Last Saturday I received an email from Tandy Trower, a long time Microsoft employee letting me know that Aaron Reynolds had unexpectedly passed away. It threw me for a loop, Aaron isn’t that much older than I am and I’m not used to hearing about people I knew dying unexpectedly. Even though it’s been over a week, I’m still a bit rocky about it.
Aaron was one of the early MS-DOS and Windows developers, and I looked on him as one of my mentors back when I was a new hire at Microsoft. He was the original author of the MS-NET redirector which I later inherited, so I spent a fair amount of time asking Aaron what this or that mysterious piece of code did.
Aaron was often gruff, it was sometimes an adventure going to his office to ask him a question. You’d knock on the door and if he was busy he would continue to work for as long as 5 to 10 minutes until he had finished whatever it was he was dealing with and only then would he check to see if you were still there. But once you had his attention, he would patiently explain with great detail everything you needed to know about your problem. And he always knew the answer.
He was a font of knowledge about Windows and DOS, as Tandy said in his email: “To this day there is probably code inside Windows that only Aaron really understood why it was there.”
I haven’t seen Aaron in a few years, but my boss tells me that he used to see him every week or so at Seattle Mariners games, Aaron had Diamond Club seats and rarely missed a home game.
He will be missed by all who knew him.