GIF creator Stephen Wilhite dies at 74


Stephen Earl Wilhite was born in West Chester, Ohio on March 3, 1948. His father, Clarence Earl Wilhite, was a factory worker; his mother, Anna Lou (Dorsey) Wilhite, was a nurse.

Later in life, Mr. Wilhite’s wife said, he captured the story of his invention in a three-page document that he shared with his children and grandchildren.

When one of her granddaughters, Kylie, told her computer science teacher that her grandfather had invented the GIF, the teacher didn’t believe her, Ms Wilhite said. This prompted Mr. Wilhite to write a letter to the teacher confirming the story. “Then he signed it Steve Wilhite, and he said, ‘Google,’

Mr Wilhite retired at 51 after suffering a stroke, but he kept busy using his computer programming skills to augment his model railway. The hobby, his wife said, was supposed to be confined to the basement of his house, but spread to other rooms, with Mr Wilhite building model train bridges in his upstairs office.

Ms Wilhite said her husband also enjoys spending time outdoors and they have taken many camping trips with his son Rick, who she said was one of Mr Wilhite’s ‘best friends’ .

They traveled from their home in Milford, Ohio, to the tip of Florida and to the Grand Canyon, she said. “Steve loved the pines up north, and I love the ocean, so that gave us great reach.”

The couple married in 2010, when they were both in their 60s. Ms Wilhite said their first date was at a Cracker Barrel the year before they married.


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