Ger­ald Huff

May 11, 1964 - Novem­ber 17, 2018

San Francisco Chronicle - Late Edition (Sunday) - - LIFETRIBUTES -

Af­ter a shock­ingly short seven week bat­tle with an ag­gres­sive form of pan­cre­atic can­cer, Ger­ald Huff passed away in his sleep at home in Berke­ley on Novem­ber 17, 2018 at the age of 54. He was born on May 11, 1964 in New York City. When his fam­ily moved to San Fran­cisco in 1977, he en­tered San Fran­cisco Univer­sity High School as a fresh­man. There be­gan his fas­ci­na­tion with com­put­ers and the prob­lem-solv­ing po­ten­tial of cod­ing. He then at­tended Har­vard Univer­sity where he met Judy Bliss, the love of his life. Af­ter grad­u­a­tion, he be­gan his ca­reer at the man­age­ment con­sult­ing firm of Bain & Co. in Bos­ton. When his fa­ther was also di­ag­nosed with pan­cre­atic can­cer, Ger­ald moved back to the Bay Area in 1986. In spite of the long-dis­tance as­pect of their re­la­tion­ship, Judy and Ger­ald mar­ried in Oc­to­ber of 1988 and had two chil­dren, Paul and Jane. He is sur­vived by his wife and chil­dren, his mother, Gisèle and his sis­ter, Michèle.

Af­ter leav­ing Bain & Co., Ger­ald co-founded Avan­tos, a start-up that cre­ated man­age­ment soft­ware. He was proud that the busi­ness grew to $7 mil­lion in rev­enues over six years but it was ahead of its time and closed for lack of growth. Given his ex­per­tise, he was quickly re­cruited by In­tuit where he re­mained for twelve years at­tain­ing the position of di­rec­tor of the Tech­nol­ogy In­no­va­tion Group. In 2010, he joined Tesla as a prin­ci­pal soft­ware en­gi­neer to work on the Model S in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem and later be­came the tech­ni­cal lead for the soft­ware that man­ages the flow of thou­sands of Model 3 parts through­out the fac­tory. He was drawn to Tesla’s mis­sion to trans­form trans­porta­tion from fos­sil fu­els to elec­tric­ity.

Ger­ald loved to travel and ex­plore new places, from scuba-div­ing in the Great Bar­rier Reef to trekking to Machu Pic­chu. He was very in­vested in ed­u­ca­tion, and served on the board of his chil­dren’s K-8 school, Prospect Sierra in El Cer­rito. He was also po­lit­i­cally ac­tive and was pas­sion­ate about mak­ing the world a bet­ter place. He was es­pe­cially concerned about the growing in­come di­vide in the coun­try and the prospect of tech­no­log­i­cal un­em­ploy­ment which led him to be­come a strong pro­po­nent of Universal Ba­sic In­come. This in­spired him to write a novel, Cri­sis: 2038, a techno-thriller with a moral im­per­a­tive, which was just pub­lished posthu­mously and is avail­able on Ama­zon.

The world has lost a great man, loved, ad­mired and re­spected by all who knew him, and his fam­ily, friends and col­leagues will miss him ter­ri­bly. A pri­vate fam­ily cel­e­bra­tion of life will be held in mid-De­cem­ber. To honor Ger­ald, the fam­ily asks that you or­der a copy of his book, Cri­sis: 2038, read it, and share it widely.

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