Who was Jay Last? From Ivy League graduate to tech pioneer, he made a huge impact

Jay Last, a lifelong entrepreneur and tech pioneer who had for years been a fixture in Silicon Valley’s startup scene, died on Thursday. Mr. Last founded three tech companies and in the course of his career held various board positions at many other high-profile companies.

In a post on his Facebook page, his wife of five years, Cindy Last, noted the death of Mr. Last’s father, who “gave us this extraordinary life and shaped his son to be who he was.” He died last week from complications of cancer, she wrote.

Born in New York City on Feb. 27, 1925, Mr. Last was a Navy veteran, a brilliant student and a major dealmaker when the Great Depression hit.

The last word on a burning question. Feel free to share your thoughts with him on my Facebook https://t.co/V3tIaGoGAh pic.twitter.com/wOFCuvXSX9 — Jay Last (@JayLast) September 10, 2018

After serving in World War II, he pursued an interest in video games and came up with the idea for Pro-Lifeland, which offered miniature versions of American real estate for purchase. The most ambitious of his innovations was Game Maker for PC, an industry-changing app which brought online games into the mainstream and inspired a thousand imitators.

Mr. Last, who was 91, taught computer science at Princeton, Brown, Rice and Tulane, as well as helping to launch companies.

“People say he knew a lot of things,” he told Yahoo Finance in a 2011 interview. “I suppose he did.”

Mr. Last leaves behind his wife, eight children, two granddaughters and a new granddaughter.

Read the full story in The New York Times.


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