John Roach, Pioneer of the Personal Computer, Is Dead at 83

John Roach, a marketing visionary who helped make the home computer ubiquitous by the late 1970s radioworld chain stores launching a fully assembled Tandy TRS-80 for 599.95 or less, died in Fort Worth on Sunday. He was 83 years old.

His death at the hospital was confirmed by his wife, Jean Roach. The reason was not given.

Mr. Roach already had college experience moving with refrigerator-sized mainframes by 1967, when he joined Tandy Corporation, which was founded as a leather goods company, and had thousands of franchised deals in RadioShack and Electronics Farago.

He was instrumental in encouraging Tandy to venture into the computer market. At the time, most small computers were sold by hobbyists as kits for assembling, but Mr. Roach believed consumers would welcome the model they needed to plug in.

His team introduced the original TRS-80 prototype – a black-and-white RCA monitor, keyboard, and cassette recorder – in January 1977 to Charles Tandy, Tandy’s chief executive, and Lewis Kornfeld, president of RadioShack. .

The Apple 1 was introduced a year ago, and Commodore and other companies were marketing their own home computers, but the TRS-80 (the acronym stands for Tandy Radioshake) quickly, for a time, became the most popular computer on the market.

“Charles blew a little smoke and said, ‘Make a thousand and if we can’t sell it, we’ll use it in the store for something,'” said Mr. Roach recalled in a comment at the Fort Worth Executive Round Table last month.

Mr. Roach said. “None of our competitors sent.”

At just under 600 (about $ 2,700 in today’s dollars), the computer was relatively inexpensive (હતું 399 if attached to a separate proprietary viewing screen). It was available in all 8,000 stores of the company.

Tendy hired Bill Gates and Paul Allen, future founders of Microsoft, to write specialized software for personal, home and small-business purposes and games. In 1982, to promote the sale of computers and modems, Mr. Roche persuaded Fort Worth’s The Star-Telegram to become one of the country’s first newspapers to go online.

The TRS-80 was considered so novel that a model was later acquired for the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

John Vinson Roach II was born in November. 22, 1938, in Stamford, a rural farming community of thousands in West Texas. His mother, Agnes Margaret (Hanson) Roach, was a nurse. His father owned a meat market that was shut down due to rationing during World War II, and the family moved to Fort Worth, where he opened a grocery store.

Young John, a mathematician, calculated the change in his father’s grocery store without using a cash register. He worked for retailers in the Montgomery Ward by unloading from a box car in high school.

He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Christian University of Texas in 1961 and then worked for two years at the Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii before returning to the university, where he earned a master’s degree in business administration in 1965.

When Mr. Roach, who joined Tandy Corporation as a data processing manager, said in a 2007 interview with the university that “personal computers were not even an idea.”

The TRS-80 sales boom came in time to revive Tandy, which was experiencing a downturn after the popularity of two-way citizen band radio faded. After Mr. Tandy died in 1978, Mr. Roach became executive vice president of RadioShake. He was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 1980.

Tandy’s early dominance would wane as competitors developed models that were equally cheap or offered faster speeds and more functionality. By 1991, the company’s share of the domestic home computer market was 3.5 percent; That was 40 percent in 1981.

During the 1990s, when the group employed 37,500 workers and reported annual sales of 4.3 billion, Mr. Roche tried to position the radioshake in general as “The Technology Store”.

He retired as chief executive and chairman of Tandy in 1999, a position he had held since 1983.

Tandy changed its name to RadioShake in 2000 and overcame the cutthroat competition to continue as an e-commerce site and franchise operation with the motto “Shake is Back”.

In the 1990s, Mr. Roach, chairman of the board of trustees of Texas Christian University, helped raise more than $ 1 billion for its endowment, building a technology center and playing a supporting role in the civic and cultural life of Fort Worth. John V. in 2007. Roach Honors College was inaugurated in his honor at TCU by his friends Paul and Judy Andrews of Fort Worth.

J. as his friend and successor as chairman of the board. “They were able to mix their intelligence with the decision,” Luther King Jr. said in an interview. Mr. Roach, he added, “succeeded in transforming the university from a regional university into a national university.”

In addition to his wife, Shri. Behind Roach are his two daughters Amy Roach Bailey and Lori Roach Davis; Six grandchildren; And granddaughter.

Mr. Roach has been comfortable with computers, both personally and professionally, since his college days. Shortly before his death, his family said, he had a facetime with his grandchildren and beat TCU at Seton Hall online in the NCAA basketball tournament.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.