Tad McClellan, R.I.P.

Tad McClellan passed away last weekend.

Most Perl people probably Tad from his activity on Usenet, where he was a frequent and helpful presence on comp.lang.perl.*. I worked with him personally when he handled the operations for Stonehenge Consulting, handling the boring business stuff while Randal and I, along with the other Perl trainers, stood in front of rooms of students. Tad was a Perl trainer himself, and some of you may have met him either at OSCON or YAPC when he'd occasionally give a Perl talk.

I first met him in person as a contract trainer for Stonehenge, back in the dot com days when Stonehenge practically gave a packed class every week and had a waiting list. Randal trawled comp.lang.perl (the name at the time) for people who were answering lots of questions (and answering them correctly). Tad and I were regularly in the top group of participants. Indeed, with Tom Phoenix, another Stonehenge Perl trainer, we normally took the top three spots. Even when most of the world moved on to fancy web forums, he stayed behind to look after Usenet. He did show up on Stackoverflow. His reputation was solid enough that many people would step up to defend him when the various newbies and trolls showed up with bruised knees and egos, especially when these newbies complained about Tad's Posting Guidelines, last posted on Dec 2, 2011, when Tad knew the end was near and had quietly started to arrange his final months. His final post to comp.lang.perl.misc was on February 28.

Although he had a PAUSE ID, TADMC, he wasn't an active module creator. He did write a lot of sophisticated Perl, though, and he made some good money with it. He was using Perl to aggregate public records in Texas to find hidden deals on foreclosure and short sales so he could buy distressed properties, rehab them, and resell them. With his expertise in text data formats, especially anything with SGML, he was able to deal with the onerous formats governments supply when they have to give you the data but make it as inconvenient as possible to deal with it.

Randal wrote his own tribute on Perlmonks and started a comp.lang.perl.misc thread with the same.

You can see a picture of Tad on his Facebook profile.


My condolences. 55 years is indeed too young.

My name is Jessica, daughter of Tad McClellan. I was googling his name and saw this. My family and I really appreciate this because many people who knew him through Perl will know what happened to him and how much he accomplished. My mother especially wanted me to tell you thank you so much for this.

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About brian d foy

user-pic I'm the author of Mastering Perl, and the co-author of Learning Perl (6th Edition), Intermediate Perl, Programming Perl (4th Edition) and Effective Perl Programming (2nd Edition).