Mark Grundler, 63

Mark W. Grundler, 63, of Portsmouth, died Friday, at Southern Ohio Medical Center.

A native of Springfield, Ill., he was born March 26, 1944, to the late Richard Albert Grundler and Genevieve Elizabeth Clark Grundler.

Mark spent his first years in Springfield, while his dad was in England, during WWII. Being an Army brat means traveling the world, and Mark's childhood was no exception. Newport News, Va.; Phillippines; Japan; Fort Belvoir, Va., and Fort Leavenworth, Kan., all hosted Mark and his family before their settling in San Antonio, Texas, to spend his formative teenage years. It wasn't long before he was off to Europe, where Mark graduated from Orleans American High School in Orleans, France, in 1962.

After traveling for a while, Mark found himself at William Penn College in Oskaloosa, Iowa, his first stay in the state he referred to as home. Returning to visit his parents in Washington, D.C., Mark took a career-changing course in Unit Record Equipment at American Institute, in which he received his certificate in 1965 and discovered his true passion in life.

From there, it was back to Iowa and Indian Hills Community College at Ottumwa, to earn an associate's degree in 1967, in the new technology of computer programming. He mastered such leading-edge programming languages as Assembler, Fortran and COBOL, all while teaching the college's course on Unit Record Equipment.

Mark entered the workforce at University of Iowa as a computer operator. He recalled running the IBM 360-65 computer and supporting the administrative system.  Notably, he and staff members were charged by Dr. James Van Allen with running the programs that analyzed data from the satellite Explorer 1, which showed Earth was surrounded by a series of nested shells of trapped particle radiation, later named the Van Allen Radiation Belts. 

After a brief military tour in the Pentagon (1968-1970), he returned to spend four years at University of Iowa as lead programmer at Regional Computer Center, finding time to teach Fortran as an adjunct faculty member.

In 1974, Grinnell College, in Grinnell, Iowa, named Mark the associate director of Computing. He quickly was promoted to director of Computer Operations and director of Administrative Computing. While serving in this capacity, he worked with the likes of Robert Noyce (co-founder, Intel Corp.) and Steve Jobs (co-founder, Apple Computer), who called upon Mark as members of the board of trustees.

Mark left Grinnell College in 1982, to become the director of Computing at Palmer College in Iowa. It was there his career with the DEC VAX was launched. Having worked with its predecessor, the DEC PDP, he became an expert on this computing platform and soon was lured to Millsaps College as director of Computer Services in Jackson, Miss., where he worked from 1988 until 1992, leading the migration of their computing center to VAX technology.

Shawnee State University hired Mark in 1992, for his expertise in the DEC computing platform. Mark became the university's "go-to guy" for all things POISE and VAX. He blazed the trail through the birth of the Internet in the 1990s and positioned the University Information Systems department well for the future distributed computing paradigm.

Mark had a long and valued history with Digital Equipment Corporation and the computer users group DECUS, having served on the Executive Committee, the Education SIG and as chair of the Publications Committee. While with DECUS, Mark came to know Ken Olsen (founder, DEC). It was through this professional organization Mark connected with Shawnee State University.

Mark is survived by his fiancÚ, Beverly Schackart of Stout; one son, Christopher Paul Grundler and his wife, Ashley of Grinnell, Texas; two daughters, Amalia Linda Kathleen Szava-Grundler and Alexandra Genevieve Gabriella Szava-Grundler, both of Portsmouth; and a twin brother, Clark Grundler of Fort Worth, Texas.

In addition to his parents, he also was preceded in death by a sister, Linda Marie Grundler.

Funeral services will take place at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008, at St. Mary's Catholic Church, with the Rev. Ted Machnik officiating. Interment will be in Greenlawn Cemetery. Friends may call at F.C. Daehler Mortuary Company, Monday, 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. A wake service will take place at 8 p.m.

1/13/08

 

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Mary's Catholic Church, 524 Sixth St., Portsmouth, Ohio, 45662.