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Oregon priest who inspired Apple fonts dies

Father Robert J. Palladino, 83, who taught calligraphy at Reed College for years, died Feb. 26. 

PORTLAND, Ore. -- An Oregon priest who inspired Steve Jobs to create the fonts used as Apple computers launched in 1984 has died.

Father Robert J. Palladino, 83, who taught calligraphy at Reed College for years, died Feb. 26.

He first was Trappist monk, who left the faith in 1968 and married, according to a 2011 story in the Catholic Sentinel. After his wife died in 1987, he eventually returned as an archdiocesan priest in 1995. He lived on a small farm near Sandy at the time of his death.

Jobs was enrolled at Reed in 1972 for a semester before dropping out. He remained in Portland and audited Palladino's calligraphy classes.

“I learned about serif and sans serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great,” Jobs said at a Stanford University graduation speech in 2005. “It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating."

“Ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them.”

Palladino told the Catholic Sentinel in 2013 that Jobs was one of many talented students he taught. Ten years after Jobs left, as he was about to launch the Macintosh, he introduced Palladino to a device called a "mouse."

In the 2013 movie "Jobs" Palladino is portrayed by the actor William Mapother, (Ethan from 'Lost').

In a 2013 interview with the Catholic Sentinel, Palladino said Jobs was "most pleasant" when he was on campus, not the ill-tempered person portrayed in the film.

Read the New York Times news obituary.

Read the Catholic Sentinel obituary.

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