Gary Chapman played a pioneering role in studying and writing about the impact of computers on society, organizing computer professionals to examine these issues, and later working to promote positive outcomes and teach others to continue this work. I was fortunate to meet Gary at an early conference of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, and was so inspired by what I learned the people I met that I proceeded to co-found the DC Chapter and serve on CPSR's board of directors (twice!). That organization, which he led during its heyday, has since been eclipsed by numerous larger and better funded groups such as EFF and EPIC, which in different ways inherited its ideas and took them to new levels. The Computers Freedom and Privacy Conference also continues, nineteen years later, to explore the leading edges of the same issues – now under the auspices of the Association of Computing Machinery.
I had few opportunities to work with Gary after he left CPSR, but I continued to follow his work and read his newspaper columns, and I was fortunate enough to reconnect with him on a trip to Austin last year. We started out meeting for drinks at my hotel, but he wouldn't let me off that easily – he then invited me along to meet Carol at a party at the Texas Observer, then they took me to dinner at a great "typical Austin" restaurant. He even sent me off to a night of music down 6th and Red River Streets, armed with several tips on where to go, who to see – the consummate host. I feel blessed that I was able to spend several hours with him catching up, talking politics, computers, music, and food, and also fortunate to meet Carol, who was wonderful.
A major influence, even a hero, he will truly be missed.
I met Gary at ISDT 2010, and my thoughts about him after a few moments of chatting were: "Here I am, standing next to a visionary person, yet with an acute sense of practicality." It is a great loss. However, his vision will endure through his work as a teacher as he influenced the minds of many students and scholars. Farewell.