May 23, 2018 – Frank Durda IV

Paul T Schreiber has some information that should be of interest to anyone with an interest in the TRS-80. Everything that says “I” below is Paul … this is a cut and paste …”

Some of you may be familiar with former Tandy R&D engineer Frank Durda IV who recently passed away.

Frank was a SW (and also a bit of HW) genius. Really. A more loyal Tandy employee/fanatic does not exist. And he kept EVERYTHING.

Frank left, most importantly, a wife and 4month old daughter, a daughter he never saw, or got to hold, as he was hospitalized during her birth and died, without regaining consciousness, soon after.

His wife Corrine now has the task to sort through Frank’s “collection”, which by my estimate, is over 300 file boxes of “stuff”. The Tandy stuff appears to range from Model 2/3 up to the AST computers (4000SX). I even uncovered a box of VIS hand controllers [shudder].

Frank and his team wrote the BIOS/drivers for probably 100 things, as well as TRS-DOS/LDOS/XENIX and so on.

It’s going to take MONTHS to get it all sorted (she lives about a 40min drive from me), today I just grabbed the first 12 boxes in the garage I could access (there was a 1964 Teletype machine in the way).

What I plan to go is sort as follows:

a) SW – floppies, SyQuest drives, 8mm tape. You name it, Frank has it.

b) HW – board add-in boards and full computers. I counted about 12 Tandy computers. There may be 50 more, I don’t know. There are 100s (yes 100s) of add-in boards.

c) books/manuals – I spotted several HW Reference manuals, a FORTRAN binder, and a photocopied dBase III manual. About 70% are Tandy originals, 30% copies.

What is the goal? The goal is 2-fold:

1 – Preservation

2 – raise funds for Frank’s wife & baby daughter

Now, as we all are aware, this stuff is HEAVY. I’m in Texas, and have Fed-Ex, UPS, and USPS options. In some cases, I will put individual items/small lots on eBay, but for the most part, this stuff will be sold by weight. Like $15/pound or some such. I some cases I will be specific, other cases might me a “treasure chest of Tandy Wonder”.

Now, I was 100% a HW designer at Tandy, but I have a few ex-R&D folks in my network I can see if they remember this stuff. If you are collecting ‘rare’ Tandy items, the 2nd box I looked in had 2 internal R&D use boards that were the audio and video portions of the Tandy Sensation! PC. Only 3 sets were made (2 for Tandy and 1 for MicroSoft) and Frank has a Tandy set (I even forgot I designed them!). These were used to write the drivers before the ‘real hardware’ was developed, and they were also used for the VIS development.

I hope to have ‘a new batch of stuff’ every 2-3 weeks. Mainly, I want this stuff to find “good homes”, not to be flipped. I want to be able to have a decent amount of $$$ for his family.

Lastly: Frank ran a few ISPs as well. I’m not an ‘IT Guy’ by a LONG shot. But he has 10-20 Cisco doo-dads as well (1U rack routers, etc). I’ll post a few photos for giggles, and next week hope to have the first batch for sale.

For those interested in helping Frank’s widow, please go the her GoFundMe page found at https://www.gofundme.com/thefightforfrank.

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