Letter to the Editor: Computer doctor’s skills, loyalty will be missed


Recently Jim Collegeman, our computer House Call Doctor of 25 years, died.

His car in our driveway communicated assurance that he was moved in until the bugs and the havoc in my computer were gone. He had to know a lot of what my business was up to, to know what processes had to be in place.

When I worked in Bangladesh, he somehow made it possible for me to use my Strasburg computer – amazing. Finding computer components in a city of 16 million, but no phone book, required labyrinthine rickshaw hunts. I learned it was more reliable to phone home and parts would arrive from Strasburg via United Parcel Service.  Jim considered computer problems culturally unacceptable. No glitch could survive his pursuit of grace.

Jim’s time spent in our home office often exceeded that of my wife’s and son’s.  He would respond to my emergency call seeking help to meet deadlines. Hours would pass before I would see him on his feet, which was his wordless signal that I was once again saved. His quizzical intensity would be transformed into his 100-watt smile of man’s victory over the machine. He would almost whisper, “Running. Still something odd.” He was never off guard from dangers lurking out there in the digital revolution, as if it were a war of the computer companies growing faster than their understanding. It was their race and we were the paying audience.

Technical bad manners so annoyed him, he would strike back by undercharging for his service to reduce the damages done to the helpless public by the systematic marketing of not-yet-ready technology. He was a one man leveler of our fears of the ever expanding cyber unknown.

We have a next generation IT doctor now who is fine but he doesn’t remember when my computers needed no hard drives and we were not under attack by the invasive future. Jim and I shared the past.

Few people in my long life are so appreciated as was Dr. Collegeman of Strasburg. He will be remembered for his friendship, grace under fire and his loyalty.

Tim Maloney, Strasburg