was basically hoping to resolve a technological issue when he invented the GIF, or graphics interchange structure, in 1987. As a programmer at the computer system-products and services organization CompuServe, he was looking for a way for consumers of incompatible computers to share graphics documents.
The first GIF he developed was unspectacular—a photograph of an plane. Only a great deal later was the technologies tailored for the brief, looping animations that jazz up social-media postings.
Mr. Wilhite, who died March 14 of Covid-19 at the age of 74, “never acquired 1 cent” out of his invention, claimed his spouse, Kathaleen Wilhite. Nor, she claimed, did he complain about not building a fortune: “He was just so proud that he had accomplished that.”
He did gain a Webby life span achievement award in 2013 for inventing the GIF. At the insistence of his spouse, he rented a tuxedo for the ceremony. He utilized the event to tell the planet that GIF is pronounced like Jif, the peanut butter brand. Mr. Wilhite’s favourite GIF was a basic that includes a dancing child.
Around the age of 51, he retired early just after struggling a stroke that made it difficult for him to talk evidently. He relished tenting and tinkering with a design prepare format that stuffed a 170-sq.-foot area in his household in Milford, Ohio.
Stephen Earl Wilhite was born March 3, 1948, and grew up in West Chester, Ohio, around Cincinnati. His father labored in a manufacturing unit, and his mom was a nurse. He attended Ohio Point out University on a scholarship.
Survivors include his spouse, a son from an before marriage and four sisters. He satisfied Kathaleen Bauer as a result of an net dating services in 2009. Their 1st date was at a Cracker Barrel restaurant. They married about a yr later.
Create to James R. Hagerty at [email protected]
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Appeared in the March 26, 2022, print edition as ‘GIF Inventor Began With Modest Goal.’