Jean Iverson — 1925-2021

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Jean Iverson — 1925-2021

Postby Roger|Dyalog on Wed Jun 30, 2021 7:16 pm

Eric Iverson wrote in the Jprogramming Forum on 2021-06-27:

Jean Iverson - 1925 - 2021

Jean Iverson passed away peacefully on Friday afternoon, June 25, 2021 in a Toronto hospital. Her children were all able to have good, in person, visits during her last days. She had a full and wonderful life, and will be missed.

If Ken was the father of APL/J, then Jean was just as important as the mother.

She worked tirelessly alongside Ken proofreading 'A Programming Language' drafts and galley proofs. Every APL character that appears in the book was meticulously drawn by her with a K&E Leroy set with a custom APL template (first tech stab at the APL character challenge).

Then in the late 80s, with Ken and Roger joyously working on defining and developing J in Ken's home office, it was Jean who kept them fed and forced them to take breaks and even occasionally to go for walks.

Those were some of her hobbies. Her true calling was helping people, especially young people, find their feet and a path to a good life.

Again, she will be missed.

(she would have wanted any comments to go to chat)
For information about J forums see

A Few Personal Recollections

Ken used to say, with a twinkle in his eyes, that he was glad that I was staying for dinner, because then he would have good food. Ken and Jean were both tall (both 6-footers?) but I ate more than them. Jean made sure that she made four portions, one for each of them and two for me.

One time I was sick with the flu and hadn’t visited Ken and Jean for a few days. Ken phoned and said that it was on Jean’s suggestion, because I was living alone and if I'd died nobody would know for days. I said, oh, it would would take weeks or months before anybody knew.

Jean was not formally trained in IT but she was good at it. I understand that she was the go to person for IT in the old folks home in the last years.

One time, I had dinner in a restaurant around the corner on Yonge Street before going to their condo on Erskine Avenue. On arriving at their place, I said, “Today’s not a good day to eat by yourself in a restaurant.” Ken said, “Why? What’s today?” Jean said, “It’s Valentine’s Day”, in a tone of voice that says, “you big oaf”.

Ken and I were going out somewhere. Jean took a look at Ken’s sweater and said, “You are not going out wearing that, are you?”

In October 1989, a couple of months into the J work, Ken and I were working in his home office as was becoming usual. I told Ken that I was going on vacation to the Far East for a couple of weeks. Ken responded by saying that then he too would be going on vacation in that time. I commented that that was quite a coincidence. It was no coincidence, Ken said, because on a project like this the key people should coordinate their activities.

Jean was in the room when this happened. She didn’t say anything but gave me a long hard look, which I interpreted to mean, “Who is this guy who has such an influence on my husband, and what are they working on?”

RIP, Jean.
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