(Ed. Note: The bar at the top isn't a working image map. It's just preserved here so that the look of the original page is preserved.)
Derek Bacon was a giant of a man, both physically (he was fond of telling people that he was six-foot-six, both vertically and circumferentially) and intellectually. He had more sheer information on more technical subjects at his easy and comfortable command than any other three people I've ever known, and he had more fun there, too. Ask anybody who knew him, and they'll tell you that Derek's favorite toy was between his ears.
Derek knew pretty much everything about pretty much everything, and what he didn't know He'd say, "I don't know! Let's find out!" His intellect was ceaselessly, tirelessly, voracious, and abbhorred a vacuum more than nature itself. A gap in his own knowledge, he would leap to fill, with gusto and enthusiasm; he attacked and enjoyed new knowledge as a hungry man will approach a good meal. His interests extended from computers to science fiction to music from "bleepy techno" to the classics to Japanese animation to drama (as a student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, he appeared in numerous plays, becoming a staple performer in "New Voices" productions) to politics and religion.
He viewed each of them through a particular perspective that was uniquely his own.
Teaching thoroughly and vividly, he was equally quick to fill a gap in the knowledge of others. He was, with very good reason, the "voice" of UltraNet Communications, Inc., communicating with our customers via the "ultranet.general" newsgroup and tech-support e-mail. Between the two, he probably taught as much about internet communications to as many people as a fair-sized college computer-science program, and did it with a rare grace and cogency. He communicated complicated ideas succinctly and with flair, leaving the customers he'd helped with knowledge and confidence, far more than merely solutions.
He was another giant as well, though, a gentle giant of laughter, kindness and friendship.
His family fondly remembers a Thanksgiving day, not too long ago, when he was found sitting on the floor, playing "Barbies" with a nine-tear-old niece who'd found no other playmate.
The laughter is, though, for those of us who knew Derek, the truly defining quality. Derek's friends used to not consider a day with Derek complete unless they could "break" him. Making Derek laugh was no great accomplishment anybody could get a laugh out of him but the real joy of amusing Derek was to so thoroughly tickle his fancy that he simply leaned back and hooted helplessly. That's the Derek we remember best, the Derek our mind conjures when we think of him.
In the end, the sentences are simple to form, and impossible to comprehend:
Derek Bacon died on Monday, December 16th, 1996. He was 25 years old.
"To give you an idea of the sort of fellow Derek was, here's a picture of him demonstrating the 'Ricky Moose, Champion of Good' super-hero pose." --Benjamin D Hutchins
By Jonathan Sheen.