Richard Thomas Gagnon
1939 - 2017
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Gagnon

Richard Thomas 78, of Milford, passed away on Monday, November 6, 2017. He was born to the late Thomas and Ruth Gagnon, on July 9, 1939. Richard attended Dondero High School, before attending UofM, where he obtained a BS in Electrical Engineering. He was also a member of Trigon fraternity, and then later obtained a BS in Mathematics from WSU. Richard became a world class leader in Speech Synthesis, and helped put Michigan and Detroit on the map for Technology. He invented the world's first marketed voice synthesizer in his basement laboratory. It was available in 1972, and changed the way Man and Machine communicate profoundly. It would turn any touch tone phone into a computer terminal, allowing businesses to check information from a different location. It also gave people a synthetic voice to communicate with others. It was sold as a "VOTRAX" Type and Talk, a VS6, and many other names. This led to the development of the SC-01 computer chip, the world's first unlimited vocabulary speech synthesis chip. All Votrax speech synthesizers owed their existence to Richard. He had 18 patents around the world in his speech synthesis inventions. He was also a troubleshooter, and saved countless lives involving automotive recalls. He was mostly a one man show, being hands-on with all aspects of his inventions. Richard is survived by his wife Janis, his children, Sheila Janis Gagnon and Erik Richard Gagnon (Genevieve). He was a proud grandfather to Ryan, Rose, Isabelle, Alex, and Aaron, and his beloved cat Prince. He leaves behind numerous loving relatives and friends.




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Published in Detroit Free Press & The Detroit News on Nov. 11, 2017.
MEMORIES & CONDOLENCES
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20 entries
November 8, 2019
Love U
Erik Gagnon
June 16, 2019
Happy Father's Day
Erik Richard Gagnon
January 31, 2019
How about this weather? It's like 1994, -25 in Lansing closed school for the first time. We laughed about me going to my 8 o'clock. Miss you Dad. Erik Richard Gagnon
Erik Gagnon
July 11, 2018
Happy belated birthday dad ! I love u Erik Richard Gagnon
Erik Gagnon
February 6, 2018
Dad, I miss you and grandp talking. I wish I had been older so I could have joined the conversation. It was wonderful to watch your relationship as a child. I hope I can do that with my children someday. You got sick before we could, but I do remember talking to you in early 1994. That was a great conversation over the phone. Erik Richard Gagnon.
Erik Gagnon
December 19, 2017
Dad, I love you
Erik Richard Gagnon
Erik Gagnon
December 3, 2017
Dad, I remembered the Christmas lights you put up when Sheila and I were children. Your TV antenna was 100 feet tall, and you would climb right up to the top like it was nothing. Then you would hang Christmas lights down both sides in the form of a tree. We could see it from 3 miles away. You always put so much soul into everything you did. The patience you had was amazing. Friends think I have patience, nothing compared to you. Erik Richard Gagnon.
Erik Gagnon
November 23, 2017
Dad, Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you for making your life all about giving, and not about taking. The sacrifices you made for the world, and our family will always be remembered. I love you, you were the best role model for me. We are givers also. Thank you for showing us your love of people outside just family. Erik Richard Gagnon
Erik Gagnon
November 18, 2017
Dad I rember everything you taught us. I will be sure to use your wisdom you shared with Sheila and I. How were you born so wise? The Lord blessed you father. Thank you for sharing your faith with us. Erik Richard Gagnon
November 18, 2017
Dad, also thank you for sharing your love of animals with Sheila and I. You were always trying to connect us with nature. You would feed opossums, birds, stray cats. I always like to look at that picture of you as a little boy with your dog Brownie. You had such a bond with Prince. The cat was supposed to be for Sheila and I, but he was really your cat wasnt he? LOL. Erik Richard Gagnon.
Erik Gagnon
Son
November 18, 2017
I smelled your coffee by the way. Thanks for that :) Erik
Erik Gagnon
Son
November 18, 2017
Hey dad, how is it going with grandma and grandpa? I remember you showing me the universe out of the back seat of our 1984 Buick Electra wagon. The back seat faced backwards. Back then we could see the Milky Way in Highland, off Dunham Drive in our subdivision. Thanks for believing in science and God. You taught Sheila and I that we can truly believe in both. Man, Nature, Technology, and God :) I feel sorry for those that cannot except this. Our planet of visions was created by God. Thanks for making DETROIT so ELECTRIC, and beautiful. God blessed all of us. ERIK RICHARD GAGNON
Erik Gagnon
November 17, 2017
I'll never forget your amazing invention and walking into your's and Jan's Rochester home and the speech synthesizer said hi Jeri and I was amazed. What a genius you were. Sheila and Erik are the other 2 amazing parts of your's and Jan's marriage. We will miss u Rich. Blessings to your wife, children and family. Jeri and Glen
Jeri and Glen Pettit
November 16, 2017
Sheila, I'm so sorry to see this. I know you & your family will miss him very much. Big Hug to you.
DIXIE GARCIA
November 16, 2017
You were the most interesting father anyone could have, and most intelligent. We all had so much fun at times also. Maybe I can get the 8 millimeter vcr working to watch the past videos of all of us.
Sheila Gagnon
November 15, 2017
Genevieve Gagnon
November 15, 2017
Genevieve Gagnon
November 13, 2017
Dad, you had such a good sense of humor, I wish I was half as funny as you were. My friends all thought you were such a mad scientist with all the shinanagans you pulled. good night, Erik
Erik Gagnon
November 11, 2017
Good night father:)
Erik Gagnon
November 11, 2017
I love you dad. You are a hero to many, and most of all me. You helped so many TALK that had no voice. What a miracle gift you have given to all of us. I hope grandpa and you are having a good time..... ERIK RICHARD GAGNON
Erik Gagnon
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