Ray Billings was one of the finest human beings I have ever met. He WAS the best engineer I have ever met. He was a business partner for many years and I never knew him to deviate from what he knew was "right". He was a no-compromise individual that was firmly his own man. He defined excellent character.
He was also a brilliant engineer of the hands-on variety. I met him working at a catalog showroom in 1973 selling stereo equipment. He was 18 and I was 16 . A few years later, Ray had completed his BSEE degree at CU ( 1978 or 79) While doing so, he built his own Z80 computer from the component level, designed a discrete disk controller board, wrote his own operating system and assembler. We started 2500 AD software together in 1980.
Ray loved to write cross-assemblers for new microprocessors. He loved new microprocessor designs. It was a joy when the new data book on the latest Intel single chip arrived or when the Motorola 68000 was released. He knew the instruction sets of some 50 microprocessors will enough to write cross-assemblers that ran on everything from an Osborne I to an IBM PC, APPLE and Unix and PDP 11.
When we got our first UNIX box from Zilog, a Z-8000 based, small, refrigerator-sized thing. He wrote a database from the ground up, in C, in order to create a customer tracking and shipping systems to operate on it. He met his wife Barb, who joined our company. They later married and had children. There is so much more to write about Ray that I hope to l finish at a later time. He died from a sudden stroke in the prime of his life over a decade ago. We were both estranged at the time in our friendship. Something that has kept me from writing about him for this long. I had decided to use my new-found wealth to take a mid-life retirement and move to Aspen Colorado. He used his share to raise a family and to move and and extend the business to Buena Vista, Colorado. There is so much about those years I wish to learn, but it is painful for me to go there, but I must. The pain comes from the realizations of my failings as a friend.
2500AD software was purchased by Avocet Systems several years ago.