3-1/3 years. I didn't know Dick had passed until about a year ago, I re-entered the GIS world and our GIS class was considering submitting a project for the Dick Thomas student award (we never did). I thought, yes Dick sure is deserving of this to be named after him, but does this mean he's no longer on the planet? Sadly the latter was true.
My first acquaintance with Dick was, I can't remember how I got referred to him, but he graciously met with me for 45 minutes at his water district to chat about GIS careers and to gently say buddy you got a ways to go, but you can, go to it. This was a few months before the Indonesian tsunami GIS response came together, and I saw him very active there and he remembered me from our brief talk.
Now I'm back in GIS and he (and Rod Sakrison from Dept of Ecology) are two of the people I'm too late to thank.
A 3rd GISer to memorialize: Joan Velikanje, also from Ecology. Ecology eliminated her cartography position and career in the mid-90s, assigned her to permitting where she excelled and made some decisions that saved people's lives, and she beat cancer for 10+ years until, I just found out, this past summer. I didn't know til now that she co-authored a paper in 1991 on using GIS for wetland inventorying.
We walk in the footsteps of some very good people.
Now Am Found GeoGraphics