Ralph Kelley Ungermann
Resident of San Francisco
Ralph Kelley Ungermann departed peacefully, surrounded by family on June 2 after bravely battling Parkinson's disease. Ralph was born 1/20/42 in Provo Utah. His family moved to Santa Paula, California when he was three.
Due to his illustrious career in Silicon Valley, Ralph was considered a founding father of the data communication industry, and often described as one of the most important minds of the computer era.
In 1974 he co-founded Zilog, the first company dedicated to microprocessor production for the personal computer. In 1978 he co-founded Ungermann-Bass, which dominated the LAN side of computing and networking. His final startup was in 1994 when he founded First Virtual Corp, which created software to allow the transfer of data, images, sound and video conferencing on-line. Ralph's final venture began in 2003 with the co-founding of China Seed LLC, a Shanghai based Venture Capital firm with focused investments in China and Taiwan.
Often described as a visionary, he touched many lives in an important way. He helped elevate human communications to a higher level through technology. He once said, "I like to pioneer things, create a space that does not exist. If you can imagine it, you can create it. It is much more fun and challenging to create an industry, than to follow someone else".
Ralph was a lover of nature, animals and all living things. He enjoyed fine wines, a life of adventure and travel, learning new things, and sharing with his loved ones.
He is survived by his wife Ellen Coleman Ungermann, his daughter Annette Kelly, his son Scott Ungermann, and his six grandchildren Anastasia Scheichl, Scott Kelly, William Kelly, Christina, Annette, and Francesca Ungermann. His siblings were Eileen Miller, Mary Schultz, Phillip Ungermann, and Kathleen Van Ausdal.
His life celebration will be held at Fernwood Funeral Home, 301 Tennessee Valley Road, Mill Valley, CA 94941 on June 28th at 12:00pm.
Donations may be made in his memory to: SFSPCA 201 Alabama St. San Francisco, CA 94103.
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Jun. 7, 2015.