Friday, April 21, 2017

Harry Huskey, a pioneer...

Harry and Nancy Huskey. computer science, died at age 101.

Now, because of his gender, Mr. Huskey's name just narrowly misses being my Name of the Day. But the professor emeritus at the University of California, Santa Cruz married not once, but twice, and each of his wives, as well as his three daughters, would have had the ignominy of making my other list of the Most Unfortunate Name of the Day. From his New York Times obit (my emphasis):

He earned a master’s and doctorate in math at Ohio State, where he was a teaching assistant in geometry. His best student was Velma Roeth, and they later married. She wrote about computers and assisted her husband in creating computing centers in India and other developing countries. She died in 1991. His second wife, the former Nancy Whitney, died in 2015.

In addition to his son, Dr. Huskey is survived by three daughters, Carolyn Dickinson, Roxanne Dwyer and Linda Retterath; five grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.

While there's no shame, of course, in a man being named "Huskey," it's not exactly an ideal moniker for a girl or a woman. Imagine his daughters on their first day of school each year:

"Hines, Joe?"


"Hodges, Bill?"


"Huskey, Carolyn?"


"Did I get that right? Carolyn Huskey?"

[Class erupts in laughter.]

Or, what if someone wanted to fix one of them up on a blind date?

"She's really nice, a great cook and a marvelous dancer!"

"Really? What's her name?"

"Roxanne Huskey."

"No thanks."

The good news, though, is that each of Huskey's daughters apparently got married, at least judging from their last names, so they didn't have to go through life with that "unfortunate" last name.

No, I think what must have been worse was the experience of his two wives. Imagine them after a few dates with Mr. Huskey.

"I really like him," thought one. "I could see marrying him some day. Let's see . . . Velma Huskey. Yikes!"

(As if Velma wasn't bad enough.)

So both of Mr. Huskey's wives had to live out the rest of their lives with the "unfortunate" last name of Huskey.

"I was thinking, Harry, what if I just kept my maiden name?"

Oh, well. (They weren't the only ones.)

Now, about the fact that both Mrs. Huskeys died before their husband is an entirely different question altogether.

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