Jan 19 2009
My father-in-law, Jack Steele, passed away today. It wasn’t entirely unexpected, he’d been ill for a while, and getting up in years. He was known to many in the Dayton, Ohio area science fiction community as a fan, and to many others as the “father” of bionics. (Which I guess makes me the brother-in-law of bionics — and Jack always had a sense of humor.) He coined the term while doing research for the Air Force, later SF author Martin Caidin picked up his work and used the term – crediting then-Major Steele – in his book Cyborg. That was later picked up by Hollywood and turned into the TV series The Six Million Dollar Man, which is where most people first heard the term.
Jack did more than just that, of course. As a systems engineer, medical doctor and psychiatrist he had unique insights into the human mind, and after retiring from the Air Force went on to work a psychiatric word, helping many patients that others had given up on.
Of course his most significant contribution in my opinion was his daughter, Jill, to whom I’ve been married for twenty years.
He has a Wikipedia entry, and the Dayton Daily News ran a lengthy obituary.
Fly high, Jack.