A very nice NY Times obit by Margalit Fox of a remarkable man who lived to a remarkable age:
Edward Rondthaler, Foenetic Speler, Dies at 104
Edward Rondthaler was one of the 20th century’s foremost men of letters — actual, physical, audible letters. As an outspoken advocate of spelling reform, he spent decades trying to impose order on his 26 lawless charges. As a noted typographer who first plied his trade 99 years ago, he helped bring the art of typesetting from the age of hot metal into the modern era.
From the early 1960s on, Mr. Rondthaler was known publicly for his energetic campaign to respell English, a cause that over the centuries has been the quixotic mission of an impassioned few. To spell the language as it sounds, he argued, would vanquish orthographic hobgoblins, promote literacy and make accessible to foreign readers English classics like Keats’s “Ode to a Nightingale” — or, more properly, “Oed to a Nietingael” — whose opening lines appear on this page….
Read the rest of the obit for an explanation of his contributions to phototypesetting and his involvement with simplified spelling; while I think the latter is a pretty silly cause, I admire his willingness to stand up for his views against inevitable derision. Warning: the end of the obit may choke you up a bit if you have a sentimental streak. (Thanks, Eric and Anne!)