I just learned that a former colleague of mine, Derek Maxwell, died yesterday. He and I worked together from the late 1980s through the mid 1990s: he was the go-to guy in product marketing for our PC networking products such as PC-NFS. Soon after he arrived, the so-called “planets” re-org saw our entire group restructured and renamed as an independent business unit, SunSelect. The potential for chaos and duplication was high, and much credit goes to Derek for sustaining the relationships with the product teams in the other Sun business units. Eventually our group was folded into SunSoft, and for a while Derek worked for me when I was acting director of PCN.
Derek and I had a number of interests in common, including motor racing, and we often found ourselves comparing notes on the strange gestalt of being an expat Brit in America. Unfortunately we drifted apart after I joined SunLabs, and Derek moved into various marketing roles in the OS and storage organizations, although we often exchanged non-work email.
Speaking of email, Derek’s always ended with the signature:
“Tha fhagail fhein aig gach neach !” – “Everyone has their own particular destiny”
Sadly, his own came too soon, in the form of a massive heart attack at the age of 49. Farewell, Derek. We’ll miss you.
Here’s the internal announcement from Sun (and yes, it’s OK to redistribute it):
It is with great sadness that we pass on the news that our friend and colleague, Derek Maxwell, passed away last night from a massive coronary.
A 17-year Sun veteran, Derek was well-known not only to the Storage Group, but throughout Sun. In his earlier years he worked in a variety of Sun organizations and projects including Sun-MC (Management Console), a program for managing and diagnosing problems on SPARC-based Solaris systems. He’s been part of Sun Storage since its inception, dedicating his expertise and passion to Storage Management over the last few years and most recently working as a Product Definitions Manager for SAM-FS/QFS.
Long-time friends and colleagues of Derek describe him as a man with a true generous spirit, who reached out to others and always had an easy smile for all who crossed his path. He maintained a tremendous passion for his work and was often known by his work team as the Sun “go-to” guy, because of his breadth of knowledge and Sun expertise.
Derek leaves behind his wife, Sandra, a son and a daughter. Our thoughts and prayers are with them as they work through this difficult loss.
Due to the many years that Derek spent at Sun, it is impossible to reach out to all those who knew and worked with Derek. Therefore, we appreciate if you can forward this message as appropriate to those who have not received the news.
Thank you for your support.
Nigel Dessau and Nancy Hurley