I am saddened to report the passing of William J. Jones, my long-time colleague at Designer Software, this week. I knew Bill for 39 years, at various times as a boss, as a friend, and as a business partner.
Bill and I spent many enjoyable years building software that helped designers create woven textiles and surface patterns.
Bill's particular genius was using various branches of mathematics (set theory, number theory, Euclidean and fractal geometry, to name a few) to generate patterns that were not just beautiful and intriguing in their own right, but that could also be manufactured efficiently on modern looms and fabric printing machines.
Working with our long-time client, noted menswear designer Jhane Barnes, we helped bring colorful and original shirts and sweaters to life, along with interior fabrics and carpets of great distinction. She was our first paying customer (she bought a very early copy of WeaveMaker in 1992), and through her continued support and encouragement, enabled the company to grow and prosper. While most of our time was spent hard at work on software, we also enjoyed our many weekends spent at Jhane's house, where we got to know her husband and her dogs (affectionately "the kids") quite well.
In more recent years, as Bill eased into retirement, he shifted his attention to contract bridge, a game he not only loved, but played with exceptional skill. He wrote extensively about the game, with an emphasis on telling funny stories about bridge hands, with the goal of helping players at all skill levels remember how to bid and play hands. Bill didn't like the often overly baroque bidding systems currently in favor, and felt that through his short stories he could bring the game to life for all players, and help them easily remember how to get the most out of their hands.
Bill had a wonderful, and quite dry, sense of humor. I always enjoyed the twinkle that lurked in the corner of his eye. He loved puns. When he glanced at a word, he seemed to instantly see all the permutations of its letters, which made him a whiz at anagrams. He loved a variety of puzzles. And oddly, he had a seemingly infinite capacity to remember people's birthdays. I could mention any day of the year to him, and he would identify a family member, colleague, or acquaintance born on that day.
I miss Bill.
- Dana Cartwright