gus Baird's Birthday

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Annie I. Anton

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Aug 4, 1994, 2:16:30 PM8/4/94
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"It will be pleasing to us to remember these things hereafter."

Today would have been gus Baird's 52st birthday. What follows is a collection
of mail that I have received with comments about gus, stories about gus,
stories that gus told his students, and those infamous colorful quotes of
his. Thanks to all those who shared their thoughts. I hope they bring as
much cheer to you as they did me!

-Annie Anton

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Message 99/175 From Jeffrey A. Groves Jul 26 '93 at 9:20 pm gmt

Gus was my advisor the last couple of quarters before I graduated, and
my prof for my assembler class.

He definately had a way of helping you keep your chin up and see the bright
side of life.

Jeff G.

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Message 106/175 From gt6...@prism.gatech.edu Jul 26 '93 at 9:25 pm edt

Quote "Like my old army leutinent used to say, 'Ain't nothin'
simple when you're doin' it for real.'"

Story:

" I was riding my motorcycle to Tech on some back roads up in north
Atlanta. These were nice curvy roads and I had 'em down so I knew
in what gear and at what RPM the tachometer had to be to take the
curves. One day I was driving and I heard a "ping." So I stopped,
looked at my spokes. You know, something gets in your spokes and
you're gone. Nothing. I looked at the tires. Nothing. I
looked at the engine. Nothing. I looked at the spokes again.

I took my helmet off and ...

There was a brown smudge on the top. I looked around and they
had moved the telephone poles in real close to the road so when
I leaned into the curve ...

Heh Heh. It made a ping. An inch either way and it's a totally
different outcome. "

That is as good as I can remember it. I home I haven't munged the
details.

Drew

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Message 107/175 From Keith Edwards Jul 26 '93 at 9:49 pm edt

Hi Annie,
I TA'ed for gus for a year and a half (ICS 2601). I wish at the time that
I had written down everything he said that was funny or profound; there
definately would have been enough to fill a book.

[deleted misc. stories for brevity ... all off which were included in
the eulogy I posted earlier ... thank you Keith! ]


I remember once when the VAXstation lab was first set up. I was complaining
that the machines were monochrome. Gus immediately replied, "Color's for
end-users." Typical gus quote... (And by the way, he always wrote his
name "gus," not "Gus" (lower-case "g")).

Gus was definately the best *teacher* I had in my career at Tech, and also
the best advisor. He really took the time and honestly cared about each
of his students.

-keith

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Message 108/175 From David E. Pope Jul 26 '93 at 11:00 pm -240

"...and if you don't think that the coding of the Read statement is
much to look at, I'll stick it up on the wall over there and make
you stare at it until you _DIE_!!!"

- gus, on the complexity of Pascal

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Message 112/175 From ROBIN R. MURPHY Jul 27 '93 at 1:16 am edt

Gus Baird was what I think of as an "everyday" prof. Not everyday
as in ordinary. Everyday as in every day he showed his love and
respect for his students. Long after we finished his freshman
courses, he would remember our names, our interests, and dreams and
stop US to ask what we were doing. And when I'd tell him about my
latest project or groan about my workload, he'd just smile with that
knowing smile that said "See? I knew you'd be doing something
hard and worthwhile and interesting." Those seemingly everyday
casual encounters have influenced me, and others, for the better.
The world is a lonelier place without Gus and I pray that I can
have half the impact on my students as he did on his.

Robin

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Message 115/175 From ZOBEL,ROBERT DAVID Jul 27 '93 at 2:02 am edt

Gusisms:

This is my all time favorite:

"If you aren't better programmers than me when you graduate then
I haven't done my job. "

David Zobel
A better programmer because of Gus Baird (1411/2601/2301)
gt4855a@prism or gt4855a@cc

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Message 123/175 From Paul Goodwin Jul 27 '93 at 10:23 am edt


"I'm telling you, that sucker ran like a strip-ed ape!"

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Message 125/175 From Keith Edwards Jul 27 '93 at 11:35 am edt

One other thing that I remember is that gus still had his Rat Cap from his
freshman year at Tech. He kept it in his office. Man that thing was OLD and
it really had some mileage on it. But he was proud of it and I thought it was
cool that he kept it around to show to students.

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Message 126/175 From Glenn R. Stone Jul 27 '93 at 11:56 am edt


"..... the way God intended it....." (as in, the Right Way to do something)

"Don't whoops your cookies when you see that..."

"A gentleman is someone who never unintentionally offends anybody."

Whenever an eraser would end up chalkier than the board, he would fire it
over in the corner, eliciting a large cloud of chalk dust....

-- Glenn Stone (gle...@eas.gatech.edu)
ICS '90

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Message 121/122 From Lisa Moore Jul 27 '93 at 1:33 pm -240

Annie-

I remember as a freshman in 1411 I went to him with a problem I couldn't
figure out. My program wouldn't compile. So I go into his office and
he looks at my program and says "What did you do?" So, showing my inexperience,
I say, "I added comments and now it doesn't compile." He looks at me with
that look like "do you realize what you just said". Then the obvious hits
me. Misplaced bracket. Boy did I feel stupid. As I try to exit gracefully
from his office, he begins making comments allowed, "You freshman. You're
like young horses. We put you in a fence with enough padding and you still
manage to hurt yourselves..." Then I hear a BIG laugh as I'm walking
down the hall. I'm going to miss that laugh.

lisa

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Message 119/122 From Kurt Stirewalt Jul 27 '93 at 1:07 pm -240

Back in the old days, when we still used the pyramid, Gus had the strategy that
any student who could break out of the freshman shell should report to him.
Well, after chastizing said student for quite some time, Gus would give them
a pyramid account (typically pyramid accounts were only given to GRA's or
GTA's). The man could recognize talent and inspiration when he saw it, and
rather than try to punish creativity, he let it flourish. The man was a god.

-- kurt.

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Message 137/175 From The Corinthian Jul 27 '93 at 4:56 pm -240


"You don't have to be faster than the bear, you don't even have to
be fast as the bear, all you have to be is faster than the slowest
guy running from the bear."

That, is so like Gus.

Of all the things that I remember him by, I remember his quotes most of all.

Bin

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>From gt5...@prism.gatech.EDU (Lawrence Drew Davis)
Newsgroups: git.humor
Subject: Gus
Date: 26 Jan 93 01:15:05 GMT

POEM Gus, The CS Cat;
(* from G.P. Burdell's Book of Practical Profs *)
(* set to music by Donald, Lord WEBer *)

BEGIN

Gus is the cat at the 1410 door.
His name, as I ought to have told you before,
Is really Augustus, but that's such a fuss to pronounce
We usually call him just Gus.

His coat is quite snappy, his hat is quite neat.
His tales of "big iron" keep you glued to your seat.
He was in his youth quite the smartest of cats,
And now he's a terror to Tech freshmen (the "rats").

But he isn't the hacker he was hacking PR1MEs,
Though his code was quite infamous - he says - in his time.
And whenever he joins his friends at their club,
Which takes place in the depths of the neighboring pub,
He loves to regale them (while someone else pays)
With anecdotes drawn from his balmier days.

Polynomials large, of the highest degree,
He's derived, solved, added, stored in rebalanced trees.
He likes to relate his GOTO-less calls
In state machines studded with tricky pitfalls.
But his greatest debugging, as he loves to tell,
Was binary FORTRAN subroutines gone to hell.

"I've debugged, in my time, every possible PROC,
I've cross-compiled seventy languages ad hoc.
I'd extemporize hashes, raw disks I'd de-frag,
And I'd flawlessly 'cat>>' to implement bags.
Circular queue handling, from head to tail,
With tail-end recursal, I never would fail.
My data compression could triple tape carts."

Undisputed master of programming arts!

If someone should give him a toothful of gin,
He'll tell how he hand-built /usr/bin.
For profiling performance he disdains prfstat,
But when the code runs, hold on to your hat.

"And I say, now, these freshmen, they do not get trained,
As we did in the days when Assembler reigned.
They never get drilled in big project groups,
And they think they are smart just to iterate loops. (Hah!)"

And he says, unifying another Horn clause,
"Programming is certainly not what it was.
Yacc grammar productions are all very well,
But there's nothing to equal (from what I hear tell)
The command-line history when I cracked the mystery
Of binary FORTRAN subroutines gone to hell."


END. (* Gus, The CS Cat *)


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Message 169/175 From Steve_Cla...@CRD.lotus.c Jul 28 '93 at 2:13 pm edt


I never had gus for any classes and hadn't interacted with him too much, but I
appreciated what he meant to the people who did get to work with him, and I was
saddened by the news. I only dealt with him twice: the first time was when he
signed my drop slip for ICS 2201 ("At least you got a free look at it," he told
me), and again when I needed my degree petition approved. But I always knew
that if I really needed help dealing with the administration or anything, he
would be the one I would go to.

I know he'll be sorely missed there at CoC, and my sympathies go out to you all.
Steve

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Message 175/175 From Vernard Martin Jul 28 '93 at 12:17 pm -2240

I got this today. I figured it should go to you instead of to me since you
were collecting gus stories.

"Jonathan Newton writes:"
> From NEW...@arecibo.aero.org Wed Jul 28 12:14:53 1993
> Message-Id: <1993072816...@burdell.cc.gatech.edu>
> Date: 28 Jul 93 09:02:00 PST
> From: "Jonathan Newton" <NEW...@arecibo.aero.org>
> Subject: Gus
> To: "vernard" <ver...@cc.gatech.edu>
>
> Vernard,
>
> My name is Jonathan Newton. I'm David Newton's twin brother and the
> brother of Chris and Greg Newton (we all had Gus at one point).
>
> David e-mailed me about Gus, and he said that if I had a message for the
> Baird family, that I should send it to you, so here goes:
>
> I remember one time in CS 1411 when Gus was having trouble with a
> transparency. He had just marked on it with a permanent marker, and after
> realizing it, he desperately tried to wipe it off.. he wet it, but it
> still didn't come off... I told him he could use some of my white-out if he
> wanted... He looked at me for a second and said : "You need not show up to
> the final..."
>
> - that was Gus....
>
> At the final, he would call out our names and then we would go up to the
> front and get our tests.. when I went up there, he said "So, are you the
> LAST one?" (referring to the fact that I have 3 brothers that had him also)
> I told him I have some nephews.....
>
> I don't like the grade he gave me, but I sure liked him - and will miss
> him.....
> ------
>
> Jonathan M. Newton
>

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From: ca...@cad.gatech.edu (Gayle Casey)

I met Gus in ballroom dancing class. I remember thinking what a
wonderfully friendly person he was right from the start. He was
a pretty capable waltz-er, too. He was certainly the picture of
a Renaissance man....he will be sorely missed.

Gayle

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git.general #3196 (20 more)
From: gs...@prism.gatech.EDU (Glenn R. Stone)

The first time I saw gus, he reminded me of Indiana Jones. My initial
assesment wasn't too far off. While gus was never known for being mild
mannered, his tales of what he did while not indoctrinating freshmen were
far more interesting. He was a horseman, patriot, gunner, and above all
a gentleman, as well as a scholar. He believed in maximum security and
minimal fuss, and taught all these things to his charges, including me.
He was a living example of the fact that you don't have to have a PhD.
to know what you're doing. And how he got up in the morning and made it
to his office before 7am all those mornings, I'll never know.

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From: ver...@forge.gatech.edu (Vernard Martin)
Subject: Re: GUS BAIRD -- SAD NEWS
Date: Sun Jul 25 12:32:59 EDT 1993

fre...@cc.gatech.edu () wrote:
>Prof. Gus Baird, a long-time instructor in the College of
>Computing and its predecessor, and a Georgia Tech alum,
>died suddenly on Saturday, July 24, apparently of a massive heart attack
>(as you may have known, he had a life-long heart condition).
[lines deleted for brevity]
>The world is a better, richer place because Gus Baird lived -- he gave back
>much more than he took.

Good night sweet prince.
And may a chorus of angels sing you to your rest.

You were the best and I I was proud to call you friend.

Vernard Martin

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From: gt2...@prism.gatech.EDU (Dante)
Subject: Re: GUS BAIRD -- SAD NEWS

I didn't know gus well, but he was never anything
but kind to me. Whenever I saw him, he had a smile on
his face. He was always quick with a joke, but seemed
to be the kind of man who knows when and how to get things done.
I always made a point of seeing him come advisement time,
even when he would chastise me for signing up for
"only" 19 hours, or his amazement at the fact that I could find
4 meaningful classes to take summer quarter.
He was one of the most kind people I have met in the
short time I have been at Tech, and I deeply regret that I
never had the oppurtunity to take one of his classes.
He will be sorely missed.

dante

--
"I guess you could design a logical contortion that would let you get
to the "end.", just to avoid something that has the flavor of the
the infidel "goto". Me, I have trouble with religions that make it
*that* hard to get something virtuous accomplished." -Gus Baird

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From: gt1...@prism.gatech.EDU (das Fez)
Date: Mon Jul 26 18:41:07 EDT 1993

The hardest class I've taken was CS 1411. I took it winter quarter last
year. I got a C in it and I'd do it all over again if I could. Never
before had I known a man so dedicated and energetic as Gus. In some classes
here at Tech you have a hard time not cracking your head open against the
desk when you fall asleep. Gus, on the other hand, could hold his class
mesmerized. I've never learned so much so fast while having so much fun.
I loved his stories about the military, OS/360, and his handball opponents.
I'm crushed by the fact that I won't see him again when I take 3450. He was
truly a Renaissance Man, and he will never be forgotten by a single one of his
thousands of students.

John Butler
CmpE Student

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From: gt6...@prism.gatech.EDU (Albert Chen)
Subject: salute to gus
Date: Tue Jul 27 02:48:03 EDT 1993

It's hard to believe that today, we will all be attending gus's memorial. I
was still planning to take more classes under him; they were things to look
forward to. I am grateful I was able to take him for 2760 and 1411. He is
the greatest professor I have ever seen. He knew how to get you motivated and
always made us feel like we were all in it together.

2760 and 1411 were great classes to have gus as a prof too. In 2760 he told us
stories about the machines that were built "the way God intended," and in
1411, if anything, he taught us all the right "attitude". When he said we would
get out of 1411 looking 5 years older he was right; I must've aged at least
8 years that last week.

He was, and always will be, the greatest.

albert chen

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From: gt4...@prism.gatech.EDU (David Zobel)
Date: Tue Jul 27 23:45:22 EDT 1993

I guess I would also like to add a story that happened today. I was
eating lunch with two other CS students and we were telling old gus
stories. Then one of the guys mentioned that one thing he thought was
neat about gus was that he was respected by just about everyone who
had met him. It is sort of rare for a prof to be respected so highly
by both his peers, and his students. I immediately responded with
something I have felt from day one with gus. I believe this respect
comes from the fact that gus respected everyone the minute they walked
in the door. You could walk into 1411 as a freshman who knew nothing
and gus would give you respect as both a student and a person. When
he lectured he didn't talk down to his students, he conversed with them.
He told them stories and how he had done things, and expected the
students to respond likewise. He was never afraid to learn from a
student. I alway admired gus for this, and he quickly became my
favorite prof. I wish I had gotten a chance to know him better. I
especially wish he could see me graduate this September. He taught
his students how to be a professional in life, as well as at work.
I will miss him greatly, but his memory will always be with me. He
taught me a lot.

David Zobel
gt4855a

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Message 119/129 From Robert L. Howard Jul 30 '93 at 9:03 am -240

Here's one I remember Gus telling.

He was called in by the DOT to help debug a problem with the
computer they were using to hook to a sensor on the road. They
had put this sensor on a stretch of highway to monitor traffic
volume and speed. But it seemed that a portion of the traffic
was getting clocked at something like Mach 10! Nobody could
figure it out. So Gus drove down to the sensor site and did a
little observing. It seemed that the local sheriff would sit
on that stretch of road and try to pick up truckers driving by
that were overloaded. When the truckers would come over the
rise and see the sheriff's car they would stop, back up, and
then turn down an alternate road.

It seemed that the sensor would register this backward speed
but the number was being stored by the computer as an unsigned
int!

The moral was as scientists and engineers we always needed to
keep in mind real world realities when working on a problem.
In the real world people back up sometimes...

Not particularly funny, but if you can imagine Gus solving
the problem, ragging on the people who caused it, and then
telling the story as an object lesson....well, it's definitely
Gus.

Robert
--
| Robert L. Howard | Georgia Tech Research Institute |
| robert...@matd.gatech.edu | MATD Laboratory |
| (404) 528-7165 | Atlanta, Georgia 30332 |

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Message 120/129 From Michael G. Goldsman Jul 30 '93 at 9:26 am edt


Well. I don't know if this story is good enough for the collection...
Its not really a story, but just my first experience with gus
which set the tone for the following years!

I was a green freshman in Sept 87 trying to get some credit
transferred (i.e. exempt out of 1410)... I was directed to go talk with
gus. I remember distinctly the first time I saw him: Sitting in a dark
room, neck craned and eyes dangerously close to a big old Green Vertical
monitor. (I think Harvey Reed was standing behind him too! was that
his name? The old 1411 TA??)

Anyways.. the program he was working on was in an infinite loop
and he was in the process of debugging it.

I made my case to him to substitute a Pascal class I had taken at a
different university for 1410. My effort was futile, of course, and gus
said to me: "Anyone can learn a language... Here, we teach you how to be
scientists."

They were great words of wisdom.

One other funny quote I remember is when I was sitting in a 1411
lecture... gus was talking about the "good old days" of the OS/360.
Particularly, he was describing how unreliable it was and said:

"That thing went up and down more than a... Well... it went up and down a lot."

Filling in the appropriate obscene remark was left to the imagination
of the student. The class broke in laughter up for a good five minutes.

I am often thinking of him and the way he always seems to light up a
room by his raw energy.

-Mike

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Message 122/129 From David Zobel Jul 30 '93 at 10:45 am -240

Now for some Gus stories:
I had gus for 2601 the first quarter that Coc was completed. Anyway,
our class was in the building across from the EE building (Bunger Henry, I
think). It was on the top floor which could only be reached by four flights
of stairs. The first day of class (fall quarter) he walks in with his rat
cap and proclaims (I'm paraphrasing, but this is pretty close) "Didn't we
just build a new damn building to avoid this crap !" I laughed
hysterically.
My two favorite gus speeches are one's I personally get a lot of
mileage out of. The first was from 2601 when he talks about assembly
language programs. I took 2601 after I had programmed in assembly for
my co-op job. Gus said that assembly language programmers are like people
who like to drive stick shifts. They really don't trust the automatic
transmission, and besides they think they can do it better themselves.
Also, there's nothing quite like feeling the gears grind. I love this
analogy because I love to program in assembly, and I have a stick shift.

The second analogy I use all the time is the one about fried chicken.
Gus said that in 1411 his job was to tell us how to cut up a chicken. Our
mothers fried chicken is recognizable because she breaks it at the joints.
You can tell if it's a breast, or a thigh, or a wing. However, when you go
to Kentucky Fried Chicken you have no idea what your getting because they
just hack up the chicken with a knife. Gus said that in 1411 his job was
to show us where the joints in the program are so that we would cut it up
correctly. I use this story to fend off EE majors saying "Anyone can program".
I basically respond, yea but I can program WELL.

David Zobel
gt4855a@prism or gt4855a@cc

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Message 127/129 From MCINTURFF,KEVIN LEE Jul 30 '93 at 12:49 pm -240

Annie,

One story that you may or may not have was one of the most memorable moments
of gus style. When in file systems (use to be 2301? can't remember) there
was a lecture on different storage media. For this lecture, gus brought
along a disk pack, a single plate (surgically removed somewhere along the
line, and a tape reel. When he entered the part of the lecture dealing with
the use of tape, he desribed the x-inch leader that was part of tapes. He
described that the leader was used with the tape because it was subject to
being 'folded, mutilated, stapled, etc.'. As he described this, he slowly
spooled out enough tape to reach the ground, and when he reached the
'mutilating' part of the lecture, he began jumping up and down of the exposed
tape with both feet, it a rather graphic demonstration of why the leader was
necessary. Makes quite an impact.
news reader program I have been using is not fully functional yet. On the
subject of a memorial for gus, I love the hat idea, but if it turns out that
this is not feasable, I have an additional suggestion. I remember from his
old office in Rich a photo he had framed of a bus stop apparently found out
in the middle of the woods. I believe the description he offered was that
it reminded him of Narnia. (Bear with me, it was about 5 years ago.) I think
a lamp post in a grassy spot (always lit) might serve as a suitable memorial,
with significance beyond the connection with gus' photo.

Thanks,
Kevin McInturff

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Message 128/129 From Arnold Robbins Jul 30 '93 at 2:03 pm -240


I had met gus back in the early to mid-80s when I was a grad student here
and also worked in what was then the ICS lab. He and I had some good
discussions about religion, as I'm an orthodox Jew, and he knew a lot
about Catholicism (we had more good discussions when I came back to work here.)

I had been gone from Tech ~ 5 years before I came back, and like the first
or second day he saw me, and then he saw the wedding ring on my finger! Was
he happy! He gave me a hug, and said something to the effect that he was
as happy as my parents must have been to see me married off.

The best things about gus were that he wasn't afraid to learn anything
new, nor was he afraid to say what he thought. He was always cheerful.
Thousands of undergrads think of him when they think of GT.

Arnold Robbins --- College of Computing

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From: an...@cc.gatech.edu (Annie I. Anton)
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 1993 02:39:44 GMT

Here's some of my gus stories ...

Way back in 1986 I had gus for 1411 in Skiles 237. As you all know gus
always had multimedia presentations (he used many overhead slides and
covered the chalk board completely). One day he had filled the chalk
board and couldn't find an eraser to erase the board with. So he looked
over at the trash can on the other side of the stage and low and behold
there was an old book satchel (the old fashioned kind with a big flap and
two buckles and a nice long strap to hang it off your shoulder with) in the
trash can. gus walked over (while still lecturing ... he never stopped
lecturing while erasing the board or changing slides etc) to the trash
can, grabbed the khacki colored canvas book bag and proceeded to erase
the board with it! The whole class almost died laughing. And he just
kept right on lecturing while erasing as if it was a real eraser and he
was completely oblivious to the roaring laughter! That's not the funniest
part though ... the funniest part was that for several weeks or months
after that day, we'd see gus walking across campus to class using that
old khacki book satchel that he pulled out of the trash can and erased
the board with that day ... he used it proudly to tote his lecture notes
to class. It was an absolute riot. If you think this story is too far
fetched, then ask Vernard .... he was in the class too!

Another day in the middle of lecture gus wrote the following in the middle
of the chalk board:

TANSTAAFL

We were all completely puzzled, baffled, and proceeded to look through
our textbooks and class notes to figure out what TANSTAFFL meant when he
asked us if anyone knew what it meant. He had us going and guessing for
about 5 minutes and then he suddenly said "There Ain't No Such Thing As
A Free Lunch" And we couldn't stop laughing ... if anyone else did this
to his students it wouldn't be funny ... only gus could do something
like that and only gus would have thought to do it.

gus used to drink a Diet Pepsi every day when we used to be back in the Rich
building. Except I remember he never called it "Diet Pepsi", he called it
"Diet Poopsie" and we'd frequently hear him say "it's time for me to drink
my Diet Poopsie".

gus would always walk into class with his Diet Poopsie and before popping
the top open, he'd religiously pull out his handkerchief and clean the
top of the can off. Just one of those little things that he did that
I've never forgotten.

gus' office in the CoC never was quite able to capture the spirit of gus'
office back in the Rich building. He had a window in his office which
he proudly showed us. We'd look out the window and all we'd see is the
brick wall of the next building 1 inch away from the window pane. And
he'd proudly tell us the history of the buildings on the hill behind the
library. And of course we all listened intently because gus was the
greatest story teller of all time.

gus had the light off on his office 75% of the time. And when it was off,
he'd have this one tacky lamp on with a hideously green dragon base.
You may have seen it in his office in the CoC ... it's on his filing cabinet
to the right of his desk. For those of you who've been around a while
I'm sure you remember it. gus also had a couch in his office. When he
got tired of hacking, he'd close the door and take a nap.

I remember gus used to smoke. I'm not quite sure I remember when he
quit smoking but I know he didn't smoke after his by pass surgery. gus
used to go outside and sit on the brick wall outside the Rich building
(between Hinman and Rich) to smoke everyday. And I remember giving him
a hard time about it!

gus used to play his saxaphone on the sidewalk outside the Rich building
... he'd set up a music stand, have his hat on and fire away ... there's
a picture in his office for evidence! Kurt Stirewalt once heard him playing
his sax in his office at like 2 or 3 in the morning!

At my graduation in June of '92 (master's degree) gus saw my Dad in
the student cntr ballroom at the pres' reception and he came running
across the room, gave Dad a BIG bear hug and picked him up off the
floor ... Dad's twice as heavy as gus! It was quite a sight to see.


I remember gus telling me stories about how when he was in undergrad at
Tech he was on the fencing team. And most of the guys on the team
were Cuban. Most of his friends from the fencing team died at the Bay
of Pigs. He used to go over to Havana Cuban Sandwich shop once a year
to pay tribute to his fellow fencers. I think I'll start going there
once a year myself to pay tribute to gus.

-Annie Anton

******************************************************************************

Message 136/175 From M. Adam Feder Jul 27 '93 at 4:20 pm -240


I didn't know gus for as long as some others, but he affected my life
(quite positively) nonetheless. I know I'll never be able to forget him.

AdaM

******************************************************************************

Message 138/175 From Kishore Ramachandran Jul 27 '93 at 4:59 pm -240

Subject: that was really touching
To: ver...@cc.gatech.edu
Cc: an...@cc.gatech.edu

Vernard,
While the suddenness of Gus's death affected me, the impact of his
death never hit me until I heard you and Annie speak. My heart
felt heavy as I listened to you both and there were tears in my eyes that
I struggled to control, but at the same time there was also the
lightness as I realized that Gus's life was not wasted!

Thanks,

Kishore

******************************************************************************

Message 151/175 From das Fez Jul 27 '93 at 10:41 pm -240

Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1993 22:41:44 -0400
To: an...@cc.gatech.edu
Subject: Re: Gus-isms
Organization: Georgia Institute of Technology
Cc:


"Boy, you knew it was a snake before you picked it up!"

Once, when in the Textile auditorium, when did the Mighty Gus activate
the automatic motorized overhead screen, and lo did it make a rumbling
diesel noise as does an old PC XT floppy drive, he shouted to the masses,

"Looks like there's a little gravel in the gearbox!"

Thousands more I can't recall, Ms. Anton, but I will look in my old 1411
notebook because everytime I laughed I wrote down WHY.

John Butler
oder das Fez

******************************************************************************

Message 160/175 From ROBIN R. MURPHY Jul 28 '93 at 10:31 am edt

I passed your comments about gus onto a friend who did his undergrad
at Tech and is now a prof too. Here's what he said:


Fitting... I remember some of his quotes (or at least will think of him as
having said them from now on) and I certainly can remember his voice and
that hat... as a professor one can certainly do worse but not much better
than him.


Robin

******************************************************************************

Message 161/175 Jul 28 '93 at 10:42 am edt

Hi Annie,
I've been thinking about this for the past couple of days and I thought I'd
run it by you and get your opinion before talking to the Dean or anybody.

I was thinking about how much gus has influenced so many thousands of Tech
CS alumni and current students; at least for me he sort of personified
Georgia Tech CS when I was an undergrad. And I know he was a role model for
many many students over the years.

I was also thinking about how our building doesn't really have a name other
than "College of Computing Building" (I guess the old AECAL name is no longer
in use). What do you think about the idea of starting a movement to get the
building renamed to the "William Augustus Baird Building" or "William Augustus
Baird College of Computing Building" or something like that?

I really think that we'd be hard pressed to come up with anyone more appropriate
to name the building after. Gus had such an influence on so many people. And
I bet the alumni would love the idea.

Anyway, I just wanted to bounce the idea off you. Tell me if you think it's
silly or too grandiose or whatever.

******************************************************************************

Message 162/175 From Hrivnak Jul 28 '93 at 11:26 am -240


I never knew gus too closely, but the times that I did go to his office,
I always ended up longer than I had planned. He always had such great stories
to tell. Even though I received a C in his class, I will never forget
what a great lecturer he was. He will be missed, and I thank you for
sharing that for those who could not attend.

******************************************************************************

From: gt8...@prism.gatech.EDU (Cott Lang)
Date: Wed Jul 28 00:01:51 EDT 1993

In <106...@hydra.gatech.EDU> gtd...@prism.gatech.EDU (Jeff Garzik) writes:

>In <106...@hydra.gatech.EDU> gt2...@prism.gatech.EDU (BROWNING,CHRIS SHERMAN)
writes:
>>On a similar note, why doesn't someone organize a fund for some type of
>>memorial plaque or something for him? Atleast a tree in his honor?

>No - we need something more Gus.

We need a bronzed PDP-11.

******************************************************************************

From: gt1...@prism.gatech.EDU (das Fez)
Date: Wed Jul 28 11:49:31 EDT 1993

In article <106...@hydra.gatech.EDU> gt8...@prism.gatech.EDU (Cott Lang)
writes:
|>We need a bronzed PDP-11.

inscribed with the source code to OS/360.
The inscription would be in either 7 point Courier or 9 pin dot-matrix.

das Fez
RIP gus Baird

******************************************************************************

>From wal...@scepter.gatech.edu Mon Aug 2 10:53:16 1993

The most memorable quotation I have from him is the "ours is the medium
of pure thought" line, talking about computer science.

The stories I have I'm sure I've told you, about him picking the lock on
the physics stockroom and playing handball while I was taking a final.
That's not original to Gus, BTW. It may have been Oscar Wilde, but I'm not
sure.

-SwR

******************************************************************************

>From ku...@cc.gatech.edu Mon Aug 2 12:13:25 1993
Subject: Another gus'ism according to tulkster.

>From mi...@rapids.austin.ibm.com Mon Aug 2 10:03:54 1993
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 93 09:03:50 CDT
From: mi...@rapids.austin.ibm.com (Mike Tulkoff)

Hey man,

I'm sorry to hear that ol' Gus died. He was a good man and a REAL programmer(tm)
through and through. Did I ever tell you the story about my visit to Tech
after I was accepted, but before I had selected which college to go to?
I was wandering around campus and somehow found the Rich building.
I figured, "well, I should probably go to the administrative offices, they'll
know what to do with a recruit". Well, not knowing what to do, they said
"Hey, we know who you should talk to", and promptly showed me to Gus Baird's
office. Gus knew what to do. He invited me in, sat me down and just started
talking. He even told me a story about him and those damn tanks of his and
how he drove one down the streets of New Jersey as part of an ERC (now GTRI)
project. I enjoyed talking with Gus and he got me excited about the program
at Tech. I guess that he can be considered a factor in my decision to
go to Tech. I'm sure that there are plenty of other Tech alumni out there
that were once kids sitting in Gus's office while he spun homilies and talked
about computers. He'll be missed. I told him not to eat those damn bars
of cream cheese whole, but he didn't listen. I guess stubborn men make good
programmers.

-Mike Tulkoff

******************************************************************************

>From gt6...@cc.gatech.edu Mon Aug 2 16:28:05 1993
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 1993 16:28:01 -0400
From: Amy Marie Jacoby <gt6...@cc.gatech.edu>

I used to co-op over at GTRI for Gene Weaver, who used to play handball
with gus. I'm sorry that I did not think of talking to Gene about the
memorial service after I heard the news, but I plan to visit him this
week. Once I asked gus if he remembered Gene and gus said "That stocky,
sneaky Weaver? I used to run for my life from him all over the handball
court!" Gene had many, many stories about gus.

Maybe Eric wrote you about this, but just in case, here is another:
After Eric decided that he'd like to forgo architecture for a career and
prepare for grad studies in CS, he went to see gus for advisement. gus
told Eric to "take 1410, 1411, and 2201 and see me in the morning."

gus said in my 3450 class once that he had two different types of advice
to give whenever someone asked him if they should buy an ibm or an ibm
clone. He said that if they were not a Tech student, he'd recommend the
ibm for ease of having it serviced. He said he'd tell any Tech student to
buy the cheapest clone available, because if it broke, all you'd have to do
is "go stand in the middle of the quad with your broken pc and 100 propeller-
beanie types will scramble to be the first to fix it right there." I really
wanted to wear a propeller beanie to my final for that class.

In fact, I took that final during the blizzard. Two of my sophomore friends
in the class and I picked up a snowball on the way since we were early and
I took a picture of Ben (Combee) aiming it at gus while he was on the phone.
He laughed and told whomever he was talking to that "a few students just came
in my office ready for a good snowball fight." The picture isn't that great,
but I have it (black and white) somewhere.

These may not be the most spectacular gus stories, but they are a few of mine
and they stick out in my mind along with my fond memory of gus. I wanted to
share them with you. He is the one professor that made such a great impression
on me that I described his lectures and antics and personality to my father,
telling him that gus was someone he would really like and admire if he ever
got the chance to meet him. I think everyone feels that way about gus.

Amy Marie Jacoby
am...@prism.gatech.edu
College of Computing
Georgia Institute of Technology

******************************************************************************

>From gt6...@cc.gatech.edu Mon Aug 2 16:41:49 1993
From: Amy Marie Jacoby <gt6...@cc.gatech.edu>
Subject: a short story

Annie,
I just thought of a short gus story... He was discussing C and the fact that
!= in A != B; ("bang equal" to him, of course) did not look like "not equal" to
him. He said that he thought it looked like A was VERY equal to B.

Probably lots of students have heard that one. I laugh every time I think of it.

Amy

******************************************************************************

>From ver...@cc.gatech.edu Sun Aug 1 15:08:44 1993
Date: Sun, 1 Aug 1993 15:05:07 -36803936 (EDT)

Heh. That reminds me of gus' old .plan file that he used to keep on the
pyramid. It said:

"To be a gentleman. A gentlmen is someone who is never unintentionally rude.
---------------

Notice that he had the underline in there. He stopped using it after the
pyramid went away and I never did find out why. I always thought that it was
the easiest way to explain gus' personality. :-)

******************************************************************************

From: Arnold Robbins <arn...@cc.gatech.edu>
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 1993 09:26:44 -0400
To: an...@cc.gatech.edu (Annie I. Anton)

I don't doubt that any former student he hadn't seen in 10 years could
walk into his office and Gus would remember his/her name and greet him
with a huge smile. The epitome of an educator, never a "professor".

The suggestion's been going around on the local newsgroups to name the COC
building for him. I think it's an excellent idea.

Arnold

******************************************************************************

From: am...@cc.gatech.edu (amir)
To: an...@cc.gatech.edu
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 93 9:42:14 EDT

Annie,

Thanks for sending me gus's eulogy. The ultimate impact we can make in
this world is on people. A handful of people may read our papers, very
few of us are Edisons or Bells. But the knowledge, skills and fortitude
we can impart, may be tremndously meaningful to people's life. I can
see beyond doubt that gus had indeed affected his students' lives with
wisdom, warmth and love. He was a special man, and you are lucky to have
been his students.

-- Ami

******************************************************************************

Date: Tue, 3 Aug 93 22:56:28 EDT
From: ke...@cc.gatech.edu (Keith Edwards)
To: an...@cc.gatech.edu
Subject: more gus stuff

Hi Annie,
Since you seem to be the curator of gus stories I thought I'd send you this.

I got this from a friend of mine, Henry Strickland, whom you may remember. He
got his undergrad and masters from Tech, and used to hold the record for
longest continuous enrollment in the CS department (I recently beat his
record :-)

Most of this is a compilation of stuff posted to git.general, but there is
some new stuff.

-keith


----- Begin Included Message -----

Date: Tue, 3 Aug 93 19:45:37 PDT
From: str...@osc.versant.com (henry strickland)
To: strick-...@osc.versant.com (strick-...@versant.com)
Subject: The man who wanted nothing more than to teach.

>>> Prof. Gus Baird, a long-time instructor in the College of
>>> Computing and its predecessor, and a Georgia Tech alum,
>>> died suddenly on Saturday, July 24, apparently of a massive heart attack.

I was out of the country and off of the net when I received the sad news.
Thanks to everyone who emailed and called.

Some of you remember my act of indiscretion on git.general right before
I left for California -- I complained obnoxiously and arrogantly about
something that turned out to be gus's work, and he followed up, flaming
me as thoroughly as I deserved. I went straight to his office,
expecting him still to be furious with me, but he greeted me with a
huge gus hug, and laughed at me, as I learned my lesson.

If I had not remained in California at Versant after my summer internship
here in 1989, I would have been teaching for gus in the fall quarter, his
"punishment" for my mistake. I really regret missing both the chance to
teach and the opportunity to learn teaching from the master, gus.

strick


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Subject: Eulogy for gus
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1993 09:54:04 -0600
To: ge!odonnell%odon...@uunet.UU.NET, br...@audiofax.com, str...@versant.com
From: larry....@carnegie.gatech.edu (larry curtin)


This is the eulogy which I read at gus Baird's memorial service
this afternoon. Please note that gus spelled "gus" with a lowercase 'g'
not an uppercase 'g'.

-Annie Anton

===========================================================================


William A. Baird

gus

August 4, 1942 - July 24, 1993


There's a tendency to make much of professors who impact us in
a dramatic way. Without realizing it, we all relied on gus to be the
"everyday" prof. The one who always said hello, always smiled, never
pulled punches or was particularly politically correct. The one who
just did neat things and tacitly expected everyone else to be capable
of doing great things. gus was a true master of the day-to-day stuff
which is so important and often times, unfortunately, overlooked.

gus touched each of our lives in a unique way. And, we will each
remember different things about him.

Maybe we'll remember that he jogged everyday,
or that he was at school by 6:45 every morning,
or his big smile,
his funny hat,
his stories about HIS life as a student at Tech,
his crooked finger which he injured while playing handball,
his rat cap,
and of course, who could possibly forget his knickers.

Some might remember him for the colorful things he used to say such as:

"Like my old army lieutenent used to say, 'Ain't nothin' simple when
you're doin' it for real.'" and

"If you aren't better programmers than me when you graduate then I
haven't done my job." and

"I guess you could design a logical contortion that would let you get
to the "end.", just to avoid something that has the flavor of the
the infidel "goto". Me, I have trouble with religions that make it
*that* hard to get something virtuous accomplished."

Some were astounded by gus' eating habits. Keith Edwards once saw
him eat a block of cream cheese with a pocketknife for lunch. Nothing else.
Of course, his favorite suppertime meal was the "Russian Infantryman's
Dinner:" boiled cabbage, a sausage, and an ice-cold glass of vodka.

If you were to complain to gus about the lab machines being monochrome,
he would immediately reply,
"Color's for end-users."

If you were to ask him to go over the use of the debugger, he'd reply
"What do you want with a debugger?! You only need a debugger
if you write code with bugs in it!"

gus was notorious for his coding stories from the "good ol' days":

Being able to tell which loop an embedded computer in a tank
was in, by the amount of heat that it put out (it was under
the footrest).

and

Optimizing code by knowing how long each instruction would last,
and ordering the instructions on the drum memory so that just
as each instruction would complete, the next would be under the
read head.

gus was present at a meeting that Dr. Crecine had with students in
Techwood dorm. Dr. Crecine asked for input on how the computing
environment at Tech should be improved. gus jumped up on top of a
table and shouted (in reference to Cyber):

"Just get rid of that big iron bogeyroller!"

I'm not sure what a bogeyroller is, and apparently Dr. Crecine didn't
either. I'm told he had a sort of confused, stunned look on his face.

All of these stories (or gus-isms) remind us of life as a student in gus'
class. But what about gus the man, the professor, the advisor, our
friend.

I had the pleasure of knowing gus for 7 years. I truly loved him. He
was always very kind and had a profound impact on me in undergrad.
Last night I pulled out my transcript to count how many times I withdrew
from Calculus, Physics, and Combinatorics. gus signed six pink parachutes
for me. And the thing I remember most from each of those interactions
is the fact that he never simply signed and sent me on my way. He sat
me down and said "Oh no Ania, (as he's always called me) not again!
What can we do? Is it the coursework? Are you taking a heavy load?
Do you need a tutor? Is there anything I can do?" He was always genuinely
concerned about his students. As a professor and as an advisor, that was
his main interest: his students.

I remember visiting gus at the hospital the day after his by pass surgery.
Imagine my surprise when I stepped in his room and found him sitting up
in a chair going through his briefcase of lecture notes. And then he
jumped out of his chair to greet me. I expected to find him groggy and
definitely idle. Not gus. He wasn't concerned about his surgery. He
was intrigued by it. What he was truly concerned about was his students.
How could they possibly make it through the rest of the quarter without
him? He had all the exams made up it was just a matter of the lectures.
He yearned to be back in the classroom ASAP. He was concerned about how
his colleagues in the College could manage without him. He wanted to be
back in time for Commencement. How could gus possibly miss a Commencement?

Ironically, gus visited my cubical for the first time ever last Thursday and
I showed him a picture on my wall of him, the Dean and I from graduation
last year. His picture will remain there and in every office I have from
here on out. The man who got me my first job interview. The man who
loved Cuban black beans. The man who wanted nothing more than to teach.

gus was a man who was truly loved by his students. I believe that gus was
like a surrogate father to all the freshman & sophomore CS students. He
was an excellent lecturer. People would go to his class just to hear him.
In the 1986 Course Critique, a student said he was the "best
lecturer on campus." And another said, "He was willing and able to answer
questions but seldom got any because his lectures covered most everything.
Baird was effervescent!"

Effervescent. How appropriate.

When I think of gus the man, I'll remember the man who showed me, with
pride, every new picture of his lovely daughters. The man who spoke of his
horses, of guns, of the military. The man who at one time had been
a seminarian.

gus lived each and every day of his life to its fullest and took great
pleasure in it. Let's remember how much gus poured into everything he
did, and try to do the same in our lives.

In the third book of Virgil's Aeneas,

Aeneas at the end of a successful campaign gathered all his trojan
warriors around him and delivered a noble and inspiring speech which
he closed with these words:

"It will be pleasing to us to remember these things hereafter."

Memories are such precious gems, but the kind of memories we have
depend not so much on the objective event as it does on ourselves.
The memories we all have of gus are unique and they will give us
inspiration in different ways.

It will be pleasing to us to remember gus. And today we've gathered
to pay tribute to a man who has left us with memories that we will
truly cherish for the rest of our lives.

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Newsgroups: git.general
From: fre...@cc.gatech.edu ()
Subject: GUS BAIRD -- SAD NEWS
Date: Sun, 25 Jul 1993 13:43:39 GMT

Prof. Gus Baird, a long-time instructor in the College of
Computing and its predecessor, and a Georgia Tech alum,
died suddenly on Saturday, July 24, apparently of a massive heart attack
(as you may have known, he had a life-long heart condition).
He was found at home and apparently died instantly. We anticipate having a
memorial service on campus -- an announcement will be made as soon
as details are known.

Gus was one of those individuals who cared passionately about everything
he did, leading him to live life to the fullest and enabling him to be
a truly contributing member of society in every way. He will be deeply
missed by his family, his thousands of students, his friends in many
areas of the community, and by us, his colleagues.

The world is a better, richer place because Gus Baird lived -- he gave back
much more than he took.

Peter Freeman
Dean and Professor

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I can't really add anything to what Peter said... mostly I'm sad for the
generations of Tech freshmen who won't have the experience of learning,
really LEARNING, from gus Baird...

--
Mark J. Reed <ma...@cad.gatech.edu>
Georgia Institute of Technology


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Newsgroups: git.general

Final arrangements for the memorial service for Gus Baird have been
made. The service will be held Tuesday [26 Jul 1993] at the
Wardlaw Center, Gordy Room, 3:00 p.m.

The service will include a time in which anyone who wishes to
say a few brief words in remembrance of Gus will be able to do so.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

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In the referenced article gt2...@prism.gatech.EDU (Chris Browning) writes:

>In <23103q$n...@cae.cad.gatech.edu> ca...@cad.gatech.edu (Gayle Casey) writes:

>>Has a memorial fund been setup in Dr. Baird's memory or is
>>there a charity where I can make a donation? I can't attend,
>>but I'd like to do something in his memory.

>On a similar note, why doesn't someone organize a fund for some type of
>memorial plaque or something for him? Atleast a tree in his honor?

As posted before, donations can be made to the American Heart Association
in his honor.... also, there is a feeling amongst some of us that we should
attempt to fund a chair in his honor. This is no small effort; it basically
takes seven figures to properly endow a chair. I'm crossposting this to
atl.general and ga.general to see what kind of interest there might be in
doing such a thing; if we get enough folk to throw in, we can do it. A million
bucks isn't nearly as big as it looks when a few thousand people are
sharing the load..... the trick is to get a few thousand people.

I'm going to go out on a limb here. Anybody interested in funding a chair
in gus' honor, even if ten bucks is all you can spare, hit "r", please
DON'T copy the article (to save space), and let me know. I'll repost here
when I think I have a definitive answer.

(Please make sure your "r" is functioning right; the reply should go
to tali...@netcom.com, not to anyw...@gatech.edu. This is a private
effort, and I've no interest in bombarding Tech spool space with it.)

-- Glenn R. Stone (tali...@netcom.com)
GaTech ICS '90
.sig at half mast


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Date: Tue, 27 Jul 93 12:30:19 -0500
From: Gene Spafford <sp...@cs.purdue.edu>

One last one on Gus:

>From the Atlanta J. / C. 7/26/93:

Obituaries
----------

William A. Baird
Ga. Tech professor

The memorial service for William A. Baird of Lawrenceville, a
professor of computer science at Georgia Tech, will be at 3 p.m.
Tuesday at the Georgia Tech Library.

Mr. Baird, 51, died of a heart attack Friday while jogging.

Surviving are two daughters, Alison Baird of Johnson City,
Tenn., and Andrea Baird of Lawrenceville; and his mother, Jimmie Baird
of Augusta.


Funeral Notices
---------------

BAIRD

Mr. William A. (Gus) Baird, age 50 of Lawrenceville, Ga., died
July 24, 1993. He is survived by daughters, Alison Baird of Johnson
City, Tn., Andrea Baird of Lawrenceville; mother Jimmie Baird of
Augusta, Ga.; special friend, Nan Griffith of Carrollton. Mr. Baird had
worked at Georgia Tech for the last 15 years and had served as a
computer science professor the last 10 years. Memorial services will
be held Tuesday, July 27 at 3 p.m. at the Georgia Tech Library. In
lieu of flowers, please make donations to the American Heart
Association. The remains have been cremated. Tom M. Wages Funeral
Service Inc., Lawrenceville, 963-2411.


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----- End Included Message -----

******************************************************************************


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
_ /|
\'o.O' "Sit down, be quiet, listen to your elders."
=(___)=
U "I have no hidden faults."
PTHFT!
ACK! - gus Baird
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
_ /|
\'o.O' "The depth of interest, sensitivity, and understanding is often
=(___)= much greater on an issue than one imagines judging only by the
U narrow bandwidth of most human communication."
PTHFT!
ACK! - Dr. Peter A. Freeman
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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