Rob Pike of Bell Labs writes:
"When Steve Jobs died last week, there was a huge outcry, and that was very moving and justified. But Dennis had a bigger effect, and the public doesn't even know who he is,"
Ritchie had the lifestyle and habits to match his position as an early guru of IT. Long-haired and bearded, and famously more owl than lark, he started work at midday in his industry-standard chaotic office, emerging late in the evening to go home and carry on working through to the small hours at the end of a leased line connected to the Bell Labs computers.
In later life, having become a manager, he could sometimes be seen in the wild before lunchtime, if meetings demanded it. His life and work were entirely intertwined; a man celebrated for his gentle wit and gentle ways, nothing about him could be considered separate from his lifelong fascination with computing.