We also sadly have to announce that Heinz von Foerster died on the morning of October 2, 2002, in his home in Pescadero, California. We send our sympathy to Mai von Foerster and family and friends. An obituary has appeared in the Independent, and in the Times and also in the New York Times. That from the Times is reproduced in Kybernetes vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 457-459, 2003. A message sent by Allenna Leonard and friends, forwarding one from Kevin Kreitman, is:
We forward to you the following message from Kevin Kreitman announcing the recent death of Heinz von Foerster. Heinz and Stafford were great friends and each would have been deeply saddened by the passing of the other.
Allenna, Chris, Joe
Dear Fellow ASC Members:
It is my sad duty to pass on the news that Heinz von Foerster passed away at his home in Pescadero, California this morning at the age of 90. Heinz had been struggling with congestive heart failure and took a turn for the worse in the past few weeks. Mai is reported to be calm, and alert and understands what is happening. His son Andy and family had just visited and ensured that Heinz was as alert and comfortable as possible. I had the opportunity to meet his weekday caregiver, Luz, the last time I visited, and can testify that she has been a wonderful and spiritual gift to both Heinz and Mai.
Heinz and Mai have been a blessing and an inspiration to the cybernetics and systems communities and to so many of us as “human becomings” as Heinz liked to say. As one of the recipients of their legendary love and generosity, I wish to acknowledge my profound love and admiration for Heinz, not only for his towering intellect and professional work but also for his passionate engagement in making the world a better place, for his incredible humanity and love.
I will pass on any information I receive about interment or memorial arrangements.
In rememberance . . .
We also sadly have to announce that Mai von Foerster died on June 22nd 2003.
Much bibliographic information on Heinz can be found in the book: Understanding Systems: Conversations on Epistemology and Ethics by Heinz von Foerster and Bernhard Poerksen, Kluwer, New York, 2002, as well as on the constructivism website, and a special von Foerster page maintained by Alex Riegler of the Free Univerity of Brussels.