David Stemple (1937-2006)


David W. Stemple, 68, of Hatfield, professor emeritus of Computer Science and alumnus, died March 22, 2006 after a long battle with cancer.

Born in 1937 in West Virginia, he was a graduate of the University of West Virginia, where he earned his A.B. and M.S.

From 1960-66, he was involved in the development of compilers, operating systems and database management systems in industry including a stint at IBM, where he worked on what was known as the original Fortran compiler. In 1966, he joined the staff of the campus's Academic Computing Center, where he was associate director from 1971-81.

While working at the center, he studied for his Ph.D. in Computer Science, which he earned in 1977.

Three years later, he joined the Computer Science Department as an associate professor and was later promoted to professor. He chaired the department from 1994-98.

His research focused on the problems of developing complex database systems. He concentrated on the specification of database systems and the mechanical reasoning that is required to assure that specifications have their intended properties. His later work involved building the database theory needed in mapping specifications to effective implementations and development of a formally based means of developing flexible concurrency control schemes.

He was an honorary professor of computer science at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

Since retiring in 1998, he worked as an ornithologist concentrating on the song behaviors of certain montane thrushes from the Andes to the Alps. Working with Biology professor Don Kroodsma, he became a bird song recordist and developed a database system for the Macaulay Museum Library of Natural Sounds at Cornell University and for field recordists. His recordings are in the collections of Cornell University and the British Museum.

He was the model for the character Pa in the book "Owl Moon," written by his wife, Jane Yolen. Stemple was also the author of a children's book, "High Ridge Gobbler, A Story of the American Wild Turkey."

In addition to his wife, he leaves three children, Heidi, Adam, and Jason, and six grandchildren.