Jack Shemer, August 22, 1940 – January 2, 2020

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Posted By on January 16, 2020
Jack Shemer

Jack Evvard Shemer, 79, passed away peacefully at home January 2, 2020, with his loving wife Paula by his side after a long battle with COPD and heart disease. 

Known fondly as “Cactus Jack,” his two highest priorities were family and friends. His third was having fun. A humble Arizona cowboy, he loved horses, cattle ranching, fishing, hunting and country music and was one of this country’s most brilliant computer scientists. 

Jack enjoyed every moment, and especially those with his wife, Paula, and his son, Douglas Patrick Shemer.  When not in Arizona, Jack enjoyed spending time with them on their cattle ranch in Nye, Montana.

Born August 22, 1940 at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Jack attended West Phoenix High School. At 16, he received the first “Paperboy of the Year” award from The Arizona Republic, a newspaper from which he later received a $1,000 scholarship to attend Occidental College.  He graduated in 1962 before obtaining a master’s degree from Arizona State University and a doctorate from Southern Methodist University.

His pioneering computer career started at 19. Ultimately, his crowning achievement was co-founding and serving as the first chief executive officer of Teradata Computer Company. Purchased in 1992 by AT&T, the company is extremely successful today, employing over 8,500 people in 44 countries. 

Jack is survived by his wife Paula, son Douglas, and grandsons Emmet, Lucas Jack and James; his brother, Barry, nieces, Marcy and Crissy, nephew Ryan and nine great nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Jack Shemer, founder of the Shemer Insurance Co. in the Luhrs Tower, and Martha Shemer, a real estate investor who purchased and donated the Shemer Art Center to Phoenix.

A celebration of life will be held Sunday, February 9 at 2:00 p.m. at the Shemer Art Center. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Jack’s name to the Shemer Art Center or The American Legion (Post 44), 7145 E. 2nd Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85251. 

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