Introduction

Tragically, family and friends have lost a loving Partner and Father, a treasured Son, and one of the world’s most uplifting and wayward spirits. Daniel Baronet was killed in a vehicle accident on Nov. 1, 2016, poetically perhaps, while travelling down a desert highway in California, on yet another of his many profoundly inspiring adventures.

Daniel’s vast reach across the world was exceptional and multi-faceted. He touched and kept in touch with a remarkably large number of friends and family members. He participated for almost forty years as a vibrant part of a wide network of people united by a common technology, which we now call the “APL Community”. The foundations for this site were laid by members of that group, but we hope that all of Dan’s friends and family will find some comfort here. Please join us in paying tribute to, and remembering how privileged we were to know him.

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Adám Brudzewsky

Dan quickly became my mentor and most important Dyalog colleague. Without him, I would hardly have been successful here, as he got me up to speed on objects, SALT, UCMDs, and held my hand on the first baby steps into CRM.

Whenever I would get really stuck with an algorithm, I’d just call Dan.

Dan was an undisputed master of regular expressions, often coming up with very long and obscure regexes that we would only roll our eyes about. E.g., Dan submitted


('[^']*'|⍝.*$)?(?(-1)(*SKIP)(?!)|(?<![ ⋄:]) (:(?!in|ba)\w+))

to find malformed control structures. Geoff: – Does it find :if a :andif b ⋄ :endif ? – Dan: Of course 🙂

But Dan was so much more than that. He was a really close friend of my whole family. He was one of the few who managed to get close to my wife, and with his typical almost childish enthusiasm, he began teaching her such diverse subjects as French, APL, and skating.

My children loved being with him. In the summer, we went to a frozen yoghurt place together, and in the winter we went sledding and skating. Quite a few times, my wife came along when I went to Dan’s house to work. She would just hang out there, enjoying the mood. I can still hear him saying Ah, bonjour Leah, comment ça va?

We got to know some of Dan’s family. Linda came along with Dan for a Friday night Sabbath meal, and his daughter, Myriam, gave a load of her old teddy-bears to our children. My oldest son, Aaron, always has a little monkey attached to his backpack.

Dan’s family grew vegetables, and they would give us lots of delicious tomatoes and apples.

Others have mentioned Dan’s eagerness to use leftover food. However, he also had fine tastebuds. While he liked chocolate (and had a little bit of a sweet tooth), he disliked the mouth-feel of lecithin (which is added to most chocolate bars). Luckily, Kosher-for-Passover chocolate doesn’t have lecithin…

While Dan didn’t own a car, he embraced every form of transportation: walking, unicycle, bicycle, motorcycle 🙁 , car, plane, and helicopter.

While otherwise living on the bleeding edge of technology, Dan didn’t have a mobile phone. He would borrow the dentist’s phone, or simply walk over to the person he was seeking.

Dan was very handy. Often when I would show up at his house to work, we would be in the middle of some project. Installing the new dishwasher, breaking open drywall to search for mice, repairing a scooter or bicycle, etc.

Dan gave me his old bicycle for commuting to his house. He also fixed it for me, when needed. Even now, I use his UK cycle for commuting from the Dyalog House to the office.

Brian Becker

Dear friend, talented co-worker, adventurous world traveler, all around nice guy – Dan was all these and more…

I’ve tried many times now to write a fitting tribute to Dan, but I find that the right words escape me, so I’m left to share some thoughts and memories.

I’ve known Dan since the early 1980’s when we both worked at I.P. Sharp Associates (Dan in Montreal and me in Rochester).  We worked together in Washington, DC for several years at Legi-Slate in the 1990’s.  Most recently, Dan and I have worked together with Dyalog over the last 7 years with Dan again in Montreal and me again in Rochester.

Dan came to stay with us in Rochester to work with me several times a year.  When he would go out for his walks, he would take Colby (my dog).  Colby loved this and would camp outside of Dan’s room lest he sneak out without her.  Colby, too, is going to miss Dan.

Dan was a bit of a prankster and loved to see what tales he could get away with.  He would say things looking completely serious and wait for you to catch on that it was just a ruse.  Fortunately, I knew the telltale signs (most of the time) when he did this.

When Dan would stay with us, we occasionally took him to social events here in Rochester.  If there were kids present at the event, Dan delighted in chatting and kidding around with them and showing them magic tricks.  He was comfortable and friendly around everyone – young or old.

Fiona made mention of the “chicken broth incident”.  Dan had made chicken broth and stored it in a used milk container.  After pouring (a small amount of) broth on my corn flakes, I asked Dan if he was going to reuse milk containers like that, could he please label them so I knew they weren’t milk.  Next morning, I opened the refrigerator and there on the container was a Post-It note labeled “Not Milk”.  And yes, I did eat the corn flakes.

Dan and I would cook when we stayed in Basingstoke together.  He loved making French fries and had a very liberal interpretation of what spaghetti sauce consisted of.

On one of my early trips to Basingstoke, Dan and I were going to attend a British APL Association meeting in London.  We got on the bus to get to the train station.  Dan got off a stop earlier so that he could quickly pick up something in the mall in downtown Basingstoke and I remained on the bus.  There was construction around the train station and it wasn’t clear when I should get off the bus until Dan comes running up and bangs on the bus window next to me to indicate this was my stop thereby rescuing me from a public transport adventure.

Dan was concerned for my health and offered to match any diet I would go on as moral support.

Dan loved to teach, especially APL.  He was a gifted teacher whether it was one on one instruction or a presentation before a group.

I’ll miss the evenings at Dyalog House in Basingstoke when we would make dinner, have a beer or glass of wine, and watch Star Trek or Big Bang Theory or some random movie while sitting in the living room, laptops in front of us, working on some project or another.

Dan was my “go to guy” for regular expressions – anyone who thinks APL is unreadable hasn’t spent enough time around regular expressions.

I greatly enjoyed the times we got to work side by side except when he would listen to music with earbuds and then hum along softly, but loud enough to be distracting – that drove me crazy.

I was jealous when he mastered flying my drone in about 1/10 the time it took me.

I’ve lived vicariously through Dan’s Facebook posts.

There’s a hole in my world with Dan’s passing, but my world is also so very much fuller having been blessed to have Dan be a part of it.

Rest in peace my friend…

Andy Shiers

Dan was a gentle, clever and brave man. He had been to places and done things that most of us could only dream of, but very rarely did he raise his voice, and he was always patient trying to explain things to those who didn’t understand.

My most vivid memory is Dan taking me for a helicopter flight, and half way through the flight the sat-nav failed. We worked out where we were by flying low so that I could read the exit signs on the M4, and from there could work out where we were and therefore how to get back to Blackbushe airport.

In APL, his ability to break Dyalog was on a par with mine .. we used to exchange emails sometimes competing to see who had found the most horrible way of breaking Dyalog APL !

I shall miss him 🙁

Fiona Smith

Dan’s presence in the Bramley office meant lots of plastic Chinese takeaway containers in the dishwasher, not because he ate lots of takeaways but due to his obsession with not wasting food (Chinese takeaway containers were perfect for storing and transporting leftovers). Every day his lunch would be a weird and wonderful mixture of remains from the previous day/week, which he always ate with a look of enjoyment. Others exhibited less enjoyment when accidently stumbling upon Dan’s food-saving behaviour. I wasn’t there when Brian poured milk over his cornflakes only to find Dan had used an empty milk carton to store chicken stock, but I’ll never forget Roger’s face when he took an opened bottle of white wine out the fridge, poured himself a glass and took a large refreshing mouthful…of used cooking oil.

Dan was always polite and helpful and had a very understated sense of humour. He wasn’t perfect; he was sometimes infuriating to try to get answers from, and sometimes more than a tad idiosyncratic in his approach to changes to user commands(!). However, he was always willing to explain why things behaved the way they did and to listen to suggestions. He walked me through concepts I didn’t understand without patronising me, and evangelised for APL as APLSmith and APLTrainer on YouTube.

In my mind’s eye Dan always wore his purple Dyalog sleeveless zip-up top, although I’m sure that’s not the case. It’s how I’ll always picture him though. Wearing his purple top and asleep on the sofa in the kitchen to overcome his jetlag or humming away while he coded.

A charming and intelligent gentleman who I feel privileged to have known, albeit for too short a time.

Karen Shaw

Dan … where to start?

I will miss him … miss that twinkle in his eye when he was up to mischief, him humming along to his music (even with his headphones on), that purple fleece, creeping around him as he took a nap on the sofa in the office, his curiosity about everything, our battles over the wilted salad and dried up sandwiches that I tried to sneak past him and into the bin, our collaboration on the office calendar and our silly chats about all sorts of random stuff. Dan was a very kind and caring person who lived life to the full and was always up for a big adventure … when we last talked in Glasgow he was so excited to be touring around South America on his motorbike and it is a small comfort to know that he was doing something he was so passionate about when his time finally came.

Yes, I will miss Dan but I will also think of him fondly and smile and try not to be too sad.

Pete Donnelly

I have fond memories of Dan. Every time we met (i.e. every 6 months or so) he would greet me with a Καλημέρα in a far better Greek accent than I can manage.

Roger Hui

  • This is the second time I have lost an APL colleague and friend of similar age. (The first time.) It is a sad thing to realize you have to use the past tense.
  • My family visited Quebec City and Montreal in the summer of 2014. In Montreal we went to Dan’s house and had a nice sushi dinner with Dan and his wife Linda. After dinner, we had ice cream at a neighborhood shop.
  • We told Dan that in Quebec City, on the famous Plains of Abraham, we saw a hut labelled Salle de Fartage. For a few seconds Dan did not realize what we were laughing at. In French, the word is pronounced far-tage; my young daughter and I thought of it in English with the hyphen moved one letter to the right.
  • Dan wanted to be an astronaut. When he realized how strong was the competition (they had Ph.D. degrees as well as physical agility and dexterity), he went into other pursues instead.
  • One time, Dan tried to teach me how to drive a manual shift. He kept saying, “It’s easy; it’s easy!” I felt bad until I realized that of course he would say that, the man flies a helicopter. I hasten to add that my failure to learn to drive a manual shift was due to the qualities of the student and not of the teacher.
  • Dan needed a certain number of helicopter flight hours to maintain his certification. He offered to take me along on a flight. One time, he, Morten, and I actually went out to the airport but, alas, the flight was cancelled due to bad weather (or I should say, typical English weather). Too bad. I would have loved to fly over London at low level along the Thames.
  • Dan had an amazingly good sense of direction. He can depart on foot from Dyalog House into an open field and head unerringly towards the office in Bramley, arriving about an hour later (without trespassing on the nuclear bunkers along the way!). He found a shorter but non-intuitive pedestrian route on city streets from Dyalog House to the Town Center.
  • The Dyalog ’13 Conference was held in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Dan flew in, as did nearly everyone else, but he flew in piloting a small plane all the way down from Montreal. Afterwards he visited Ian Sharp in Florida before flying back to Montreal. The next year he and Rick Procter organized IPSA50, the 50-th anniversary reunion of I.P. Sharp Associates.
  • At Dyalog Conferences and User Meetings Dan interacted with the women from APL Italiana with an ease that I can only envy. I would tease him by saying, in a fake French accent, “You Frenchmen have a way with women, non?”
  • Dan was exceptionally open to new ideas, new adventures, new cultures, new foods. When he visited us in Vancouver we took him and his cousin’s family to a fine-dining Chinese restaurant and had a Peking duck dinner. (Real Peking duck, not the stuff served by the Basingstoke take-out. 🙂 ) Another time, I took him to the local Chinese cafe and had congee. Dan also ordered the clams in black bean sauce.
  • Given the previous item, it’s surprising that Dan did not have a cell phone. Or perhaps it’s another instance of his independent thinking?
  • A few years ago Dan mounted a video camera on one of Jason’s radio-controlled helicopters and obtained some unusual shots of the office from above. This was a few years ago, before civilian drones were a thing.
  • On one of my trips to the UK Air Canada managed to misplace my luggage. Dan “soothed the raging beast” in a typically helpful and practical way — by taking me shopping for clothes at a local Matalan shop. When Air Canada surprisingly delivered my luggage a few days later, I expressed my relief by blurting out, “It’ll be a relief to be wearing my own underwear!” Dan kindly refrained from responding with a smart remark and just grinned.
  • At Dyalog House Dan sometimes practiced riding on a unicycle. He also practiced juggling. (I’d thought that he learned to juggle from Jay, the better-known Dyalog juggler, but I am told that Dan possibly learned how to juggle before Jay was born. 🙂 )  I have not seen him juggling while riding a unicycle, but it would not be a surprise if he did.
  • Dan had a “brown thumb” in doing QAs. Not quite in the same class as Andy (who is?), but brown enough.
  • The Dyalog APL interpreter has special code to improve the efficiency of certain useful computations. In version 15.0, the current version, there is a “Dan Baronet special”: b⊥b is computed by special code motivated by Dan’s observation that it computes the number of trailing 1s in boolean vector b. With the special code, it is “infinitely faster”.
  • I see him even now, sitting on the sofa at Dyalog House after a day at the office, feet resting on the coffee table and laptop on his lap, a trashy rerun playing on the TV, programming still.

Kai Jaeger

Daniel Baronet has been my friend since we met in 2004 in Copenhagen, both working for SimCorp. He was one of the kindest and smartest people I’ve ever met, although it took me some time to figure out the smart part, because he never advertised it.

Always helpful, never ill-tempered, easy-going, a bi-lingual speaker, fluent in several other languages, probably capable of ordering a beer in 25 or more languages. He has visited many countries on this earth, interested in people, landscapes, cultures, towns, history, you name it.

He was a great APLer, and he was able to explain APL or Regular Expressions in a way that made the task look less daunting than it would have otherwise. In short: he was a great teacher.

He took care of me in Copenhagen once he figured out that back then my English was just not up to the task, and that was 25 seconds after we’ve met. Always patient he managed to correct me and help me out without patronising me. I owe him a lot.

We run together, the last time 4 years ago in Bramley, then his knee stopped him. He started unicycling then.

He flew aircrafts and helicopters all over the world, he was a juggler, and we played countless games of chess against each other. He is the only APLer who ever managed to beat me, and several times.

He was just an amazing guy, with a very impressive range of skills and interests, and extremely likable.

For many years he talked about his dream to go to (and through!) South America on his “iron horse”. He died fulfilling his dream.

I miss Dan, I miss him very much. For the first two days after I got the terrible news I kept listening to”Wish you were here” in an endless loop. Eventually I stopped listening, but I will never stop missing him.

Vibeke Ulmann

To me Dan was first and foremost a friend. His compassion with my illness, his always thoughtful questions about my wellbeing when we met either in Bramley, or most recently at Dyalog’16 in Glasgow, is what I will most remember and miss. I am privileged to also know Linda – his lovely wife –and we last met in Glasgow. My thoughts are with her and the girls more than anything. I had truly expected to be the one to leave this world first, and when I heard that Dan had been killed in a road accident in California, I was actually picking up cycle 44 of my targeted chemo therapy. I ran crying all the way out of the hospital to the car, where I sat in the carpark sobbing my heart out. Dan’s death is so unnecessary, so unfair, so unimaginable, so painful and too much to take in. I realise that my feeling of loss is nothing in comparison to the shock Dan’s departure leaves with Linda, his girls and the family. But I grieve never-the-less.

Many tributes will be paid to Dan’s work in the APL community and all his many contributions, ideas, and his uncanny ability to crash systems and find bugs. Other will express this much better than I can.

I will miss you Dan – more than words can express! But I take comfort in the fact that you left us whilst in the process of going on yet another big adventure – doing something that you loved to do. I’ll see you on the other side and we can compare notes then!

Sam Gutsell

Dan and I first met late one night in September 2012. I had just arrived at the Dyalog house near Bramley along with the other “Blind Mice”, when we were greeted at the front door by Dan who proceeded to help us bring our bags in and made us feel very welcome. We were in Bramley attending the Dyalog course (we had only started APL in August 2012) and we were invited to stay at the Dyalog house with Brian Becker, and of course Dan.

Dan drove us all in and brought us all back every day, he was always friendly and talkative. In the evenings, he would show us interesting code and things he had been working on and being so new to APL this opened my eyes to all its possibilities.

Over the years that followed, I had the chance to attend a variety of workshops at Dyalog conferences, some of which were led by Dan. The most recent of which was at Dyalog ’16 in Glasgow, where Dan went through several new features of Dyalog. He kept me captivated and motivated me to try them all out for myself. I feel that every time I listened to Dan speak about code or features I learnt something or I had something to take away from it.

Dan was a great man; friendly, intelligent, helpful and always passionate about what he did, be it code or any of his hobbies.

I feel very fortunate to have known Dan from so early on in my APL journey, and can’t help but think he had an influence on how I use and perceive the language, and for that I’m extremely grateful.

Dan is a huge loss to the APL Community and will always be remembered by each and every one of us.

Richard Smith

It has been a great privilege to have known Dan for the last eight years. He was a man with unlimited patience for both his students and his awkward co-workers (of which I was variously both) and a very unassuming man more interested in finding out about others than promoting himself. Once, when we were in Florida I asked him about his travels there and he casually told me he had flown in the previous day, before asking about my journey. Of course, I had assumed he had flown in on a scheduled flight in the same way I had and it was somewhat later that I discovered he had piloted his own plane. Only last month, when I pressed him about his time at IPSA, did I discover how varied his career had been and the number of countries he’d lived in while he pursued it. Dan was, however, passionate about APL and always had time to lend his expertise when it was needed. He loved to teach and I was fortunate to be present at what was to be his last Dyalog workshop just a few weeks ago.

Dan left a trail of forgotten and/or broken tech behind him. I have absolutely no idea how he managed to work for as long as he did on a laptop with a screen cracked from one corner to the other. The cleaners at the Dyalog house seemed genuinely concerned when he was staying because he apparently made so much work for them. His lunches in the office were legendary, consisting principally of leftovers and food well past its use-by date. In the end, it wasn’t the dodgy reheated food which took Dan from us, though I sometimes jokingly said it would be.

I shall remember Dan for his sense of humour, his skill and patience, and his constant joy for adventure. Farewell, Dan. I’m glad you were here.

Bernard Legrand

Tant que l’un d’entre nous continuera à penser à lui, Dan sera toujours vivant.
Il reste pour moi le souvenir d’un homme profondément attachant, toujours prêt à aider, rendre service.

Bon pédagogue, je crois qu’il avait plaisir à faire partager ce qu’il savait. Je lui suis redevable de m’avoir considérablement aidé lorsque je faisais des cours à Bramley.

J’ai une pensée pour ceux qu’il laisse et que je ne connais pas.

Son humour et sa gentillesse continueront à m’accompagner tout au long de ma vie.

Devon McCormick

I just heard the news and am greatly saddened by it. The world is a little poorer now.

The last time I saw Dan was at the J conference in Toronto a couple of years ago. I latched onto him around dinner time because I knew he would know a good place to eat; Richard Lam joined us.

We were not disappointed. He took us to his favorite Chinese restaurant. The owner recognized him though he hadn’t been there in about 20 years, which says a lot about the sort of man he was.

Michael Baas

I’m still shocked by the horrible news. Even though I “knew” Dan for many years, I only started to get to know him better when we spent more time together at Dyalog in recent times.

I liked Dan’s unobtrusive, yet continuously curious (inquisitive would be too harsh, I guess) personality and it was always nice to have him around. He always wanted to train & expand his German vocabulary and even dared to try some Gin Tonic with me. Many others have already praised him for his APL and I can only join the choir – he’s leaving a lot of pearls.

What a tragedy to loose him so unexpectedly.

John Scholes

Dan was a lovely man.

As others have said, I shall miss the twinkle in his eye and his dry sense of humour. Dan had a positive can-do attitude and always seemed to have time to listen and help. I was constantly amazed and impressed by his accomplishments, together with his quiet modesty.

I had worked with him for a long time before I discovered he was a helicopter pilot! Flora and my thoughts are with Linda and the girls.

Michel Dumontier

J’ai été étonné d’apprendre la triste nouvelle. Tous ceux qui connaissent Daniel ont apprécié sa gentillesse. La dernière fois que je l’ai vu, c’était au 50ème anniversaire d’APL à Glasgow. On se voyait et se parlait tous les jours. Nous étions même mon épouse et moi à la même table le soir du banquet et nous avons fait la connaissance de sa charmante Linda. Nous adressons nos sincères condoléances à sa famille.

Rick Procter

Daniel Baronet – best of friends for over 30 years

Where to begin? So many memories. Daniel was my best friend, and was so for many years. I could write a book. But it will be a painful book to write, for the weight of such a loss of course, and for all the reasons that anybody who knew him also felt and now express. In my case it seems worse. We were like brothers in some ways, so in Dan, I also see myself.

We go back to the early 80’s at IPSA, Toronto. A bunch of 20-somethings, thrust together at the start of a new and exciting career path that hardly had a name back then. Now we call it IT. Looking back across those years at both our lives, a lot changed but in some ways much stayed the same. Until last month, both of us were playing with APL code every day. Both of us were working with data and designing solutions. Both of us were sharing ideas and helping one another, and others, to solve the problems of the day. That said, Dan was always miles ahead of me in all of these pursuits. He was masterful. He juggled code and data like he juggled that set of coloured balls. It would take me the rest of my life to understand what he intuitively knew of such things.

We hit it off because we had so much in common. Similar interests, a similar outlook and attitudes. A thirst for knowledge, an unquenchable curiosity, a desire to explore. Again, in Dan’s case there’s a 10x factor compared to myself. He opened so many doors, and led the way through them for the rest of us.

Dan was a keen observer of people, and the natural world. My favourite quote from his home spun philosophy book: “kids with wrinkles” – shaking his head and referring mainly to some of the negative sides of adult behaviour often observed – squabbling, bullying, never sharing one’s toys and never really growing up. But he rarely had an unkind word for most, preferring instead to live and let live, a shrug of the shoulders, c’est la vie.

He was a model of frugality. When working in Toronto, he became a regular overnight guest at “the Rex”, a cheap and noisy downtown bar that most locals wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole. I could never get over how little he spent, and how little he packed on his trips – one tiny backpack. I felt guilty – what I thought was packing light was still double his load.

Back then, we would hang out at some out-of-the-way pubs, play some billiards, and enjoy some chicken wings. Simple, no-frills entertainment. Occasionally we splashed out – Dan loved Toronto’s Chinatown and had his favourite place there. We also covered most of the restaurant territory in his part of Montréal too – every trip there was another excuse to try some great new menu. Linda would often join us and she had an excellent sense for finding the most interesting and unusual places in town.

Besides APL and work, we shared many other interests. Astronomy, travel, red wine to name a few. Every time I came to visit in Montreal, I used to bring a couple bottles of his favourite Australian vintage – something he couldn’t purchase in Québec. We shared many a glass, recounted many stories, and pondered the ways of the world. It was always fascinating conversation.

Work-wise, APL was always our shared devotion, but I also got Dan involved in promoting a network security product, developed by our IPSA colleagues in Australia. We did our best at sales pitches to business and government levels in Québec. After much effort, we managed to make a major sale in Montréal. But more important than the business we did, those opportunities gave me further reasons to visit with Dan and his family over the years, which was always a great pleasure.

Dan’s favourite place was his Father’s cabin, a small shack in the mountains north of Québec City. I don’t know the full history of the place, but I’m sure it was the spot for many family events and memories from his early days onwards. It was only leased, and in fact Dan tried for years to convince the owner to sell the property, but was unsuccessful. I was lucky enough to visit several times, in several seasons. One Spring weekend, I think I met half his family there. One year, we revelled at the Québec Carnaval d’Hiver, then snow-shoed and skied our way up the mountain to dig out the cabin – a Winter wonderland buried under 4 feet of snow. It was anything but comfortable or civilized, but to Dan it was a paradise.

Dan never hesitated to try new experiences, and there were many. He travelled extensively and as often as possible, to both well-known and exotic destinations. He took on new languages just for fun, as many have observed. Besides the French, English, and Spanish he spoke with ease, he was a serious student of several others including Danish and Russian. As we all know, he had an immediate rapport with people all over the globe. It was remarkable to watch.

I forget when exactly, but one year, Dan heard about a new invention on view just outside of Montréal, so off we went to explore it. I didn’t quite know what to expect. To experience this thing, you entered an incredibly noisy metal cage in baggy coveralls, suspended above a massive, roaring, vertically-mounted DC3 engine and propeller. I believe it was the first commercial implementation of what is now known as “indoor sky-diving”. It seems that he and I were among the first people to field test such a contraption.

I joined him on his many other adventures when I could. We skied some great trails all over Québec and Ontario. We drove, hiked and paddled. In the 90’s, I was organizing a kayak trip in Baja California. Dan signed up immediately, even though he had never been in one. Once there, a 5-minute lesson at the beach and he was off, crossing 7km. of open ocean to the next island stop.

But that barely scratches the surface. He trekked around South America. He flew his plane across the U.S. to the Western States and back. He bicycled all over Québec. He worked in Western Canada, Europe, and Australia. He and Linda hiked in Auyuittuq, “the land that never melts”, in Canada’s Arctic. They house-boated on the Colorado River. They covered much of Europe – most recently Sicily, after Dyalog’15. They spent a week, and I tagged along for a couple of great days. And those are just the trips I know about – I’m sure there are dozens more.

We drove together to several APL conferences, staying at hostels, hotels or camping along the way. We both enjoyed the open road and the excitement of unplanned travels. We kicked around dusty towns in Mexico, once trekking through some desert canyon landscapes to view ancient pictographs in shallow caves. There was no “ordinary” when it came to the adventures we had together.

I was lucky enough to fly with Dan in his plane on several occasions. In Washington D.C., he took us out over Chesapeake Bay. We landed on a tiny island (Tangier) where the residents are said to speak a long-forgotten dialect of English, remnants of the original settlers from the 1600s. At one of the Smithsonian technology museums, I was carefully guided to view the one and only machine with an APL keyboard that they had on display (IBM 5100?) and a tiny write-up about the APL language. For Dan, this recognition in the shrine of American technology was a vastly important milestone.

Once, we flew from Toronto to APL2001 in New Haven CT. Crossing the Canada/US border, he couldn’t resist the temptation to take us right over Niagara Falls, tipping the plane to 90 degrees at that moment to make sure I got a splendid view of the falls, with my face pressed against the cockpit door glass (this and other such photos are in the gallery). When I lived in the countryside north of Toronto, he flew in one day and landed on a nearby cow pasture, which a neighbour liberally interpreted as our local air strip. We spent the rest of a spectacular day in the air, flying over a good portion of Southern Ontario and Lake Huron, all the way to Manitoulin Island and back. I don’t recall Dan asking us for any money to cover the costs – his huge generosity was exemplary. For Dyalog’13, he flew his plane from Montreal to Florida and back, up the U.S. east coast, and I came along for a ride I’ll never forget. We visited Ian and Audrey Sharp in Sarasota, then skirted the entire coastline all the way north at no more than 4000 feet. To top it off, we entered New York harbour, and did a loop around the Statue of Liberty before heading up the Hudson River.

I could go on and on and on. It’s difficult to summarize the more than half a lifetime of fantastic experiences that we shared. Those are just the highlights. I was looking forward to many more. He and Linda recently bought a countryside retreat, and were making plans to retire.

We had an unspoken, natural kinship. We never hesitated to ask each other for help, or provide it when needed. I always knew I could count on Dan for anything, I hope he felt the same from me. In later years, I would have enjoyed sitting out in the back yard at his rural homestead, watching the sunset, sipping a glass of red, and reminiscing about all the great stuff we did. Now, I’m sure l will continue to think about those days for many years to come, but they are tinged with an unbearable sadness. He will live on forever in the memories of many.

Diane L Hymas

My heart goes out to Dan’s family. May you know that we are here for you if you ever need anything. Dan was so giving to us, we are here to give back to you if there is anything that you need.

Below is a little poem that I wrote as a tribute to Dan’s life:

My tissue box is emptied as I shed a final tear.
How can our grieving hearts handle the loss of one so dear?

A sincere gentleman in every way,
striving to help others throughout the day.
Caring, considerate, charming, and kind, with a brilliant and inquisitive mind.

He was destined to program – in APL,
A subject he mastered extremely well.

As a gifted teacher, he could make us see, That many complex things were simple as could be.
But for those who struggled to understand His patience was endless, and he lent a hand.

Waste not, want not – was a theme,
as evidenced in his creative leftovers cuisine.
He hiked, biked, skated, and skied,
staying healthy and fit indeed.

A mischievous prankster, he would love to play, And keep us guessing — we were gullible prey.
With a twinkle in his eye, he could spin a tale, And his magic tricks would never fail.

Friendly with young and old the same,
but a formidable opponent in a chess game.

A spirit of adventure took him worldwide.
New cultures explored and new friends identified.
International strangers he would chance to meet, and in their language he would greet.
Be it Spanish, Danish, Italian, German, even Russian Dan actively participated in every discussion.

Through bright blue skies he would soar, Piloting his plane, or a helicopter with passengers galore.
An astronaut he wanted to be
The stars and the heavens he now can see.

And so we bid our final adieu,
To the Dan Baronet we all knew.
For each of us whose life he touched,
his friendship was cherished very much.

And though he now is physically gone,
By his exemplary life, his spirit lives on.
Living life with passion was his way,

Thank you Dan for more than all our words can say.

Tomoshi Morita

Daniel,

I owe you thousands of words to pay tribute to your inspiring, and admirable life. I’m sure thousands of words were not good enough compared to what you gave to me in the past 20 years or so.

It makes me sad as I use a past tense to talk about you. It makes me sad when I dig my photo albums to find the pictures of you, and think of those profound memories. It’s hard to swallow the fact even three weeks after the sad news. It hurts me harder as days go by, and it doesn’t seem to go away anytime soon.

In mid 90s, you and I developed a friendship while at work as well as outside. I don’t remember when it started. One day, it became apparent you were part of my social life. When you discovered there would be a party somewhere, you grabbed me, and crashed together. You and I co-organized many oyster parties at my place in North York. You and I started to explore J together. You took me, with your plane, many places in Ontario, and Quebec where I would never have a chance to visit otherwise. You invited my dad and me to your father’s cabin in Quebec city.

Daniel, you always wanted to know everything. You asked me a lot of questions. You challenged when my answer didn’t satisfy you or it didn’t make sense. Your curiosity was too deep and wide for just me alone to fulfill. You were hungry for new concepts, new foods, new everything. Whatever you discovered, whatever you were interested in, you conveyed to me. You enjoyed teaching something new to me, and you seemed to enjoy when I was impressed. You always told me that there would be another world beyond my comprehension. I enjoyed listening to you. I enjoyed the way you surprised me. You surprised me this time, too, by moving to the world beyond my imagination.

Daniel, even after the big ocean separated us, you and I occasionally exchanged words through email or Facebook. Remember? I teased you when I encountered a wsfull error within the accounting system you had worked on.

So, when you dropped me an email on October 25, a week prior to the tragic accident, I was not surprised at all. You went on and on talking about your family, your work, your retirement plan, etc.. You mentioned you were going to travel to Central America with your motorbike. You also mentioned you had been in Toronto this fall, and had thought of dropping by. It didn’t happen as you were in hurry. You would come back to Toronto next summer, and suggested we meet then. I was disappointed that I had missed a chance to see you, but thought it was not a big deal as I anticipated there would be more occasions in future – not knowing of the tragedy. I did not even imagine that those days would never come.

In Zen, there is an expression that goes… When an egg is ready to hatch, hen pokes the eggshell with her beak. Only when the hen pokes, and the chick inside pokes on the same spot at the same time, the eggshell breaks, and hatches. (This is a kind of stories you would challenge me, by the way). You kept poking my eggshell. When I finally broke the shell from inside, you had already moved away from me.

Thank you for everything, Daniel. Rest in peace.

Stephen Taylor

It took me way too long to find out how much I loved Dan Baronet.

We met in Australia. This was in the early 1980s. We were both working for I.P. Sharp Associates there; he in Melbourne, I in Sydney. There was a story about him, that he’d turned up at the 1983 APL conference in Washington, DC and crashed all the PC interpreters. This was the year APL interpreters for PCs were starting to appear. The vendors had their stands showing APL interpreters running on PCs, and this young Canadian no one knew just went from stand to stand, typing weird expressions in APL until he’d crashed each one.

The story seemed plausible. Dan had a habitual dead-pan expression and unblinking stare. It seemed to see into the frailties of people as well as software. As a young man still uneasy with my own faults, I was not comfortable being looked at that way, and I did not spend a lot of time around Dan.

Happily for me, our later lives threw us together, working for Dyalog. I learned to love Dan’s quiet and sceptical good humour, and his steadfast generosity.

Most of all, I admired the relentless curiosity that led him to learn Danish, flirt in French with the waitresses at our favourite Covent Garden bistro, to pilot a light plane and, finally, to explore North America on long motorbike tours, something I had fancied for myself since reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance when a young man.

Miki & I were nearby. Improbably. I’d come over to California to work at Arthur Whitney’s beach house. We saw the report on the website of a Bakersfield law firm, forwarded by ex-colleagues in Canada. Overtaking an RV on Highway 95 an hour after noon. A wobble. The RV driver’s the only account we have.

Highway 95 comes down to Vegas through the desert just east of Death Valley. A fortnight later we were driving east to Vegas ourselves. Bright sunshine, cool nights, perfect territory and weather for a motorcycle tour. Some bad pavement on those desert roads. Wobble? Easy.

Unlike Dan, we made it to Vegas. We stayed n a heavily-discounted room overlooking the Strip and wandered like ghosts through the vast gambling halls, observing the tension of people trying to concentrate while looking relaxed, the acres of slot machines, the taint of tobacco smoke the air conditioning scrubbed away, the lines of crap, poker and blackjack tables. We didn’t try any of them, but I can imagine Dan with us and that he would have. “Where’s the harm?” I can hear his voice saying. That curiosity again.

I’m writing this in Victor’s Cafeteria in New Iberia, Louisiana. We’re nearly at the end of our trip and will fly home in a few days. Back to APL, coding and teaching.

It’s easy to imagine Dan here at breakfast with us. This is Cajun territory and a lot of people look a bit like Dan: full heads of greying hair, mustaches, dark complexions and dead-pan expressions. I can’t tell how his Quebecker French would have worked here, but he would have tried it, would have been inquisitive about Cajun expressions and local dishes: boudin, etouffee, gumbo.

I’m going to miss Dan the Man surfing our sofa, our dinners chez Marthe in Covent Garden. I’m going to miss his calm advice when I get stuck with dumb mistakes.

Dan’s death wasn’t tragic. He was living his life with more appetite and curiosity than most of us muster. It came to an abrupt end. His death saddens me and I wish he were still alive. I wish he were still hosting this year’s IPSA London Christmas party with me, and I wish my invitation to ride in his plane were still good. But I can’t wish him off his bike.

Damn, I’m going to miss that man.

Leave a comment 23 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    I am Denise, Daniel’s mother. I read all the above comments, and am filled with thanks to all of you who wrothe so beautifully about him. I realized that we did not really know our son and brother.

    Daniel had left so happy… This trip was «la réalisation du rêve de sa vie». Adieu Daniel, nous t’aimons, et tu seras toujours présent dans nos coeurs. The Baronet-Bellegarde-Lacroix Families

  • Mireille et Diane Matteau says:

    Nos sincères condoléances Linda pour le décès de ton conjoint. Nous pensons à toi dans cette épreuve, bon courage à toi et à ta fille.

  • BAA London says:

    Here we are at the “Hoop and Grapes” at our regular monthly meeting and it’s strange that Dan won’t be joining us again.

    The last time he came was two months ago when he took us further into the arcane world of “regex” explaining it in a way noone else seemed able to do.

    Dan was one of our most regular attendees, coming whenever he was in England and even scheduling his visits to coincide and he was arguably our most frequent and popular presenter as well as being a good friend to us all.

    We’ll miss him.

  • Ginette Desruisseaux says:

    Message à Mme Denise Lacroix et à toute la famille

    Il est difficile d’accepter qu’une personne qu’on aime quitte ce monde définitivement, si brusquement.

    Que les souvenirs des bons moments passés en sa compagnie apaisent votre chagrin et vous donnent du courage pour les jours à venir.

    Sincères condoléances,
    Ginette Desruisseaux

  • Stéphan Guillot says:

    Meilleur cousin ou meilleur ami?

    Les deux j’en suis certain, considérant la douleur qui m’habite depuis que j’ai appris le triste événement. Je réalise à quel point nous étions très proches, encore plus que je ne pouvais l’imaginer.

    Tellement d’événements et de connaissances partagés avec lui, de rires et de confidences; il restera dans ma mémoire pour toujours, et il me manquera aussi pour toujours.

    Merci Dan de m’avoir inclus dans ta vie

  • Steve Mansour says:

    I always enjoyed Dan’s articles and workshops. My wife Gina met first met Dan 2003 when I chaired the SIGAPL conference in San Diego. She said Dan always made her feel welcome whenever she accompanied me to a Dyalog conference.

  • Graeme Robertson says:

    DAN WAS GREAT. Dan, Kai Jaeger, Ken Chakahwata and I found ourselves sharing a flat in Copenhagen in 2005. I already knew Ken and Kai were great. Ken was my fantastic mentor at IPSA and Kai was my formidable customer at Dyadic. We all got on together really well, despite being very different animals. Dan and Ken were in the ZOO at IPSA. I never made it into the ZOO. Kai is a species unto himself.
    Dan and I had some adventures before we met. He was the only other person I had ever met who had been to San Andres. Together in Copenhagen we had some adventures too. One evening we went North to see his “mother”. She was always to be found drinking heavily amongst her like-minded friends in a pub in the northern reaches of Copenhagen. During the day she sold her lace creations by the Little Mermaid – I bought one once for an extortionate sum – but liquor is not cheap in Denmark. I don’t know how or when it happened, but she adopted Dan as her own and was always delighted to see him. I felt honoured to have been introduced. Another time we headed South to Christianshavn which seemed like a great adventure to me.
    In the flat Kai would have his huge donkey salad bowl filled with salad, Ken would have his tin of fish, I would eat any old scraps, but Dan would make a proper meal. We had a party once. Dan cooked an enormous pan of purple muscles the like of which I had only seen on the beach in Scotland, and never considered actually eating. Dan spoke French which made it all OK. He also spoke Danish and carried his dictionary wherever he went. I was very impressed, having only a smattering of Latin to my name. I could say “Morn” and “Tak” and that was about it, whereas Dan could chat up girls in their own language. He introduced me to his fun-filled friends and colleagues which left me agog and speechless for months. I could never get close to the Danes like Dan could.
    Dan was a natural, but not without tricks. I am the gullible type. JD once told me that the word “gullible” is not in the dictionary and I considered the possibility for some while. So Dan was able to trick and outsmart me on several occasions, most of which I have banished to the subconscious. I was supposed to know something about Bayes theorem but Dan fooled me with Monty Hall and his goats. Characteristically, Kai wrote a program to prove the point. I don’t know what I was thinking of, all I can say is that if Monty had not opened the door then I would be right.
    Our flat was graced by the presence of Linda and Myriam when they came to visit. We all were on our best behaviour – Ken showed up more often than usual, Kai was politer than usual and I did my best to appear normal. I think they enjoyed their stay. We certainly enjoyed their company. Dan’s other daughter also came to Denmark to play in a gig in Odense. I saw a poster of her and was again impressed by Dan’s understated multi-dimensionality. I met Linda again in Berlin in 2010 and already we seemed like old friends.
    After Denmark, Dan occasionally dropped into our house in Basingstoke, on bike or on foot. One time he invited me to go up in a helicopter with him. That was an amazing experience. We flew over my house and waved to my children in the garden. We will never forget that. And I shall never forget Dan. He was a kindred spirit. I would not go so far as to suggest that he was not professional, but he managed to combine work and play, head and heart, in a way that I heartily approve. Dan was a great friend and will be sorely missed by many people.

  • I met Daniel Baronet around 1980 at an small office of I P Sharp in the heart of Copenhagen, where he had a helper named Morten Cromberg. I got some APL manuals that I still have and read with great interest. At a Dyalog meeting a few years ago, he demonstrated his language skills by conversating me in danish.

    The last time i met him was at a videomeeting 11 feb. with me in Copenhage and Daniel, Morten, Adam and Brian in Toronto where I had the pleasure to demonstrate my polyomino app.

  • Ajay says:

    I never met Dan but have always been aware of him. This is such a tragic loss and especially painful to lose someone from the fold. My condolences to those Dan leaves behind; may God give you fortitude to cope with your loss.

  • Richard Nabavi says:

    I am so sorry to hear of Dan’s untimely death. I had known him for many years, and always appreciated his wry humour, smart observations, and of course his skill in programming and problem-solving. He will be greatly missed by many colleagues. My condolences to his family.

  • James Heslip says:

    I first met Dan at the Dyalog Office when I travelled up for their APL training course. He was very welcoming to me as a newbie to the APL community. While I didn’t know him nearly as well as many others did, he was a very easy guy to talk to and news of his death was very tragic and shocking. I feel honoured to know that I was in his final workshop.

    Thank you for all that you taught me Dan.

  • Ray Polivka says:

    I too am shocked to learn of Dan’s tragic death. I came to know Dan through my interactions with Dyalog. There I soon became aware of his programming skills. I really valued his gentle patience with me when I would ask him one of my many often trivial APL questions. He was always ready to help me. He was certainly a man of many skills and interests.
    A person too soon lost.
    My sincere condolences to his wife and family.

  • Brad Morrison says:

    I heard the very sad news a few days ago and it still seems surreal. I only recently met Dan at the small APL get together he organized earlier this year in Montreal. It was a very pleasant evening with a small number of people sharing stories over a few beers. Dan immediately struck me as an unique person. Super friendly and soft spoken with a very quick wit. I am relatively new to APL so I was quite intimidated by the depth of APL knowledge and experience around the table but Dan made sure I felt welcome and included. Later on during the year in the summertime I dropped by his house to pick up a copy of an APL book he had contributed to. I was just expecting to get the book at his door be on my way but he actually invited me for a beer and we ended up chatting in his backyard, enjoying the sun talking about “life the universe and everything” while he told many stories of his travels, his airplane and his other hobbies. He was also interested in hearing the long non-linear “journey” that brought me to Montreal and how I became interested in APL. In addition he took time to give me some hints on a particular APL problem I had been facing regarding moving code between different APL versions. He actually didn’t come out and tell me the solution but rather gently pointed me in the right direction so that I could try and solve the problem myself, which shows that he was a very experienced educator. I’m sorry I did not get to know Dan a little better or sooner. He was a rare gifted individual who was extremely generous with his time, taking time with people to connect with them. My deepest condolences to his family and his many friends around the world. Brad

  • Ian and Audrey Sharp says:

    Daniel will be sorely missed by many people. We live on the West Coast of Florida and have very few (if any) visitors who drop in to see us in their own plane. Daniel and Rick did so fairly recently and were most welcome. Daniel was a popular and talented addition to the IPSA Montreal office in the dim and distant past and his enthusiasm has never really waned. We send our heartfelt sympathies to Daniel’s family…….Ian and Audrey Sharp

  • Anonymous says:

    I was Dan’s barber only for the past 2 years, and my only regret his that I did not know him that much exept when he talked about his riding adventures…because I ride has well.
    I just read all of his fellow coworkors and friends comments and it reminds me that we have to pay attention to people and appriciate there presence because you never know if that might be the last time you speak with them, fairwell M. Dan

  • Geoff Streeter says:

    At LO Skolen one year Gitte had organised for some Opera singers to come into the banquet and get us geeks singing. I discovered that Dan could sing really well.

  • Roberto Minervini says:

    Dan was one of the great masters of APL. It was always a pleasure to share an idea with him; always available, always friendly, always interesting are his views. For us young aplers a landmark. You miss Dan.

  • I only met Dan in person a few times and never had the privilege to get to know him very well. When I did (at APL meetings), we rarely spoke about APL. He had a knack for making you comfortable, relaxed and – before you know it – smiling.

    And yet he pops up in my life almost every week as I come across yet another tool or application he has written. His works has inspired and enabled me to work in ways I couldn’t before.

    We stand on the shoulders of giants. Dan was a great one.

  • Dan was one of those APLers whose material was always worth reading, talks attending, or simply opinions taking on board. Just one of his most recent changes was the invaluable work to introduce the ‘square-bracket commands’ to extend the basic APL WS functionality for developers. I will remember him whenever I use them and miss his face, if not his presence, at future gatherings. Ride on…

  • Pierre Gilbert says:

    Merci Daniel pour tous tes conseils et tes réponses à mes questions aussi simplistes quelles soient. Tu avais un grand coeur que tu partageais avec tous ceux que tu rencontrais.

    Dans notre tristesse, on trouve un réconfort en pensant que tu nous as quitté en faisant ce que tu aimais. Nous aurions aimé que tu restes avec nous plus longtemps.

    Tu vas nous manquer…

  • Paul Chow says:

    I was on holiday when I got an email from Rick Procter to call him as soon as possible. It was unlike Rick, who is normally calm and collected to send an email with a rather urgent tone. I knew something was not quite right. Little did I expect to hear such terribly tragic news. I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t.

    Only weeks earlier we were having a pint in Glasgow and he was telling me all about his upcoming motor cycle trip. I envied him. I still do. Dan was a free-spirit, a kind-hearted soul. And I always loved his joie de vivre attitude and happy go lucky demeanor.

    I’ve known Dan for close to 20 years. Rick and Dan introduced me to APL and although Dan stopped doing consulting work for us many years ago, we stayed in touch. He was always happy to go for a beer. Just this past summer, he organized a small gathering of APL’ers in the Montreal area, not so much to discuss APL, but just to get together to hang out, get out of the office, and chill out. He was fun that way. And in many other ways. He was kind and caring, always asking how things are going in my life and listening with genuine interest.

    My heart goes out to Linda and his daughters. We share their pain and although we mourn his death, we also celebrate his life.

    Dan, you are one-of-a-kind and you always found a way to win people over with your boyish charm and your contagious smile. I will miss you my friend. Rest in peace and we’ll catch up again one day.

  • Unbelievable. Very sad. My condolences to his wife whom I had the pleasure to meet in Glasgow.

    Dan mentioned in Glasgow that he and a friend were embarking on a motorcycle adventure down to Central America and passing through the Bay Area (where my wife & I live) on the way back. I guess this was that trip.

  • As a user of Dyalog APL I have a lot to thank Dan for. The utilities and features he contributed to the interpreter have been invaluable in some of our developments. He was a brilliant coder and always had time to spare if you needed to ask him something or talk through some code.

    Dan was a great guy and never failed to make the effort to come and chat about things either I or he had been working on. We have lost not only a fundamental member in the Dyalog APL community but also a friend.

    Thank you for all of your contributions and help Dan.

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