LeRoy Finkel

"I may not always be right but I am never uncertain!" That was LeRoy's favorite phrase and he used it frequently. Vendors, teachers, and administrators all admit they sought his help because they knew they could count on LeRoy to give advice with a twinkle in his eye while still being brutally honest. When told that he couldn't attend cocktail receptions given by those vendors whose materials were being reviewed by state committees he served on his reply was, "If they think they can win me over with food, they're wrong."

LeRoy's other favorite phrase was "believe it when you see it." His insistence that he had to try the product first forced many manufacturers to improve their products to really meet the needs of their education customers.

In the earliest years of PCC, LeRoy was known as the "straight man". Whether it was in the newsletter, the early magazine, or the books they published, LeRoy figured he had to play the role of the "accountant" and the "educator grounded in reality." His collaboration with Bob Albrecht and Jerry Brown led to the series of books on BASIC that ended up being modified for nearly every version of BASIC on a PC in the 70's and 80's. We even had illegally translated copies of this book from around the world in our collection. LeRoy's favorite story about the early PCC newsletter was the open letter from Bill Gates in which he reminded folks that the paper tape copies of the OS they got from Bill was not free and they should pay $8 for the tape!

When CUE (Computer Using Educators) was formed, LeRoy didn't really want to be on the board of directors. Instead he volunteered to edit the CUE Newsletter. For years his FYI column was gossip central. The standing bet was that LeRoy had to pay someon a quarter for every piece of information they knew that he didn't know. I never saw him pay out a quarter!

After LeRoy's death on November 13, 1993, emails poured into me, telling me how much LeRoy had influenced these individuals lives. Many of these folks had never met LeRoy personally; they only knew of him through his writing. For those of us whose lives were personally touched by him, we will never forget him. As his friends said on the evening of his death, LeRoy knew that his wisdom could now be carried on by others.

Sue Talley (aka Mrs. LeRoy Finkel)

Last Modified: Tue May 15 15:16:43 2001