Former ACS President John Goddard has passed away peacefully in his home at the age of 83.

John served as ACS President from 1986 and 1987, having served as Vice President the two years prior.

As ACS became involved with international IT groups, John supported the industry’s future through his involvement with the Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organisation (ASOCIO) and the South-East Asian Regional Computer Confederation (SEARCC).

In the 1994 book Computing in Australia: The Development of a Profession, John wrote about the ASOCIO and SEARCC’s roles in spreading technology throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

During John’s time as ACS president and vice-president, ACS helped influence government decision-making on key areas such as information privacy, software copyright protection, and the Australia Card.

John entered the ACS Hall of Fame in 1990.

ACS CEO Andrew Johnson said John made a significant contribution to computing in Australia.

“On behalf of ACS, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to John’s family in this difficult time,” Johnson said.

“While representing ACS as President, John greatly understood ACS’s collaborative role in developing public policy in order to ensure Australia’s future.

“He continually demonstrated our values and helped us maintain an international presence at a crucial time of the industry’s growth.

“We very much appreciate John’s service to ACS and the broader community.”

Geoff Dober, ACS president from 1992-93, said that John Goddard paved the way for ACS’s future.

“John Goddard was two Presidents before me, and it was at a time when lots started to happen in ACS,” Dober said.

“Member growth, many more IT courses being accredited and growing interest in the society – my feeling is that when John was President many 'fuses were being lit' that led to lots of good things happening.

“Vale John.”

Former ACS president (2000-01) John Ridge was inspired by John Goddard.

“John was passionate about ACS and was the person who encouraged me to stand for President when I was Branch Chair of the NSW Branch,” Ridge said.

“He was very supportive of me. Typically of John, that encouragement was delivered to me during a toilet break, and I think with a cigar.”

ACS Fellow Trevor Housley also shared his fond memories of John Goddard.

“I first met John about 1970 when I was with UNIVAC when we sold the first computers to the NSW Police,” Housley said.

“John was on the other side of that transaction, holding a senior position with the NSW Public Service Board which, in those days, was the contracting authority. John and his team were very easy to get on with which was in marked contrast to many other transactions with government bodies where the individuals involved were often rather confrontational in their dealings with suppliers.

“John’s outstanding feature, for me, was his great smile. He always had a big, bright smile on his face, kind of like a human smiley face, and he seemed to treat each person as though that person was extra special.

“John, himself, was an extra special person and, having retired at the age of 52, he seems to have lived a very full life and was heavily involved in his community.

“In ACS he had also been actively involved having been President, Fellow and Life Member. Clearly, he was well thought of in all parts of his life.”

Following his career in the New South Wales public service, John was part of a number of organisations, including as president of the Sydney High School Old Boys Union and a volunteer in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

According to his son, David, John was a loving, family-oriented man.

“He was heavily involved in community sports and most recently in Probus clubs,” David said.

“Later in life he gave back to everything he did when he was younger and whatever he got involved with – he made sure he didn’t sit on his hands.

“He was a very generous and giving man.”

John took pride the role he played in growing computing in Australia.

“We used to joke about how back in his day computers were as big as an office-floor,” David said.

“He certainly saw a lot of change in that area and had a lot of achievements.”

John is survived by his wife Gwen, his two sons Peter and David, his daughter-in-law Tina, and four grandchildren.