John Edward Birdwell
Talented TI Software Author

photo of john birdwell

John Edward Birdwell was a talented programmer who contributed a great deal to the TI community before his untimely death on December 28th 1990. John was ahead of his time. His programs like DSKU took away barriers for less experienced users, and surely those unfinished programs of his that we missed through his passing away, would have certainly brought the TI and Geneve hobby to a higher level. Had he lived a while longer, his extremely valuable addition to the Myarc line-up of software would have enhanced the storage capabilities of the original MFM hard drive group.

John was a valued member of the Chicago TI User Group, and contributed to the early success of what came to be the largest TI User Group in the world. His seminars educated many users at the meetings and the Chicago Faires. In July 1988, John began an assembly language programming series for MICROpendium. He decided to teach the language through a series of articles which, when published and assembled by the reader, resulted in a working word processor program. The series ended in January 1989.

A more accurate indication of the importance of John’s career may be seen by the fact that the Chicago TI User Group annually presents the individual deemed to have done outstanding service to the entire TI community an award named for John Birdwell. This award has come to symbolize one of the highest forms of recognition in the TI community. Barry A. Traver received the first John Birdwell Memorial Award at the November 1991 Chicago World Faire.

John Edward Birdwell was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, on January 17, 1949. Later his parents moved to Chicago, Illinois where John graduated from Fenger High School, John attended the College of DuPage in Wheaton, Illinois, where he later made his home. John served in the United States Air Force and was trained there to use computers. He was stationed at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. In May of 1971 he married his wife Kathy, in Chicago and they had two daughters, Kelly and Kristin.

Biography prepared by Berry Harmsen,
partly based on Bill Gaskill’s TI-99/4A TimeLine

Inducted to the TI99ers Hall of Fame on September 19, 2007