Sunday, January 29, 2012

John G. Fletcher RIP

I sadly note the recent death of my stepfather, John G. Fletcher. Like my father he had a doctorate in physics and had a long career at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. Unlike my father he quickly moved away from physics to work in the lab's computation department. Here is a 1983 video in which he talks about the lab's computer systems. And here are transcripts of interviews with him in 1993 and 1995 looking back at his career at the lab. Finally here is the wikipedia article on Fletcher's checksum which he invented.

He shared my interest in mathematical games and puzzles and continued to work on them after he retired in 1993. He submitted many solutions to IBM's monthly Ponder This puzzle from November 2001 through June 2011, before, during and after the period I was puzzlemaster.

I took the photo in 1991 at Big Sand Lake, near Park Rapids Minnesota, where his parents lived. I have fond memories of vacationing there in the early 1990s.


  1. Dear Sir,

    My condolences for your loss. Who were your step fathers parents? What did the G stand for? Just curious. My name also is John Fletcher. I do a bit of geneology research in my spare time, which I seem to have little of. I would love to know more about your step father.


    John Fletcher
    Marshall, MO

  2. The G. stood for George. His parents were Howard and Linda Fletcher. Howard Fletcher rose to a fairly high level in the FBI but then fell out of favor with Hoover. He is mentioned several times in the book "The FBI-KGB war: a special agents story" by Roger J. Lamphere.

  3. I just found your blog on John Fletcher so am late in commenting. Sorry to hear of his passing. I was looking up your Mother Gail to see if she was still at the Livermore Ave. address where she had a B&B called the Shearer Home where I stayed for a couple weeks in the early or mid 1990's when I was on temp. detail working at the Livermore Lab. Very nice home -it was recommended by Dr.Duba who I interviewed at the Lab. I remember the long Swiss horn in the living room, the big cloisonne table lamps,the small cozy library room filled with books, the Adirondack style chairs outside the house, the pretty purple (iris?) flowers planted outside my bedroom window, and a pet cat or two. I really enjoyed it. Gail was so nice, and I do recall seeing Dr. Fletcher in the home briefly a couple times. Wow - he was a very accomplished physicist/scientist! (My brother-in-law also has a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the Univ. of Wash.) I live in Bellevue, WA. Regards to your Mother. I will always have fond memories of my stay at your parent's home. Donna O.

  4. Hi Donna. Thanks for posting your memories of Gail and John. Gail continued living at that address until last year when she had to move for health reasons. After Gail and John were married they kept their individual homes for some years but eventually John sold his house and moved in with Gail. About that time Gail stopped running the B&B.