Brilliant. Opinionated. Gifted. Intense. Analytical. Intuitive. Ray Weiss embodied all of these qualities and more. He was a man of contradictions, viewpoints, and honesty. Encountering Ray was a life-altering experience. You would be so impressed with him or irritated by him that you could never forget him.
Sadly, this bright light burned out on New Year's Eve when Ray lost his year-long battle with lung cancer. Undoubtedly, the world is diminished by his passing. It has lost a great thinker, a gifted individual, a wonderful writer, an independent spirit, and an honest soul. Electronic Design has also lost a great editor.
Ray began his career in publishing with Electronic Design when he joined the magazine in 1984 as the southwestern field editor based in southern California. He loved being an editor, and he threw himself heart and soul into the job. In the fall of 2000, he returned to the magazine as a senior editor to help create and run our monthly Embedded in Electronic Design section.
In between his stints with us, he was on the editorial staffs of all of the leading publications covering the electronics OEM marketplace, spending several years with each, often as a senior editor. Just prior to returning to Electronic Design, Ray had branched out to the Internet, serving as the Site Director for TechOnLine.
Ray's industry experience was wide-ranging, just like his interests and mind. He had been a true systems engineer, designing large-scale computers before conquering the challenges of software engineering. He became an expert of designing databases with Litton Industries and a principal programmer at Sperry Univac (now Unisys) for developing large-scale emulators during the mainframe computer era.
Subsequently, he spent a number of years putting his expertise to work as an employment consultant, specializing in the placement of high-level designers and managers of system software and hardware. In parallel with employment recruitment, he served as the marketing manager for a startup software-development firm building artificial-intelligence knowledge-based systems. Unquestionably, Ray's track record was impressive!
What we at Electronic Design will remember most about Ray is that he was a true thinker. A conversation with him was never dull, ordinary, or mundane. No matter the topic, Ray would wrap his intellectual arms around it and look at it from a unique perspective that often left us in awe of his analytical ability.
He was never hesitant about voicing his views regarding any development he covered and any issue that he felt wasn't properly addressed. His insights into everything from internal issues in the publication to industry trends ranged from heresy to good practical suggestions. His abilities to observe, add value, and present a unique perspective were unparalleled (see his Editorial, p. 18).
Ray was a great friend to all of us, and we shall miss the way that he challenged our views on how to do things. We will also remember the many times when we visited companies, and after they made their presentations, Ray invariably said, "That's a great product. Now let me tell you what you did wrong." With keen comments and suggestions that never offended, he would do this, leaving a lot of heads nodding in agreement.
We valued Ray's opinions highly, not only because he became close friends with most of us, but also because he was a most intellectually honest man. This is a rare trait seen in only a handful of human beings. Ray was a deep thinker with great ideas, refreshingly candid and frank in his opinions. Just as important, he was also an excellent listener, very much willing to consider the opinions of others.
The world is a lesser place without him. His loss leaves a huge void no one else can fill.
This tribute is by colleagues and friends who worked with Ray through the years, from his start in publishing.
David Bursky: Always insightful, outspoken, opinionated, and personable, he had all the qualities of a great engineer and editor.
Lucinda Mattera: He had the uncanny ability to think on a higher plane than the rest of us and open up our minds. His intuitive insight was awesome and profound.
Roger Allan: He was a true and honest friend who I will surely miss. He fortified my belief in standing up for what's fair and just. He was a very moral man. May he rest in peace.
Bob Milne: He was a great friend. I shall miss the way he used to switch my brain on when we talked. Farewell, Ray. It was a privilege to have known you.