Deceased February 1, 2019

View alumni profile (log in required)
Read obituary

In Memory

Walter David Malcolm '54 With great sadness, I report the passing of W. David Malcolm Jr., who died on Feb. 1, 2019, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Dave came to Amherst from Hingham, Mass., via Milton Academy. He joined Theta Xi and was an active member of the Amherst Outing Club. Being mechanically inclined, Dave took on the care and maintenance of the Outing Club truck, which he described as “a well-worn ’37 Chevrolet Suburban [that] was a sight to behold, with a wooden luggage rack on top, a cow skull replacing the grille and a permanent twist to its frame.” The truck served well for many adventures, including a fortuitous trek to the White Mountains, during which Dave met his future wife Louise.

A seminal event after graduating was Dave’s two-year stint in the army. A fellow astronomy major and fraternity brother helped him get assigned to the Army Map Service. This led to work with the Army’s Univac I computer, of which he wrote, “I immediately knew that that was where my future lay.” He began working at DATAmatic, which became Honeywell then Bull, and became a dedicated programmer, remaining with the company for 31 years. 

Throughout his life, Dave was involved in numerous activities, projects and hobbies, yet always made time for his family and friends. As my brother put it, he was not only a computer pioneer, but a “storyteller, part-time actor, Renaissance-instrument musician, hiker, mechanical tinkerer, railway and genealogical enthusiast, lifelong Unitarian Universalist, endlessly supportive father and grandfather and loving husband; these were just a few of the many faces of this kind and gentle soul.”

As a proud Amherst alumnus, Dave attended as many of his class reunions as possible, and even a few of mine! Dave also served as the class choregus and as an associate agent.

Dave leaves behind his wife, Louise, and three children, as well as three grandchildren. We will all miss him very much.

Andrea Malcolm ’83