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Richard "Dick" Linton Kauffman

Obituary for Richard "Dick" Linton Kauffman

August 19, 1935 - January 24, 2017
Newtown, Pennsylvania | Age 81


Richard ("Dick") Linton Kauffman died on January 24, 2017 at Pennswood Village, Newtown Pa. He was a pioneer in the early development of information technology for mainframe computers. Richard was a lifelong resident of central Bucks County, living in Lower Makefield and Upper Makefield Townships for almost his entire life. He was born August 19, 1935 in Yardley, Pennsylvania, son of the late Virgil Kauffman and Julia Slack Kauffman.

During Richard's childhood, he spent summers on several farms and ranches in the American west. His father, a world-traveling pilot, would leave Richard with friends with whom he came in contact through his business, and would then pick Richard up at the end of the summer. On one occasion, Richard enrolled in the local elementary school while he waited for his father to return from his travels and take Richard home. The pronghorn antelope on display in the bar at the Pineville Tavern in Bucks County was shot by Richard during one of these summer adventures.

Richard was a graduate of Lower Makefield Elementary School and Peddie School, where he was an all-state track star specializing in the mile. While attending Peddie, Richard had a date with the beautiful and popular young Mary Lou Preston. Despite Rich's difficulties maintaining eye contact or a conversation, she consented to a second date, and the two were eventually married five years later on December 15, 1956.

During the mid-1950s, Richard served as a staff sergeant with the US Army 10th Infantry Division in Germany during the tense years of the Cold War. His leave to return to the US for his wedding was postponed by the Hungarian Revolt. His unit was deployed to the Austrian-Hungarian border, where he heard Russian tanks pull up to the border in early November 1956.

After discharge from the Army, Richard returned with his wife from Schweinfurt, Germany and attended Lafayette College, graduating in 1961 with a degree in business. He went to work for IBM, but was soon recruited to work at the start-up Applied Data Research.

From the early 1960s until the 1980s, Richard was a key contributor in ADR's growth as a competitor to IBM as the country's first independent software vendor. While at ADR, Richard served as Vice-President of R&D, leading teams that developed MetaCOBOL – an innovative pre-compiler that was in service until early 2016, and IDEAL – a fourth-generation computer programming language that has been described as a watershed achievement in database application language development. Richard also co-authored the 1977 textbook High-Level COBOL Programming with other ADR managers.

Richard was an avid sportsman. He had a private pilot's license, flying from the Trenton airport and the grass landing strip at the family farm in Upper Makefield. He carried forward the passion he shared with his father in hunting and fishing to his children and grandchildren, traveling to the Madison and Jefferson Rivers in Montana in his late 70s in search of brown trout. He also was an excellent skier, and served as a member of the Ski Patrol for Shawnee Mountain resort in the 1970s. He last skied at Shawnee after his 79th birthday. He attended the Lafayette-Lehigh game every year, accompanied by the six other members of his extended family that attended one of the two rival schools.

Until his stroke in December 2016, Richard had a very active retirement. He was a long-time member of the Washington Crossing Rotary, where he served as president. For years, he and his dog Tilly delivered meals for Woodside Meals on Wheels. However, his primary passion in retirement – besides assuring the happiness of his wife of 60 years – was golf. He was a member of the Hopewell Valley Golf Club, where he continued to score in the 80s after his 80th birthday.
Richard was an active member of the church community at Pennswood Village, and was previously an active member of Thompson Memorial Presbyterian church, where he in the past served as a Deacon and member of the Session.

Richard is survived by his beloved wife Mary Lou Kauffman (nee Preston), his sisters Ann Whelan, Virginia Schmunk and Barbara Stokes, all of whom are fellow residents of Pennswood Village. He is also survived by his three children and their spouses, Richard Scott and Patricia Lewis Kauffman, Craig Preston and Judy McLean Kauffman, Laura Jane and Michael Szymendera, along with seven grandchildren, Richard Lewis Kauffman, Kathryn Szymendera Johnson, Matthew Scott Kauffman, Melissa Lynn Szymendera, Gregory Scott Kauffman, Justin Pierce Kauffman, and Meredith Burrell Kauffman, and two great-grandchildren, Mason and Sadie Johnson.

A memorial service will be held at Thompson Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1680 Aquetong Road, New Hope, PA 18938 (off of River Road south of New Hope) on Saturday, February 4, 2017 at noon. A private burial service will occur at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations in memory of Richard Kauffman to the Employee Scholarship Fund, Pennswood Village, 1382 Newtown-Langhorne Road, Newtown, PA 18940

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Swartz-Givnish Funeral Home, Inc.

323 East Washington Avenue
Newtown, PA 18940
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