Bruce Bastian, Co-founder of WordPerfect and Longtime LGBTQ Advocate, Dies

Bruce Bastian Death: Bruce Wayne Bastian, a key American programmer and businessman, co-founded WordPerfect Software Company in 1978. He partnered with Alan Ashton. Their main achievement was developing WordPerfect, the early word-processing program. Bastian worked on it during his graduate studies at Brigham Young University. The software, initially a contract for Orem city, quickly became a computing staple. Notably, Bastian and Ashton maintained ownership.

A Legacy of Advocacy and Philanthropy

Bastian was a tech industry leader and a strong LGBTQ+ advocate. He co-founded Equality Utah, improving LGBTQ+ lives in Utah. The director of Equality Utah, Troy Williams, praised Bastian for being key to the community’s progress. He said, “Bruce is unmatched in his impact on LGBTQ+ Utahns.”

In a 2022 interview, David Parkinson emphasized Bastian’s broad support. He called Bastian a legend for his leadership and openness about his identity. Parkinson added that besides financial support, Bastian contributed his time, connections, and knowledge to Utah’s LGBTQ+ community.

Enduring Support During the AIDS Crisis

Former executive director of the Utah AIDS Foundation, Stan Penfold, reflected on Bastian’s unwavering support during the height of the AIDS crisis. “I joined the foundation in 1994. We were typically seeing anywhere from three to five of our clients dying every week. It’s really hard to think about how horrific that time was,” Penfold shared. Despite the fear and stigma surrounding the disease, Bastian’s commitment never faltered. “I think it’s safe for me to say he changed my life,” Penfold added. “He made it possible for me to do something that I cared very deeply about and I’ll always remember him for that.”

National Impact and Recognition

Bastian’s impact stretched beyond Utah. He supported the national marriage equality movement and was a key donor and board member of the Human Rights Campaign. Equality Utah’s statement praised his far-reaching influence. It said, “Bruce’s influence went beyond Utah. He was a top backer of marriage equality nationwide. Also, he was instrumental in the Human Rights Campaign. His support was crucial. Our community is deeply grateful.”

A Patron of the Arts

Bastian’s giving boosted the performing arts. He supported groups like the Utah Symphony + Opera, Ballet West, and the University of Utah. His efforts were so notable that President Obama added him to the Presidential Advisory Committee of the Arts in 2010.

In Memoriam

Bruce Bastian, an influential figure in the tech industry and LGBTQ+ rights, died at 76. His death is a significant loss for many. He was known for his innovation, compassion, and support. The community deeply mourns his passing. We offer our sincere condolences to his husband, Clint, his friends, and his children. They remember and celebrate a life that touched many.

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