Spurgeon (Tim) Tyler
May 6, 1927-April 16, 2012
The Sea Ranch, California
Submitted by Martha (Dibby) Tyler
Spurgeon S. (Tim) Tyler died suddenly on Monday, April 16, 2012 just before his 85th birthday. He was a resident of Palo from the early 197Os until 1998 when he and his wife Martha (Dibby) Tyler moved to The Sea Ranch.
Tim was born in Baltimore, Maryland on May 6, 1927. He grew up in Baltimore spending summers on the Chesapeake Bay with his grandparents in Chance, Maryland on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The Tyler men “followed the water” dredging for oysters and trapping Maryland blue shell crabs. His father became captain of one of the last four- mast schooners used in trade with Latin America. When he was three, Tim’s father disappeared and he was told he had been lost at sea.
At the age of 12, Tim entered McDonogh School, a boys’ boarding school in Baltimore. He graduated in 1945 just as World War II was ending, enlisted in the Army and served with the Army Air Corps in Germany during the early occupation witnessing part of the Nuremberg trials. After completing his service in the Army, Tim entered the University of Maryland graduating in 1950 with a BS in industrial engineering. His varied career began with the Federal government where he worked in personnel for the Department of the Navy recruiting college graduates for government service. He left government for Southern Railway where he helped develop the first computer program to manage rail operations. The rest of his career was spent in the forefront of the new and vibrant computer industry. He became a program manager at IBM in New York and served as a vice President of the Singer Corporation. In the early 1970’s, Tim moved to California as an independent consultant, working on a major study for the National Bureau of Standards on how computer technology could improve community and education services using Jacksonville, Florida as a case study. He wrote reports for industry executives on the directions of computer technology.
He retired gradually and after years of visiting The Sea Ranch and experimenting with telecommuting, he and Dibby made the move to the coast in 1998. He read, wrote, walked, visited with friends and traveled, but most of all he read--everything from poetry to mathematics.
His son-in-law, Mark Ostrau says: “Tim’s life —both professional and personal-- was anchored in a belief in the power of knowledge and the desire to make knowledge accessible to others, from foundational work in computing and digital information to helping underprivileged children or those with special needs learn to read.”
Along with his wife, he is survived by his children Stephanie of Acton Massachusetts and The Sea Ranch, Marc and wife Beth of Cape Elizabeth, Maine and Eric and wife Angie of Las Vegas, Nevada; stepchildren Sandy Ostrau and husband Mark of Palo Alto and The Sea Ranch, Steven Blair and wife Haley Jackson of Long Beach. He also leaves his grandchildren John Tyler Kergil, Skylar Kergil, Heather Ostrau and Scott Ostrau.
He was predeceased by his first wife and mother of his children, Betty Lou Tyler, and is survived by his second wife, Judy Golub of Los Altos.
Any donations in Tim’s name could be to a local charity of your choice.