.
Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them.
Steve’s final words were:
OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.”
Mona Simpson is a novelist and a professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles. She delivered this eulogy for her brother, Steve Jobs, on Oct. 16 at his memorial service at the Memorial Church of Stanford University.
Rest in peace Steve.