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Niall Lynch ’80

August 2021, in Palm Desert, California.

Born in Oslo, Norway, where his father had a position with the U.S. Air Force, Niall was raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, 100 miles south of the Arctic Circle. At Reed, he wrote his thesis, “Cognitive Dissonance Theory and Apocalyptic Literature: Passion, Intrigue and the Lust for Explanation,” advised by Prof. Dennis McCann [religion 1976–80].

Niall received a master’s degree in ancient Near Eastern literature and languages from the University of Chicago, which, as he said, led directly to a career in software development, beginning as a quality assurance lead in 1985. While he knew nothing about the discipline at the time, neither did anyone else. Largely self-taught, he worked in the fields of file conversion, natural language processing, statistics, cybersecurity, fraud analysis for the mortgage industry, artificial intelligence/data science, fintech, and software quality assurance.

After 20 years in Chicago and 18 in Los Angeles, Niall moved to Palm Desert, where he worked as a consultant. He spoke many languages, including Russian and German;  loved literature, especially Russian literature; and wrote short stories he hoped to have published.

“I didn’t know him at Reed,” Bruce Weiss ’80 said, “but he was the life of the party among his Facebook friends.”

Niall is survived by his brother, Sean Lynch, and his sister, Leslie Lynch.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2023

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