Donald Shell, American computer scientist, Died at 91

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Donald L. Shell was born March 1, 1924, and died on November 2, 2015.

He was an American computer scientist who designed the Shell sort sorting algorithm.

Donald acquired his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Cincinnati in 1959, and published the shell sort algorithm in the Communications of the ACM in July that same year.

Donald married Alice McCullough after returning from World War II.

They had two sons, Allyn and Peter. Allyn Shell followed in his father’s footsteps and became a computer scientist.

Peter Shell became a medical lab technologist in the US Army.

Allyn’s son, Matthew, is a record producer and sound engineer based in Alexandria, VA. Peter has two children and five grandchildren.

Alice died of cancer after years of being cared for by Donald.

About a year after Alice’s death Donald married Virginia Law, whose husband had died in Africa.

Virginia had three children from her first marriage, David, Paul and Margret.

After being married about 30 years, Virginia died of congestive heart failure due to malaria acquired in Africa.

Donald had cared for Virginia for many years prior to her death.

A year after Virginia’s death at age 81 Donald married Helen Whiting, who had also had two previous spouses who had died, one of whom she cared for because he become invalid.

Helen also brought a son, Gene, and daughter Dianne into the marriage.

All of their sons and daughters are married with their own families.

Donald passed away on November 2, 2015 in Asheville, North Carolina. He survived by his wife Helen.

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