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ANSI Mourns the Loss of Donald C. Loughry, Pioneer of Digital Interface Standards

Donald C. Loughry, whose leadership and support of domestic and international standards initiatives brought about the growth of computer networking and wireless communications technology, passed away on February 22, 2012, at the age of 81.

Mr. Loughry began his career in 1956 at the Hewlett-Packard Company in Palo Alto, California, where he worked until his retirement in 1998. During his more than 40 years of service to the industry, Mr. Loughry played a pivotal role in the development and evolution of digital interface standards for connected computer networks and wireless devices, notably with IEEE, the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS), and its predecessor organization, ANSI Accredited Standards Committee X3.

Among his many contributions to the standards world, he was a key initiator of IEEE's 802 family of standards, which has had tremendous implications for local area networks (LANs) and wireless communications technology. In the 1970s he led work on a key standard that made it easier for machines to interface with each other, IEEE 488, Digital Interface for Programmable Instrumentation. Within a decade, the standard was used in thousands of products. He was also a driving force in the 802.3 working group, which defined a 10 megabit per second (Mbps) connection standard in 1985.

In the 1990s Mr. Loughry helped lead the development of the 802.11 standards for wireless LANs. The 802.11 wireless standard, which is ubiquitous today, provides the structure for wireless data transfer to laptops and other handheld devices we rely on every day.

Mr. Loughry served on the U.S. delegation to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) / International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC1), Information Technology¸ and served as head of the delegation during the creation of the JTC 1 Publicly Available Specification (PAS) process.

An IEEE Life Senior Member, he helped launch the IEEE Standards Association, serving as its first president, and as IEEE vice president of standards in 1996. Mr. Loughry also served as a member of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Information Systems Standards Board, the ANSI Information Technology Consultative Committee, and the ANSI Information Infrastructure Standards Panel.

For his standards efforts, Mr. Loughry earned many awards, including ANSI's Edward Lohse Information Technology Medal in 1997, the 2003 IEEE Charles P. Steinmetz Award, and the 2011 IEEE Richard M. Emberson Award.

A memorial will take place on Saturday, March 24, at 2 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 625 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto, California. Further details are available in Mr. Loughry's obituary.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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