Gary E. Fletcher

Gary Fletcher
I took this pic of Gary around 2002, I believe. Maybe 2001.

My friend Gary passed away. He was a great person and I was not a great friend. I will miss him.

He was one of the reasons that I started my career in computers. I met him at a computer club meeting at Mott Community College in Flint, MI. We spent a lot of time early on in the x86 days with early versions of DOS, Windows, and the first releases of Linux. He was among the most knowledgeable computer people that I have ever met.

He was a gifted systems engineer, software developer, and a great overall computing enthusiast. He embodied all that was fun about computing for the early era of home computing. He was an avid gamer, made original midi compositions, and published several freeware applications.

He supported himself, in small part, by providing technical support to his friends, family, co-workers, and small business. Mostly for a nominal fee. He did much more than he was compensated for.

He was a gifted chess player. I witnessed him win several tournaments, perform demonstration matches against 12 opponents simultaneously, and he developed software and hardware for computing chess applications. At the time of his death, he was a well ranked player and State of Michigan seniors champion in 2018.

2018 Michigan Senior Champion. Gary Fletcher
I was happy to hear that Gary had returned to organized chess. He was well-known for many years with the Michigan Chess Association

I’ll miss my friend Gary, whom I have many, many stories about and a great lot of love for.

Edit: 2/29/20 – Gary was very, very funny. When I think of something, I’ll drop back in here and write it up.

Here’s one:

Gary told of a health-related party, or some alternative medicine (likely a product promotional) gathering he was attending. The hostess asked him, “Gary have you ever had a high colonic?” Gary said he replied, “Oh no, I never drink.” To which the lady blinked wordlessly and wandered away.

Edit: 3/22/21 – Here’s another, in fact, enema-related story:

Once, we were eating at the US Coney Island on Dort Hwy and Bristol Rd near Flint, MI. He started telling me the story of his hospitalization following a motorcycle accident. He went into great detail of his being in traction and not being able to move. He was impacted, apparently at some point, and described in great detail the enema procedure. “That nurse was thumping that tube with her finger as hard as she could… it felt like it was connected to my spine!” and how the removal process was like, “She was trying to start a lawn mower!” Needless to say, the couple behind Gary in the adjacent booth left, and the couple to our right moved across the restaurant. Sometimes, he was less self-aware than even me, or at least pretended to be for the effect of humor. Sometimes he knew exactly what he was doing.

Now, mind you… the story was less about the fact that he may have been in hospital and may have been in some sort of situation with a nurse and an enema tube, and more about the fact that they were giving us the stink eye as we smoked. They were seated in the smoking section, but were not smoking themselves. Gary was a dedicated tobacco enthusiast. Unapologetic, and militant toward even the slightest hint of smoker shaming (for lack of a better term).

He told that story to make them squirm as if the smoking was not bad enough.

I’ll keep dropping stories here as I think of them. Hopefully, they won’t all be enema-related stories. They might, however. In the meantime, I’m archiving his website, for storage here. After that is complete, I’ll let the admins know that he’s passed.

Edit: 9/13/21 – Here’s a story that is (finally) not related to the digestive tract in some way.

Back in 1996 (I believe) I went to a Microsoft conference of some kind. It might have been related to Windows NT, or maybe it was Visual Studio. There were many giveaways, the 90’s were resplendent with branded SWAG: pens, pencils, planners, cups, mousepads, stress balls, calculators… and countless other things that populate thrift stores and landfills now. I grabbed 2x of whatever they had and gave the other half to Gary.

Among those things Microsoft had a small little watch / timer on a lanyard. I mean it was tiny, about the size of a quarter and about 1/2 inch thick. For some reason, it had an alarm that went off every 12 hours. Which was fine, though he never figured out how to shut it off… and then he lost it somewhere in the house. It would beep about exactly five times, from wherever it was and then go silent for the next 12 hours.

This doesn’t sound like much of a problem, until you think of a very high-pitched beep, only sounding for a few seconds, and from an impossible to determine location. It drove him nuts for about 3 years until the batteries finally died in it.

He never did find it and I don’t know if his family found it after cleaning his house. I would have loved to have had that miserable little charm… it had provenance.