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Silicon Valley Luminary Barbara Cass Dies at 69

2008-07-17 11:45:00

   Champion of Software Entrepreneur's Forum and SDForum Leaves Legacy of

                           Kindness and Community

    LADERA, Calif., July 17 /EMWNews/ -- Barbara Cass, a longtime Ladera

resident and influential thought leader in the Silicon Valley technology

community, died of pancreatic cancer at home on July 8 with her family at

her side. She was 69.

    Born in San Francisco August 28, 1938, Cass graduated from Lowell High

School at age 16 and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley

in 1959 where she was as a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority.

    Cass had an amazing career in Silicon Valley, starting at the Career

Action Center for Women and later assisting in the formation of Software

Entrepreneur's Forum (SEF). This new community of software engineers and

entrepreneurs was the precursor of what has become the essence of Silicon

Valley today. Cass became executive director in 1984 and started inviting

future stars to speak, such as Philippe Kahn and Esther Dyson. She was

selected to the 'Micro Times 100' several times in the 1990s.

    In 1998, Cass successfully fused the City of San Jose's Center of

Software Development and SEF together into a single organization, SDForum.

That same year, she helped create the prestigious Visionary Awards, which

is now recognized as the best such event in the Valley, where 300 leaders

and influencers of technology meet to celebrate the successes of luminaries

in the field. Under her wings SDForum grew from a handful of developers

passionate about software to the oldest and largest association of

professionals in emerging technologies in the Valley.

    "With her exceptional people skills and understanding of the business

of technology, Barbara nurtured these groups and was often the barometer

for future tech trends as she helped new groups form," said Susan

Lucas-Conwell, CEO of SDForum and long-time colleague.

    Ann Winblad, who joined SEF 25 years ago and who later become an anchor

for SDForum as the Co-Chair of the Board of Directors, recalled Barbara

fondly: "I still remember standing in line outside the Elks Club where SEF

held their meetings, and although I had not met Barbara before, she

welcomed me as if I were her best friend. She encouraged many of us and

stood by many in good times and bad and truly understood that every

individual might be the next captain of industry. Barbara represented the

soul of Silicon Valley and her memory will be here forever."

    Cass is survived by her husband of 49 years, Tom Cass; mother, Norma

Stendell of San Jose; son, Peter Cass of Menlo Park; daughter, Carin

Zimmerman of San Francisco; and three granddaughters.

    As a result of her illness, she retired from SDForum last December.

    According to her wishes, no services were held. Donations in lieu of

flowers may be sent to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Oncology

Department, attention Philanthropy, 795 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA


Media Contact: Jennifer Lankford FortyThree, Inc. 831.401.3175 [email protected]

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