Robert & Hertha Solmitz together at Blankanese


   Hertha Elisabeth Solmitz née Goldschmidt and Robert Moritz Solmitz Archive




Stan Osborne

Stan describes himself professionally as a scientist, engineer, artist and consultant. Those familiar with Stan from the various Bay Area communities of which he is part might describe him as a sort of general creative life force and human information repository; someone whose career is not simply defined, someone who is always working; whose work takes many forms, and tends to be community oriented and to benefit others instead of just himself.

“I feel lucky to have known him,” said Daniela Semeco, a young inventor who has benefited from the guidance Stan has given her startup, Polyglotte Inc.

Stan took his B.A. in economics and mathematics from San Francisco State University in 1976, then went on to help start the school’s computer science department . He also cofounded the system integration and consulting company anasystems, inc. ( and contributed to the development of Craigslist in its early days.

In 1964, Stan made the first of several extended sojourns in Peru, returning 30 years later to share his technological expertise with the country he’d come to consider a second home. “Stan Osborne, at 41 years of age, has returned to Peru as a scientific lecturer of the Fulbright Commission ,” wrote journalist Juan Carlos Olano Calixtro at the time, “to help Peruvian universities grasp the advantage of setting up a national computer system with the capacity to speed the flow of information in the world of business.”

Read a contemporary description of the project Stan was involved in as a 1994 Fulbright scholar, "InterNetworking Peru ".

More recently, Stan has worked as a systems engineer for San Francisco’s Jhai Foundation, and offered pro bono consulting to software developers in the Bay Area who often lack, and benefit from, Stan’s computer science background.

Hertha and Robert Solmitz were Stan’s maternal grandparents. “In 1973 I was able to get a summer job working in the mailroom of the business in Hamburg where Robert Solmitz worked from 1938 to 1941 representing the absent Jewish owners,” he explained. “Some of my mother’s Jewish relatives managed to survive WWII by hiding in plain view, so I still have relatives who have always lived in Germany; I also have relatives who were killed in concentration camps. And many relatives around the world descended from those who escaped.”

Stan’s community involvement presently includes membership in the Bay Area collective called SPAZ (Semi Permanent Autonomous Zone), devoting his time and cooking talents twice a month to a vegan dinner event called Volxkuche (which he also helped start), and playing tuba in a truly unique band called Thee Hobo Gobbelins. His interests and experience reveal a rich life of learning and include technical writing, history, linguistics, publishing and offset printing, organizing and promoting events, hackerspace culture, creation and management of archives and databases, security, wilderness survival… the list goes on.

Written by +ll+, March-July 2015, San Francisco, California and Portland, Oregon.