The son of Polish Jewish immigrants, Palevsky was born July 24, 1924, and grew up in Chicago during the Depression. His father was a house painter and his mother a homemaker; neither spoke much English.
During World War II, he served as an electronics officer in the Army Air Forces. Afterward, he studied at the University of Chicago, where he majored in mathematics and philosophy. He earned his bachelor's degree in 1948, then undertook postgraduate work at UC Berkeley and UCLA.
An expert in symbolic logic, he planned on an academic career. But Palevsky became fascinated by computers, which the public in the early 1950s considered science fiction. Palevsky saw the possibilities in the emerging technology and in 1951 left academia to stake his claim.
He worked in the computer division of Bendix Corp. and for Packard Bell before launching Scientific Data Systems with 11 other scientists in 1961. Over the next several years, sales for the company, which focused on an untapped market for small mainframe machines, soared.
He sold the Santa Monica-based company to Xerox in 1969, a time, he later joked, "when $1 billion meant something." His 10% share meant he pocketed $100 million.
Palevsky, whose fortune later earned him a spot in the Forbes 400, went on to serve as chairman or chief executive of Xerox's executive committee, Silicon Systems and Daisy Systems Corp. He was one of the first major investors in Intel.
In addition to his fifth wife Jodie Evans, he leaves a daughter, Madeleine Moskowitz; four sons, Nicholas, Alexander, Jonathan and Matthew; a stepson, Jan Krajewski III; a sister, Helen Futterman; and four grandchildren.
In his last years, he increased his philanthropic efforts, giving $20 million in 2000 to his alma mater, the University of Chicago.more » « less