Former Fortran committee member Jerry Wagener sent this sad news today:

Walt Brainerd passed away on June 4th, 2020. He had cancer of the brain stem.

Walt joined X3J3 in the mid 1970s and was a strong advocate for Fortran for the rest of his life. He authored and co-authored many books on Fortran, taught classes, gave seminars, and ran “The Fortran Company” website.

On X3J3, Walt consistently advocated adding clear modern features and deprecating old, unsafe, features; often against strong opposition. He encouraged the numerical analysis community to take an interest in Fortran development and he was the typesetter for Fortran 90. Throughout all of the Fortran struggles and joys, he was just a good guy.

He was teaching a class at the end of February and had a fall. After he flew home and went to the hospital, they discovered a mass on his brain stem. He was in home hospice when he died. His family was with him.

I met Walt only once, at the “Fortran Geezers” meeting in 2017, but had many online interactions with him. Walt was a tireless supporter of the Fortran language and continued teaching Fortran classes after his retirement. If more details or an official obituary become available, I will update this post.


What a sad loss; his most recent book – Guide to Fortran 2008 Programming – is just a joy, full of original and interesting ideas.

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