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Ian Patrick SHARP
1932 - 2021
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IAN PATRICK SHARP March 25, 1932 - July 16, 2021 Ian Patrick Sharp, 89, died peacefully in Sarasota, Florida, on Friday, July 16, a few months after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Ian was born in Dublin, of an Irish mother and Scottish father. He was raised in London and Leeds, with a wartime evacuation to an aunt in Dublin. Ian trained as a fighter pilot in the RAF during his National Service, then studied Engineering at Cambridge University. He was a management trainee in the steel industry, where he encountered the Ferranti Pegasus computer. Ian immigrated to Canada in 1960, and found a job as chief programmer at Ferranti's Toronto branch, Ferranti-Packard. There he headed a small team, (including the sole female programmer, Audrey Williams, who became his wife), which wrote the operating system and compilers for an early parallel-processing computer, the FP6000, which became the model for the UK ICL 1900 series. When Ferranti-Packard folded its computer division in 1964, Ian and 6 colleagues formed I.P.Sharp Associates, (IPSA), a computer software consultancy. Over the next 23 years the company grew into a multi-national enterprise, with about 600 employees in 60 branches in Australasia, Europe and North America. A version of e-mail was available in-house and to customers from 1969. The company specialised in the creation of software to handle very large data bases, and software for process control systems in industrial reactors, air traffic control and military applications. Network applications, decades before the advent of the World Wide Web and Cloud Computing, were customised to large multinational banking and industrial companies. Ian was a much-loved CEO, who gave free rein to very bright and driven employees - casual dress and flex-time were taken for granted, back in the 70's. I.P.Sharp Associates was acquired by Reuters in 1987. The IPSA culture of enthusiasm and camaraderie lived on after the company was absorbed into Reuters - 27 years later 200 former colleagues gathered in Toronto for a party to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of IPSA. Ian retired in 1989. He and his wife began spending winters on Longboat Key, and became residents and eventually US citizens. In retirement, Ian became an avid tennis player, only hanging up his racquet 8 weeks ago. He was a 25 year volunteer for Meals on Wheels, and served on the Board of the Children's Guardian Fund. Ian is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Audrey, daughter Helen and her husband Greg Flamme, son Matthew and his wife Tove, and three grandchildren: Sarah Payne, Beatrice and Charles Ian Sharp. He was predeceased by his twin sister Helen Norton and older sister Margaret Clough. A gathering in Ian's memory will take place in Sarasota in the near future, and a memorial will be held online for friends and family around the world. Donations, if desired, are suggested to your local Meals on Wheels program.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Globe and Mail from Jul. 20 to Jul. 24, 2021.
Memories & Condolences
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16 entries
July 26, 2021
I knew Ian as a fellow computer guy in the 60's and subsequent years. His sense of humour was excellent, his management skills were legendary. I remember his telling me that his APL service backed up everything from day 1. Clearly, he anticipated many of the problems we see today.
His was a life well-lived and I feel richer having known him. With condolences and best wishes to his family.
Bill Jenkins
Friend
July 26, 2021
Anne and I were greatly saddened to learn of Ian’s passing. We both continue to be extremely grateful to Ian for bringing us to Canada in 1966. At that time IPSA was just a small company, less than 20 people, and it was very much like joining a family.
Ian was kind and considerate and was always held in great respect by those who knew him.
Our thoughts and sincere condolences go out to Audrey and family.
Anne and Mike Harrop
Michael Harrop
Friend
July 24, 2021
A great Entrepreneur and Manager!! I interacted with him several times when I was with IPSA from 1974 to 1980. May his soul rest in peace.
Ashok Kondapi
Coworker
July 24, 2021
A very gentle and gracious gentleman and very unassuming despite the business and position he'd built.

I too was with IPSA in London (along with Nicki) and the company embodied all the modern mantras of openness, empowerment of staff and agile working ... not that these were terms at the time. And of course we had been using Email internally for 20 years when I joined in 82 ... long before most people even knew what Email was a long before even TCP/IP or SMTP existed.

My thoughts are with Audrey and Ian's surviving family
Iain Hunneybell
Coworker
July 23, 2021
Dear Audrey, I am so sorry for your loss. My working career started in England with ICL 1900s, the machine that Ferranti and I believe Ian's team developed. I remember when my manager told me of the machine's Canadian origins. Little did I know I would work with IP Sharp later on. It was so exciting to be a part of what he started and I am very glad of the experience he made possible. Sandy
Sandy Eadie
Coworker
July 23, 2021
I remember Rob Morrison and myself working late in the IPSA London office one night (for those that remember, the Alpha node could not be taken out of service during the day). On our way out we were surprised to find a light on in one of the offices. It was Ian. Rob, not a man you would ever describe as shy, put his head round the door and said to Ian "we are going down the pub for a beer, do you want to come?". Of course Ian said yes, and we spent the evening talking about life, the universe and IPSANET with the boss of the entire company. Nothing remotely like that ever happened when we worked for Reuters (smile).

I remember Ian as a kind man and a gentle man, in both senses of the word. He will be greatly missed and I extend my condolences to Audrey and the family.
Mike Smith
Coworker
July 23, 2021
Group of 10 Memorial Trees
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Julianne Albino
July 23, 2021
IPSA. Didn’t we have a blast. Thank you, Ian. RIP.

Ian Sharp Quotations and Anecdotes: http://www.jsoftware.com/papers/SharpQA.htm
Roger Hui
Coworker
July 22, 2021
Very sad to hear that Ian has passed away. As an ex Sharpie (London UK) he made a huge difference to my life. He created a unique organisation which was exciting to work in. He encouraged people to be creative and to avoid bureaucracy and management speak.

I am very proud to have worked at IP Sharp which was definitely at the leading edge of the IT world. But IPSA was more than just a company, it was a community of friends learning and working towards a common purpose, and it was Ian that made it possible. He will not be forgotten.

My sympathies to all his family, he will surely be greatly missed.
David Weatherby
Coworker
July 22, 2021
I joined IPSA in London, UK, straight from university and I have very fond memories of working there, making lifelong friendships. The positive culture instilled by Ian led to great flexibility. I remember that the management eventually cracked down on us, insisting that we all must be in the office by 11am! There was great camaraderie and this led to great solutions for clients, all thanks to Ian’s forward thinking leadership.
Best wishes to Audrey and family.
Nicki Coyne
Coworker
July 21, 2021
I was an APL consultant in Vancouver in the 70's and 80's and worked with and for IPSA. I have fond memories working with John, Carol and Zeke. I met Ian there a few times. I came from Stats Canada and was very impressed with IPSA's approach to data, before and after Reuters. APL and Canada are very connected.
Barry Bogart
Work
July 21, 2021
Audrey and family Judy and I send our deepest condolences during these ever so troubling times
ervin e sande
Friend
July 20, 2021
I worked for Ian at IPSA in the early 1970s IPSA was a remarkable adventure made special by many people but primarily by Ian and the people he chose to manage the company. Ian was always kind and managed to bring together an amazing group of individuals. The huge turn out at the IPSA 25 celebration was a testament to the high regard all of us had of the company. I am honoured to have been able to participate in a small way in the success that was I.P.Sharp Associates.
My condolences to Audrey and all of their family - may Ian rest in peace and memory of him carry on.
Kerry Liles
Coworker
July 20, 2021
He was a very fine person, it was a pleasure working for him and I wish his family all the best! May you all have nothing but fond remembrances!
Isaac Ehrlich
Friend
July 20, 2021
Walter and I extend sincere condolences to Audrey and her family.
Jean Kelly-Keirstead
July 19, 2021
Ian offered us employment with a positive culture that I have not experienced in decades of employment since. He respected his staff and that permeated through the whole organization. When Reuters bought us out, the representative said that he didn't know how many staff were a member of Mensa, but a huge percentage of the staff would be eligible. Going to the reunion was like seeing family again and the broad smile on Ian's face when he saw us all there, and so excited to be together again, said it all.
Ann Vavasour
Coworker
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