John Robert Ehrman was born on July 5, 1935 in Richmond VA. His early schooling was in Arlington VA and Washington DC. At the age of 15 he lived in Nairobi, Kenya for a year, and then in Bombay, India, because of his father's work for the US Information Agency. After graduating from high school in India, his undergraduate studies were in Liberal Arts at Oberlin College in Ohio.

Dr. Ehrman earned his PhD in physics at the University of Illinois. While there he took a programming course on the ILLIAC and became, in his words, “hooked on computers.”  He also programmed their IBM 650, of course in the low-level assembly language which became his passion.  After graduation he was hired by the computer center to manage the group running their IBM 7090/7094 computers. 

In February of 1964 in San Francisco he went to his first meeting of the IBM SHARE Users Group, and his reaction was “this is much more fun than staid, stogey academic conferences.” That meeting was the start of his participation in that organization for over half a century.

After leaving Illinois he traveled around the country before taking a job in the computer center at SLAC, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, in February 1966. He taught assembler language courses both at SLAC and on the Stanford campus, and worked on projects involving Assembler, Fortran, and the Wylbur interactive text editor.  He often wrote up meticulous notes in his fine calligraphic hand for distribution to anyone interested. In 1971 he published a textbook, “System/360 and assembler language programming.”

He remained active in SHARE, was involved in projects for them on Assembler, Fortran, and Testran, and served on their board from 1972-1974.

John left SLAC in 1983 and joined IBM at their Santa Teresa lab in San Jose. In 1988 he began a project to create the High Level Assembler, which incorporated and expanded on the earlier user-contributed “SLAC mods” to the standard Assembler H.  In May of 1992 the first version was released, and it continued to be actively developed for the next twenty years.

John loved classical choral music, and was a bass singer in Schola Cantorum, based in Mountain View, for 52 years.

John is survived by Dee Hartzog, his younger sister who lives in Sacramento, and by Tineke Graafland, his wife and partner of 33 years. Tineke and John had met at SLAC, where she worked in the Human Resources department.

John died at home of cancer on February 20, 2018.