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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Chuck Geschke, father of desktop publishing, dies at 81

Dr. Geschke had a way of “looking around the corner”, which was said by Adobe’s current chief executive Shantanu Narayan. “Civilization is all about written material,” he said. “Chuck and John brought it into the modern era.”

Charles Matthew Geschke was born on September 11, 1939 in Cleveland. His mother, Sophia (Krrish) Geschke, worked as a paralegal for the Cleveland bankruptcy court. His father, Matthew, was a photograver who helped prepare the plates needed to print newspapers and magazines.

Matthew Geschke often told his son that two things should be avoided: the printing business and the stock market. For some time, Chuck Geschke followed his father’s advice.

Roman Catholic arose, he attended a Jesuit high school in Cleveland and joined the Jesuit Seminary after graduation. But he dropped out before the end of his fourth year. He often said that he and the Jesuits had come to a mutual decision that the priests were not there for him.

While building Latin buildings while studying in high school and madrasa, he enrolled at Xavier University in Cincinnati and earned a degree in classics. He then stayed for a master’s degree in mathematics, before working as a professor of mathematics at John Carroll University, a small Catholic university in Cleveland.

His life took another turn in the mid-1960s, when he asked a struggling student to leave the university. The following year, the student told him, “The best thing you ever did was kick me out.” The student had found a high-paying job selling computers for General Electric, and he soon taught his former professor how to write computer programs on the large-scale mainframe machines of the day.

Amid simple programs, Chuck Geschke wrote that there was a way of printing envelopes to announce the birth of his daughter over the summer. After a long time, he did not enroll as a Ph.D. A student in the new computer science department at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, one of the first in the country.

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