On Tuesday, November 30, 2022, Richard Van Blerkom, loving husband, father of two, and grandfather of four, passed away at age eighty-seven. An accomplished computer scientist, mechanical engineer, and inventor, Richard earned a bachelor's degree from Lafayette and a PHD at Harvard. He worked for IBM for over 30 years and authored numerous patents during that period. Among many other things, he was on the vanguard in the development of the FFT, an algorithm that reduces computations by orders of magnitude. That work was foundational to a multitude of applications still in use today, including finance, image processing, sonar, and many others.
Above all else Richard was devoted to his family. His was a life well lived, and he'd often describe himself as the luckiest man alive. A devoted father, he rarely missed a child's sporting event (and there were many). He enjoyed showing his family the world, delighting in taking his kids and grandkids on bi-annual trips to Europe.
Richard was best known for his generosity and incredible smile. He is survived by his wife, Elaine, children Joy and Lee, and grandchildren Claire, Brooke, Alexandra, and Daniella. The immediate family will hold a celebration of life for Richard in the coming days.