Talk about a posthumous tribute. The pioneering computer scientist and WWII codebreaker Alan Turing died decades ago, but his obituary did not appear in The New York Times until June 5 of this year, just two days short of the 65th anniversary of his passing on June 7, 1954, at age 41.
The newspaper noted that Turing’s belated death notice is part of “overlooked obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times.”
Among those whose obituaries were not published immediately after their deaths were British writer Charlotte Bronte, who died in 1855, American poet Sylvia Plath, who passed away in 1963, and many other prominent people whose accomplishments spanned diverse disciplines.
In the obit, the Times hailed Turing as “a British mathematician who has since been acknowledged as one of the most innovative and powerful thinkers of the 20th century—sometimes called the progenitor of modern computing.”
The newspaper also noted that despite these achievements, Turing “died as a criminal, having been convicted under Victorian laws as a homosexual and forced to endure chemical castration.”
Britain decriminalized homosexuality in 1967; in 2009, the government apologized for the “appalling” treatment of Turing, and four years later Queen Elizabeth officially pardoned him
This long-overdue obituary is a good reminder of Turing’s remarkable achievements which, despite the passage of time, have not been forgotten.