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Goodbye Yank2002

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It is with deep regret that I announce the passing of Andrew Skwara, PE
better known to those of us on the list as Yank2002. Andrew and I had been
friends for nearly 16-years. Although an infrequent participant on the List,
Andrew will be remembered by some of us as the founder of the Engineering
Bulletin Board Service (EBBS) - the first online bulletin board dedicated to
spreadsheet development for the structural engineering community nearly
twenty years ago.

Andrew started EBBS between 1982 and 84 (as my memory recalls), working with
an IBM XT (8086)computer with a "huge" 10-mb hard drive and operating at a
blazing 4.77 Mhz (or thereabouts). EBBS was the testing ground for
spreadsheet software as well as some of the most popular programs we use
today, including the Enercalc Library. Andrew's programs ultimately found a
home with PCA (as I recall). He attempted to establish a national Job board
for those seeking positions around the world as well as offering his EBBS
for the first Emergency Response Team program put into service by SEA of
Southern California. These were the days many of us waited patiently for
hours to get through the one line of EBBS that seemed always busy, so that
we could wade through dozens of spreadsheet programs and gain ideas of tools
we could create that would help us be more productive on the job. EBBS was
the site for latest engineering news as it became the pre-Internet site for
SEAOSC's Electronic Computations Committee (now called the Computers
Applications Committee). Although we were very limited by the low number of
computer literate engineers in the late 80's (not to mention even fewer with
modems), Andrews EBBS drew a large crowd from all over the world seeking
opportunities on his Job Board as well as from Academics interested in
developing spreadsheet applications.

Andrew was a friendly and intelligent man with strong convictions and ideas.
He was a few years either side of sixty years when we met, but appeared
probably twenty years younger. He was an intensely private individual who
discussed his family only with those very close. He was married and close to
his two older children. He liked the solitude of hiking and often took
Grisbee, his three-legged Lab mix. Grisbee never failed to amaze me as I
would bring my dog Jess (she's now almost eleven) to visit and Grisbee
"handicap" was never an obstacle. Grisbee died a couple of years ago and I
know that Andrew was deeply affected by the loss.

Those of us who knew Andrew understood him to be a man of often stubborn
convictions - sometimes this made it difficult for his family and friends to
understand the decisions he made. In the last ten years many changes
affected the quality of his life. He moved to Oregon, moved back to L.A.,
divorced, moved to Lake Tahoe and then back again. As I was friends with
Andrew and his wife, his divorce affected me most profoundly. I think that
the changes he was experiencing at this stage of his life placed some
distance between us, as the next few years brought a great many adjustments
to his lifestyle.

Andrews health began to declined around 1995. He lost part of his lung to
cancer - possibly due to the fact that he was a smoker, but also because
cancer took other family members from him (I believe he lost a brother to
cancer who lived in Poland).  He received a clean bill of health after the
surgery and this was the last time I had seen him as I visited while working
on a project in the L.A. area.

He moved to the Lake Tahoe area soon after, intending to retire again and
regain his health, but suffered a heart attack while hiking. His heart
condition would not tolerate the higher altitudes even after the surgical
implant of a pacemaker and defibrillator. He was forced to move back to
Southern California's lower elevation where he took up residence near San
Diego (I believe it was Solana Beach) to be close to his son. We last spoke
about a year ago and then a few times by e-mail. Although it sounded like
Andrew was coming to terms with his limits and with being alone he seemed
more content to be where he was.

Andrew Skwara was a complex individual, intelligent and strong willed. As a
friend, he was tremendously loyal and exceptionally supportive. It would be
a terrible loss if Andrew Skwara was not remembered for his tremendous
contribution to the structural engineering community as he was the innovator
who understood the direction computers would take engineers and started
construction in the early 80's of this infrastructure. The Engineering
Bulletin Board Service pre-dated all other Internet services for engineers
and I would hope that EBBS will be remembered as such. If there is ever a
history of the technological advancements in structural engineering, it's
our responsibility to remember that Andrew Skwara is acknowledged for his
important contributions.

I will miss you my friend. May you be in peace.

Dennis


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