John Vlissides, accomplished and highly regarded researcher at IBM, passed away on November 24, 2005 after a long-term battle with cancer. John was one of the world's foremost experts in object-oriented software design. He was best known to the Computer Science world for his part in creating the field of software patterns. His first book, Design Patterns, co-authored with Gamma, Helm, and Johnson (the "Gang of Four") is recognized as the seminal work on the topic and is still a top-selling software programming book today. By describing these patterns, they were able to create a language for describing good programs, teaching millions of programmers how to program well and enabling those programmers to easily describe how they had designed their programs. It has served as the basis for innumerable courses in most major undergraduate Computer Science curricula.
To read about the impact John had not only on the design on software but also the deep impact he had on the people in his life, a wiki has been created in remembrance of John: http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?JohnVlissides