Gerald Huff
1964 - 2018
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Gerald Huff

May 11, 1964 - November 17, 2018

After a shockingly short seven week battle with an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer, Gerald Huff passed away in his sleep at home in Berkeley on November 17, 2018 at the age of 54. He was born on May 11, 1964 in New York City. When his family moved to San Francisco in 1977, he entered San Francisco University High School as a freshman. There began his fascination with computers and the problem-solving potential of coding. He then attended Harvard University where he met Judy Bliss, the love of his life. After graduation, he began his career at the management consulting firm of Bain & Co. in Boston. When his father was also diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Gerald moved back to the Bay Area in 1986. In spite of the long-distance aspect of their relationship, Judy and Gerald married in October of 1988 and had two children, Paul and Jane. He is survived by his wife and children, his mother, Gisèle and his sister, Michèle.

After leaving Bain & Co., Gerald co-founded Avantos, a start-up that created management software. He was proud that the business grew to $7 million in revenues over six years but it was ahead of its time and closed for lack of growth. Given his expertise, he was quickly recruited by Intuit where he remained for twelve years attaining the position of director of the Technology Innovation Group. In 2010, he joined Tesla as a principal software engineer to work on the Model S infotainment system and later became the technical lead for the software that manages the flow of thousands of Model 3 parts throughout the factory. He was drawn to Tesla's mission to transform transportation from fossil fuels to electricity.

Gerald loved to travel and explore new places, from scuba-diving in the Great Barrier Reef to trekking to Machu Picchu. He was very invested in education, and served on the board of his children's K-8 school, Prospect Sierra in El Cerrito. He was also politically active and was passionate about making the world a better place. He was especially concerned about the growing income divide in the country and the prospect of technological unemployment which led him to become a strong proponent of Universal Basic Income. This inspired him to write a novel, Crisis: 2038, a techno-thriller with a moral imperative, which was just published posthumously and is available on Amazon.

The world has lost a great man, loved, admired and respected by all who knew him, and his family, friends and colleagues will miss him terribly. A private family celebration of life will be held in mid-December. To honor Gerald, the family asks that you order a copy of his book, Crisis: 2038, read it, and share it widely.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Nov. 25 to Dec. 2, 2018.
Memories & Condolences
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20 entries
May 18, 2019
I just learned of Gerald's passing and am so sad to hear it. He and I worked together on a volunteer project during the 2016 election, building a get out the vote app. His contributions were instrumental. He made important changes to the concept, wrote a substantial chunk of the code, and then helped manage the system on the day of the election. Through his work hundreds of people were given rides to the polls who would otherwise have had trouble voting. He was a pleasure to work with, an exquisite engineer, and willing to give a huge amount of personal time to a cause he believed in. He told me he was unable to participate in 2018 for health reasons, now I see the full extent of it. His code continues to help people--it was used again in 2018, and will probably be deployed again in 2020. I wish he was here to see it.
John McGrath
March 4, 2019
I was so saddened and shocked to learn of Gerald's passing last week when I read about it in Harvard Magazine. I met Gerald as a freshman in college when he lived in Matthews South and I lived in Matthews North, with my good friend Maxine. (My maiden name was Constantikes.) I remember hanging out with him and Maxine over the course of a few months, and how his eyes lit up when he talked. Then, when he smiled, his eyes lit up even more.

I lost touch with him after that. Since college, I periodically followed his career by reading about him up on the internet. What a wonderful man he became! I'm especially impressed by his focus on the concept he spoke about over the past few years, Basic Income Guarantee. As his family has requested, I plan to buy his novel.

From everything I've read, he was a wonderful husband, father, colleague, partner, and human being, who was generous to all. My heart goes out to his family and friends, and everyone whose lives he touched. I will keep you all in my thoughts.
Patricia Colella
February 11, 2019
My deepest condolences. Sincerely, Kimberly Fullerton (UHS '81).
kimberly fullerton
December 12, 2018
I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn tonight of Gerald's passing. Gerald gave generously every year to my organization, Forests Forever, a forest-protection and -conservation advocacy nonprofit, and for many years. Each year during the holidays I would have an extended chat with Gerald, sometimes by phone, but on many occasions sitting in his living room in Berkeley in front of the fireplace. On those visits I got to meet his gracious wife Judith, and his delightful, bright, courteous children. Gerald's intelligence, warmth and compassion were obvious; to meet him was to instantly like him. I knew he supported many other efforts to make the world a better place, including electing quality candidates to public office, people who would fight to protect the Earth from its current and ongoing assault. Every time I heard Tesla or Intuit mentioned in the news I thought of Gerald. We have lost a truly wonderful human being. RIP Gerald, and thanks for your many good works. You will be missed. -- Paul Hughes, Executive Director, Forests Forever, Berkeley
Paul Hughes
December 7, 2018
Truly shocked to hear this news. Have many fond memories of Gerald at Trinity and in NYC, but somehow we never managed to reconnect in the Bay Area. Easily one of the smartest people I've ever known. Nice to read all the tributes ahead of mine. Thoughts are with his family.
tony stearns
December 2, 2018
I worked with Gerald at Intuit, not closely, but near. He was one of those people that even near meant you were impacted by him, and even not near he made you a better person via his intellect and positive nature. RIP, Gerald. We are all better off for knowing you. Thank you for that impact.
Jana Eggers
December 1, 2018
I was so shocked and saddened at the loss of Gerald from this world. I worked with him at Intuit in the Technology Innovation Group and I think everyone would agree that he was deeply admired, respected and liked by everyone...not always an easy feat. I found him brilliant and kind. We shared stories of the struggles of raising teenagers and we became friends along the way. He will be deeply missed in this world and I am glad that he did not suffer long - he certainly deserved to leave this life peacefully. RIP, Gerald. Heaven is lucky to have you...while we miss you.
Eileen Fagan
December 1, 2018
I'm so sad to hear of Gerald's sudden passing. Gerald was my friend and coworker for a decade at Intuit. We worked closely together on numerous projects and I loved working with him. He was the kind of person everyone admires: kind to everyone around him, extremely bright, and hardworking.
Brian Morearty
November 30, 2018
I was shocked and saddened by Gerald's sudden passing. I'd head that he was ill only a few weeks ago and had a brief exchange with him on Facebook. Having heard that he was so ill, I was wrestling with the best way to share some thoughts with Gerald about how much I admired him and what a big impact working with him had on me for the rest of my career. Sadly, I didn't get the opportunity to tell him, but wanted to make sure that his beloved family could receive my deep condolences and could hear what I wish I'd shared with Gerald.

I had the great fortune to co-lead a technology innovation group at Intuit with Gerald. Gerald was one of the most focused and productive people I'd ever met. He had a brilliant mind, and made it look easy to set an inspiring vision for the future and then execute the vision with tireless focus. Gerald had founded the group before I joined and he didn't get to choose to have me join the team, let alone lead it with him. Despite that, he generously welcomed me into the group and we worked together to figure out how we could best use our complementary skills to co-lead successfully. We worked well together and were proud of the wonderful team of inventors and the accomplishments of the group. The attached photo showed us celebrating at the first TIG party.

We became friends as well as colleagues. We are about the same age and my two children are close to the ages of Paul and Jane, so we had many shared challenges and joys as our kids grew up. We loved talking about our families and it was a privilege to get to know about Gerald's family, of whom Gerald was so proud. Although I only had the pleasure of meeting Judy a couple of times, I felt like I knew her, Paul, and Jane, because of what Gerald shared. Judy, Gerald would light up whenever he talked about you. I know through him what a caring and empathetic doctor you must be to your patients, as well as being the absolute light of his life. Jane and Paul, your dad thought about you and talked about you at work all the time. He took such pleasure in both of you growing up and finding yourselves. Gerald was also so proud of his mother and all of her accomplishments. His family was everything to him and I'm heartbroken for all of you at your loss and rendered rather speechless to express how sorry I am.

I was lucky to have the chance to catch up with Gerald a couple of years ago. We had lunch in Oakland and talked about all the changes that we'd both been through since our TIG days. Gerald shared with me his news about the novel he was working on, as well as the exciting work he was doing for income equality. As always, I was impressed and thankful that the world had someone like Gerald in it. I'd started a new job after taking a year off and I'd shared with him that one of the best outcomes of spending my time differently was that I'd been able to both think about and act on the things that were most important to me, like spending time with a friend who was sick with cancer that year and had passed away recently. We talked about how short life is and how that knowledge had affected both of us. I'm grateful that I got that chance to see my dear friend Gerald. I also take comfort in knowing that Gerald's life was so well lived, full of love and a family he adored. And in the technology world, which has not always been a supportive and welcoming place for women, Gerald was a beacon of respect and integrity. I learned from Gerald every time I saw him and working with him and the rest of the TIG team was a career highlight for me. I hope he knew how much he meant to me and those he worked with. Rest in peace, dear friend.
Marie Floyd
November 30, 2018
Celebrating with Gerald at the TIG party
Marie Floyd
November 29, 2018
I am so very sorry for your loss. Gerald was a great friend and a great mind. I look forward to reading his book. My heart felt condolences to the Huff family. Kevin Douglas (UHS class of 81)
November 27, 2018
I am so sorry for your loss. May you receive strength and comfort from God. "He will make you firm, he will make you strong, he will firmly ground you." - 1Peter 5:10
November 27, 2018
My deepest sympathy for your loss. May you find comfort in the inspired words at John 6:40 where we are promised the hope of being reunited with our loved ones again in paradise.
November 27, 2018
May you Rest In Peace Gerald.
Scott Hill (UHS Class of 81)
November 26, 2018
I am terribly sad to hear this news and offer my deepest condolences to your family. I served on the Prospect Sierra board with Gerald and came to deeply appreciate his no-drama, straightforward approach to problem solving. He was a wonderful steward of the school and his efforts, particularly with regard to demographic analyses and financial sustainability, will continue to be felt through the community for the foreseeable future. With sympathy.
Jenny Chatman
November 26, 2018
On behalf of the Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation's Board of Directors, please accept our deepest sympathies on your loss.
Lynda Robbins
November 26, 2018
I am sorry for your great loss. May you find comfort from Isaiah 61:1,2 to sustain your family during this challenging time.
A neighbor
November 26, 2018
Deeply saddened to hear of Gerald's passing; he shone so bright, was unforgettable. Sending condolences to the Huff family in this time of loss. Tucker Malarkey (UHS class of '81)
November 26, 2018
So hard to believe Gerald has passed. What a great partner he was in founding and growing Avantos. I will always have the fondest memories of our time together, and of all the team successes we shared along the way. My deepest condolences to Judy and the family.
Norm Wu
November 26, 2018
So so sorry to hear this news. My deepest condolences to the all in the Huff family. Suzie Palmer Kabeiseman (UHS class of '81)
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