Kara Swisher

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Mike Homer Laid to Rest Today

Many BoomTown readers have asked for more information and also about the funeral for well-known Silicon Valley exec Mike Homer, who died earlier this week after a severe and unusual illness.

His funeral is today at 10:30 a.m. at Saint Raymond Catholic Church in Menlo Park.

A “Friends of Mike Homer” Facebook group page has also been created, with lots of great memories posted on its wall.

In 2007, Homer (pictured here with Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen) was diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

A rare, neurodegenerative “prion” disease, which in Homer’s case occurred sporadically rather than via infection (the well-known variant that occurs in animals is called mad cow disease), CJD’s incidence is one case in a million annually, and few survive beyond a year after exhibiting symptoms.

There is no known cure for CJD, and treatments have been few. That might change, given the push that Homer, his family and friends had been making to accelerate the pace of discovery for treatments and a cure by raising many millions of dollars for the cause and pushing for even more aggressive development.

Here is the obituary that the Homer family wrote:

Michael (Mike) J. Homer: February 24, 1958-February 1, 2009

Mike Homer, high-technology executive, passed away on February 1, 2009 at his home in Atherton. He suffered from the rare neurodegenerative disorder Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, known as CJD. Mike, 50, is survived by his wife of ten years Kristina and their three children, James, Jack and Lucy, as well as his mother Irene and sister Sue. In addition to family, he leaves a legion of friends, colleagues and business associates, including his best friend, Bill Campbell. Everyone who knew Mike will miss his extraordinary intellect, tenacity, fierce loyalty and of course, his hearty sense of humor.

Mike was born and raised in San Francisco, attended St. Ignatius College Prep, and treasured the many lifelong friendships developed during those years. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Berkeley. A Silicon Valley presence for more than twenty years, Mike launched his career at Apple, excelling as both a technical innovator and savvy marketer. He held executive positions at GO and EO, before making an indelible mark on the success of Internet pioneer Netscape. Mike was an active board member at Opsware and Palm, and an investor and advisor to Tellme Networks, Tivo and Google. He started Kontiki and Open Media Network and served on the board of Cinequest. His appreciation for film led to the role of executive producer for an award-winning documentary, “Speed and Angels.”

All who have enjoyed the privilege of knowing Mike would agree that his love of family defined his success even more than his professional accomplishments. Mike enjoyed every opportunity to share his free time with family and close friends, gathering for backyard BBQs or Tahoe getaways that always included plenty of boat rides. An avid baseball fan, Mike could often be found cheering for the San Francisco Giants at the stadium or at The Old Pro in Palo Alto surrounded by a table filled with friends. He inherited his love of baseball from his father Jim, passed it onto his own children, and jumped at the chance to coach both of his son’s little league teams.

Often sought after for his sage advice, Mike was always generous with his time and friendship. Mentoring was a way of life for him and he took great pleasure in sharing his expertise with others. His larger than life personality and genuine warmth will be profoundly missed by all whose lives he touched, and his legacy reflected in part by their accomplishments.

Mike was also a philanthropist. He and Kristina started The Homer Family Foundation to fund education and programs for the underprivileged. He was a major donor to the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford, The Haas Center for Responsible Business at Berkeley, The Computer History Museum and The California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences at UCSF. This past fall, Sacred Heart High School in Atherton unveiled the Michael J. Homer Science and Student Life Center.

A rosary will be recited at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 4 at the Church of the Nativity, 210 Oak Grove Avenue in Menlo Park. On Thursday, February 5 at 10:30 a.m., a service will be held to honor Mike’s extraordinary life at Saint Raymond Catholic Church, 1100 Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Creuzfeldt-Jakob Disease Foundation at www.cjdfoundation.org.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik