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Kirk Alexander


1950 - 2013 | Obituary Condolences
Kirk Alexander, a Davis, CA resident who was instrumental in helping the University of California develop on-line courses, passed away peacefully at home on October 1 after a courageous 4-year battle with cancer. His wife Joan and daughters Kate and Christine were by his side. He was 63 years old. Kirk was born in Denver, Colorado on June 9, 1950 the first son of parents Bruce D. and Phyllis S. ("Chick") Alexander. He spent his early years in Denver, but attended high school in the east, graduating from Choate preparatory school ('68). Kirk received a B.A. degree in Art History ('72) and a M.S. degree in Civil Engineering ('75) from Princeton University. In 1975, Kirk went to work for Princeton University, where he led various educational technology projects until 2003. He lived in the Princeton area for 35 years. In 2003, Kirk and his family moved to Davis, California, where he managed educational technology and online learning projects at the University of California. Kirk married Joan Ogden in 1989 and they have two daughters Kate Alexander, 23, of Somerville, MA, and Christine Alexander, 19, of New York City, NY. Kirk had a lifelong love of the beauty he found in nature, art and technology. This love was expressed in his work, and in his many avocations and interests. Kirk was a pioneer in using computer technology in the humanities. As a student he developed some of the first-ever computer models of Gothic cathedrals which enabled new understandings of architectural history. He led Princeton's University's Interactive Computer Graphics Laboratory in the 1980s, a seedbed for creative use of graphics in science, math and the arts. He was the technical lead on the Piero project, a sophisticated use of computer graphics in art history. A rare mind who could travel in both the art and technology worlds, Kirk brought the practitioners of these disciplines together in new ways and catalyzed new insights. Over the past few years, he worked as Technology Lead for UC Online Education at University of California's Office of the President. He had a brilliant intellect and a wonderful ability to see things from many sides, combined with humor and realism. Kirk loved the outdoors and was an avid hiker, biker, skier and kayaker. Some of his happiest times were spent hiking the trails around Miramonte, the Alexander family mountain home in Coal Creek canyon, Colorado. He also loved astronomy, and spent many hours stargazing and seeking to understand the universe. He especially enjoyed star parties, taking his daughters on jaunts into the country to look at deep sky wonders. Kirk was generous and giving and made many good friends throughout the world. They will miss him dearly. Kirk served his community through his involvement with the Davis Schools Foundation, Tuleyome, and the Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society. Kirk is survived by his wife of 24 years Joan Ogden of Davis, California and his daughters Kate Alexander and Christine Alexander. Also surviving him are his father Bruce D. Alexander, and brothers Bruce K. (Lisa) and Paul (Carolyn), three nieces (Madison, Sarah, and Morgan Alexander), one nephew (Colton Alexander) and several cousins, all of Denver. His mother Phyllis pre-deceased him. His family and friends will miss him keenly. Many people helped during the last months of Kirk's life and the family feels truly blessed by their kindness. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests making a donation in Kirk's name to the environmental or to Yolo Hospice http://www.yolohospice.org/node/79/.


Published in DenverPost.com on Oct. 7, 2013
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