Remembering Andrew Fluegelman

filed under: This and That posted on May 20th, 2012

You know how there are people in your life that are always seeking, always learning and discovering?  You connect on a variety of levels and share your enthusiasm over new discoveries? Together and separately you seem to travel some of the same paths and love comparing notes?

One such person in my life has been Andrew Fluegelman.  We first met in the late seventies through Stewart Brand (of Whole Earth Catalog fame) at the Coevolution Quarterly in Sausalito.  Andrew shared many of the same interests, from environmental awareness and sustainability to sailing.  We met again in the early 80’s in Marin county where we were both involved in the software business and very active in the early days of personal computing.  I also managed to get him sailing in SF Bay on Hanalei Express, my Santa Cruz 27.
I remember how effortlessly our conversation ranged from PC’s and software to sailing and solar power.  There were no boundaries to the topics we enjoyed discussing, tacking back and forth across the city front and back over to Tiburon and Angel Island.  We didn’t have to talk about how to sail the boat, that came easily and quietly.

Andrew died tragically in 1985.  His car and a suicide note were found at the north tower of the Golden Gate bridge.  My understanding was that he had a terrible reactiion to the medication he was taking for a serious medical condition.  It was an incredible loss, for me and for many others.  At the time he died Andrew was the founding editor of PC Magazine, which is where he achieved most of his fame.   He also wrote a software program for the original IBM personal computer called PC Talk.  It was one of the first “shareware” programs.  He gave it away and made some pretty good money from it.  In 1985 I spoke at a memorial service for him and was one of the few people there who knew Andrew from before his life in personal computers.   At the time I said that I was sad not to have Andrew around anymore, not just because he was a kind, warm and loving person, but because I would always be curious to see what he would be up to next so we could compare notes.   Who knows, maybe someday I would have run into Andrew up here in Sonoma County?

PS I know this hasn’t much to do with Sonoma County real estate, but I wanted to share this video recently uncovered.  It was made in 1987 at a celebration of Andrew’s life.  There is also a decent recap of that life here.

And there is a strange tie to my real estate business.   A couple of years back I was at a home inspection in Healdsburg. While we were waiting for the inspector to do his thing, my clients and I were having a comfortable talk. They are from San Mateo and were  buying a weekend home in Sonoma County.  For whatever reason, I don’t know how it came up, it turned out that they had named their son after Andrew.  I think Bob used to race with him on San Francisco Bay.  Again Andrew made such an impact for good on the people he knew.  We still miss you Andrew!

posted by Pam Buda // Comments Off on Remembering Andrew Fluegelman