WordPerfect co-founder Bruce Bastian dies at 76

Jun 17, 2024, 3:00 PM | Updated: 3:08 pm

Bruce Bastian...

Bruce Bastian speaks during a visit to Volunteers of America and the Homeless Youth Resource Center in Salt Lake City on June 9, 2012. The co-founder of WordPerfect died Sunday, leaving behind a legacy of philanthropy and innovation. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Bruce Bastian, who co-founded successful word processing platform WordPerfect and later became a philanthropist and champion of the LGBTQ+ community, died Sunday.

He passed away peacefully at 76 years old, surrounded by his four sons, his husband, Clint Ford, and friends and other family members, Equality Utah reported.

His loss has sent ripples through the LGBTQ+ community and the various organizations he was a member of, including the Human Rights Campaign, Equality Utah and the Utah Pride Center

“Bruce stood up for every one of us and uplifted the beautiful diversity of our community,” said Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “It’s the kind of legacy we should all be proud to propel forward.”

Before his career in social justice, Bastian was a pioneer in the tech industry. In 1979, he co-founded what would become WordPerfect with Alan Ashton while Bastian was still a graduate student at Brigham Young University. It almost wasn’t to be — Ashton had to convince Bastian to switch from a music master’s to computer science.

By 1987, WordPerfect was the most popular PC software, with millions of dollars in sales each year. Bastian served as the company’s chairman until 1994.

At one time Bastian’s net worth was estimated at $840 million, good enough to make the Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest individuals in America, the Deseret News reported in 2003.

After stepping down from WordPerfect, Bastian devoted time and resources to charitable causes. He created the B.W. Bastian Foundation in 1997, with a mission to only support organizations with a commitment to equality.

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WordPerfect co-founder Bruce Bastian dies at 76