CyberEdge Journal

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Marc De Groot

I was stunned to learn this morning of the passing of Marc De Groot, age 45, a pioneer in VR and a Bay Area fixture in the VR community for many years.

Marc started working with VR in 1990. He was a senior staff engineer at VPL Research, the first commercial VR company. Marc was later the Chief Scientist at Ono-Sendai Corporation. Ono-Sendai's goal was to produce a networked VR consumer appliance, but they were years ahead of their time. He was also instrumental in the development of VRML, and went on to develop and promote Meme, an easy to use, small footprint web-VR development system, which he placed into the public domain.

Marc was energetic, smart, and always provacative in the best of ways. I enjoyed his company and felt that he was a thought leader in the community. I, and many others, will miss him greatly.

Here is the text of his obituary, as published in the San Francisco Chronicle of August 19, 2004:

DE GROOT, Marc - In Taos, NM, August 8, 2004. Age 45. Beloved son of Barbara and Louis de Groot; brother of David de Groot. Nephew, cousin and friend to many. Born in Brooklyn, NY on July 2, 1959, and grew up in Dutchess and Rockland Counties NY and Paris, France. Settled in the Bay Area in 1978. A too tender-hearted soul, mostly self educated, with a brilliant and inquisitive mind who was a mathematical wizard and pioneer in the use of Virtual Reality Modeling Language. Founder of Immersive Systems, Inc. Created Meme, a development system for virtual world software. He contributed to, without remuneration, the technology which had a huge impact on disabled children - that enabled them to move around in his virtual world using only their facial muscles or other input, and thereby broadened their horizons. Within minutes of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake he was at the disposal of SF General Hospital with his mobile amateur radio station to ensure their communications capability. Services were held at Rolling Hills Memorial Park, Richmond, CA. Donations to the Marc de Groot Mental Health Fund, c/o Oakland Jewish Philanthropical Foundation, 1850 Mount Diablo Boulevard, Suite 370, Walnut Creek, CA 94596-4423.

So long Marc. The VizSim community is poorer for your passing.


  • Holy shit

    Ben, if you get this, email me at

    I lived in the apartment above Marc in the early 1980s. We were the best of friends -- I'm blown away that he's dead. I remember corresponding with him briefly in the 90s. he was doing his Meme stuff. What happened to him? he was the nicest fucking guy I ever knew -- so intense and so friendly and so enthusiastic. Christ. this is not good news . . .

    I know this is, like, ten years after you posted this but maybe you'll get an email that I commented. If so, please email me.


    By Blogger ChefNick, at June 02, 2015 3:22 PM  

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