Herbert S. Shimmin ’56 died on July 7, 2008, in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
He was born in Boston on February 27, 1934, and prepared for college at Melrose (Mass.) High School. He attended Northeastern University for two years before transferring in 1954 to Bowdoin, where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. Partially deaf since birth, he thrived at Bowdoin at a time when accommodations for disabilities were uncommon. He was a James Bowdoin Scholar who graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and went on to earn a master’s degree in education from Harvard in 1957. He taught for one year at St. Martin’s Protestant Episcopal School in Metairie, La., but his hearing loss made disciplining the students difficult. He decided to focus his considerable mathematical skills on the nascent computer industry, beginning in what would become known as the “Route 128 Corridor” outside of Boston. He worked as an engineering programmer at Wolf Research & Development Co. in Bedford, Mass., from 1959 to 1961, then at M.I.T. Lincoln Lab in Lexington from 1961 to 1964. That position took him to the Marshall Islands, where he spent several years working on the Pacific Missile Range. He worked for the next five years for Radio Corp. of America in Burlington before moving to Florida to accept a position at Balmar Corp. in Palm Beach, where he remained for the rest of his life. He also served as a senior programmer for the school board of Palm Beach County.