Dr W Dana Wasson  19342018 avis de deces  NecroCanada

Dr W Dana Wasson 19342018

Dr. W. Dana Wasson
It is with heavy hearts that the family of Dr. W. Dana Wasson
announces his passing on Thursday, September 6, 2018, at Shannex,
Thomas Hall in Fredericton, NB.
Born in Jemseg, NB, he was the son of the late Walter Wetmore
and Sara Myrtle (Clark) Wasson.
Dana is survived by his beloved wife Jane; children Barbara
Wasson Lillehaug (Svein-Ivar) of Bergen, Norway and Bradley Wasson
(Colette) of Fredericton, NB; grandchildren Bendik and Didrik Wasson
Lillehaug and Marie-Claire and Jeremy Wasson; sister Reta Colpitts
(Wayne) of Fredericton, NB: sister-in-law Roberta Wasson of Minto, NB,
as well as several nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents,
Dana was predeceased by his brothers Aubrey, Arnold, Waldo, Roland,
and Avard.
Dana was born in 1934 and grew up on a farm, but clearly ran
to the beat of a different drummer. He progressed through grade school
as a keen learner and by the end of grade 11 was ready for university.
Actually, he used to tease his grandchildren with that he never
graduated from high school, but still managed to get his PhD. In 1951
Dana entered the electrical engineering program at the University of
New Brunswick (UNB), which was the beginning of career filled with
research, technological and business innovations, and unique insights
into how information technology could shape our lives.
In the early 1950’s computers were still mostly a dream of
futurists, but Dana wanted to change all that, and started formulating
a vision and plan that would be carried out over the next 50
Early evidence that he was a gifted and brilliant scholar can
be seen when for his senior project in his undergraduate electrical
engineering degree, he teamed with classmate Bob Cass to build from
scratch a new-fangled machine: a four function, refrigerator-sized,
calculator made of vacuum tubes. This stimulated his deep interest in
what would become the electronics industry and the field of computer
science. The next step on the path was the prestigious Massachusetts
Institute of Technology (MIT) for his Master’s degree.
There are few people who have the ability to anticipate and
visualize the future, and to have enough clarity, foresight,
understanding and determination to build it. Dana was one of these
people. Although he could have stayed in the US and would have
undoubtedly had an incredible private sector career, his passion was
His desire was to return to his cherished province of NB, and
to work at UNB. It was a good decision for all of us! He met and
married the love of his life, Jane Roxborough Dickson (in 1958), who
became the rock of his world, supporting him and enabling him to
devote much time and effort to his vision of the future. Dana and
Jane’s partnership over 60 years fueled their enduring love
for education, students, and the pursuit of greater knowledge. In his
life-long commitment to the province and the university, Dana
established both technological and educational bases for many
generations of scholars and workers to prosper in the burgeoning field
of computer science.
In the late 1950’s, after having returned to UNB, Dana
embarked on his life’s work. Dana envisioned a future where
academia and business would greatly benefit from
« computing », and society would prosper. That future included
computing devices and networks driving the future of business and
research and development. Dana pursued his vision with his
characteristic zeal, and his love of discussing all things computing
with everyone.
His vision had two main elements: building a computing
facility, the likes of which had never been seen before, and building
a workforce of computer scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and
others to drive the computing industry forward. This parallel plan
began to unfold in earnest in 1959 and played out over the next forty
As is required in any business context, finding funding and
resources was problematic. Dana became a master of building logic and
support for his plans, deftly securing funding from multiple sources,
and aligning resources in the emerging value chain within and external
to the university.
In 1959 Dana arranged for UNB and NB Power to co-finance the
purchase of the university’s first programmable computer,
the Royal-McBee LGP-30. In 1964 UNB’s Computing Centre was
established with Dana as its first Director. UNB was soon to have the
most powerful computer east of Montreal, when in 1968 the IBM 360/50G
mainframe computer was purchased. Also that year, Dana established the
first Department of Computer Science in Canada, offering the Master of
Computer Science degree through Electrical Engineering. Just two years
later, in 1970, Dana spearheaded the establishment of the first
regional computer connected ‘network’ in the
country, connecting a number of entities, years before the Internet
became the connection conduit between people around the
In 1974 Dana became the first director of the School of
Computer Science, and UNB conferred its first BSc (Computer Science)
degree. Throughout the second half of the 1970’s and into
the 1980’s the computer science program and the Computing
Centre on campus grew at a remarkable rate, constantly expanding scope
and computing power. In 1987 a computer science Ph.D. program was
approved and offered by the university. In 1990 UNB established the
first Faculty of Computer Science in Canada, and Dana became the
country’s first Dean of Computer Science.
In addition to his focus as a « builder » at UNB,
Dana also continued to research in areas such as pattern recognition
and 3D computer vision applications. He also focused on computer
assisted logic design and programmable logic devices. In 1968 Dana was
awarded his Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo for his work on
handwriting recognition.
Dana continually tweaked and updated his plan. He had a
strong conviction, and had built evidence, that students and business
could both benefit if connected as early as possible in the
research/education/business application cycle, and in 1981 launched
the computer science co-op program (to match students with employers),
the first of its kind east of Waterloo. By the end of the
1990’s virtually every computer scientist coming out of New
Brunswick had been taught, supervised, or hired by Dana. His
versatility as both an administrator and technology thought leader was
evidenced by his tireless passion and dedication to his vision for UNB
and the province, through establishing the largest computing facility
east of Montreal, all the while growing the reputation of the academic
programs on all fronts. For many years Dana ran both the Computing
Centre and computer science academic programs at the same
In addition to his academic prowess, he had many other
talents and passions, including stubbornly wanting to fix every
electronic or electric device and every mechanical machine with an
ailment. Dana was an accomplished carpenter and provided engineering
insights to Jane’s many artistic endeavours. He loved to
follow the travails of his children and four grandchildren, and spent
his leisure time reading non-fiction in a huge variety of subjects. He
was also an avid UNB hockey fan!
Dana devoted time and effort to numerous committees, boards,
and national organizations, was recognized with numerous awards, and
earned recognition as a visionary for his foresight into the power and
potential of computing technology, applying that power to engineering
applications along with science and business applications. In 1990
when he was recognized as one of Canada’s computer science
pioneers by IBM. He was also presented with the New Brunswick
Information Technology Award at the Premier’s Forum on IT in
1997. Nearing retirement, in 2003 the university named the W. Dana
Wasson Computing Centre in his honor. He was also bestowed the titles
of Professor Emeritus in Computer Science and Dean Emeritus, the
highest designations for retired faculty at UNB.
As a practitioner, academic, researcher, and administrator,
Dana had a knack for envisioning the future and knowing what needed to
be done to meet it. He loved all aspects of university life,
especially nurturing and seeing the development of students. He was
also an enthusiastic supporter of UNB’s sports teams,
particularly the hockey VReds. Dana’s leadership, evidenced
by his successful vision and plan, helped put UNB and the province on
the computer science map, the impact of which is felt today by
numerous individuals, businesses, and institutions that have
benefitted from his visionary efforts. Dana’s contributions
would not have been possible without the complementary devotion
provided by Jane and her balancing love of nature, the arts and
community. Their true partnership kept an even keel on a busy life
devoted to building a better future for others.
The family would like to express its sincere gratitude to the
wonderful staff at Thomas Hall, Shannex, for their constant care and
attention to Dana and the other residents. Their professionalism and
dedication to their clients is inspirational.
Visitation will be held at McAdam’s Funeral Home on
Friday, October 5, 2018, from 6-9 PM. The family welcomes the public
to celebrate Dana’s life and story in a memorial service
that will take place in the McAdam’s J.A. Memorial Chapel on
Saturday October 6, 2018, at 2:00 PM with Rev. Deborah Ambridge Fisher
officiating. Donations in Dana’s memory can be made to the
Dr. W. Dana Wasson Prize in Computer Science.
Click here to View Condolences

Nos plus sincères sympathies à la famille et aux amis de Dr W Dana Wasson 19342018..


Décès pour la Ville: Fredericton, Province: Nouveau-Brunswick

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