John D. Sekercan, 46, software engineer

July 28, 2005|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

John David Sekercan, a computer software engineer who worked in the aerospace industry, died of pancreatic cancer Monday at his sister's Glen Arm home. He was 46.

Born in Malden, Mass., he moved to Towson with his parents as a 3-year-old and was a 1976 graduate of Boys' Latin School. His father, Dr. Kirkor Sekercan, an anesthesiologist on the staff of Greater Baltimore Medical Center, interested him in computers through a side business he owned, CompUmed.

"He and his father loved to deconstruct and rebuild computers before a lot of people even knew what they really were," said Mark L. Lynne, a childhood friend from Monkton. "They worked together on their electronics in the basement."

Mr. Sekercan earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Gettysburg College and a master's in computer science from American University in Washington.

"He got his start on an old Victor computer and never lost his love for the work. He moved on to Apples and PCs," said his sister, Lisa J. Thurin of Glen Arm. "While in college, he taught his professors stuff they didn't know about. He had a curious brain."

From 1980 to 1982, he worked for Dow Jones and Co. in Princeton, N.J., and designed computer software systems that operated through phone lines, cable and satellite. He also wrote technical manuals for the company.

For the last 20 years Mr. Sekercan was a software engineer at Fairchild Industries, now Smiths Aerospace LLC, in Germantown. He worked on computer maps, navigational aids and graphic informational systems for government agencies.

Among Mr. Sekercan's projects was a system he designed for the bus system of Portland, Ore., that tracked vehicle location, engine breakdowns and traffic bottlenecks.

"He was serious, thoughtful and accurate in his work," said Krista Ochlech, manager of ground systems software at Smiths. "He had an inquiring mind and was always looking for a better way."

Friends said Mr. Sekeran enjoyed travel and made a point of eating at unusual restaurants.

"His parents were both from the Middle East, and he had a very open mind about food," said his friend, Mr. Lynne. "He was used to eating well, and he was adventurous about food."

Mr. Sekercan also read science fiction and enjoyed playing tennis.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, 101 Church Lane, Timonium.

In addition to his sister, survivors include his two sons, Eric Sekercan, 14, and Scott Sekercan, 10, and a daughter, Stacy Sekercan, 11, all of Potomac; his mother, Jeannette Chirinian Sekercan of Towson; a brother, Gregory Sekercan of Rockport, Mass.; and another sister, Cindy J. Sellmayer of Towson. His marriage to the former Polly Plaisted ended in divorce.

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