North American Network Operators Group

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Jeanette Symons (1962-2008) a commerical Internet Pioneer

  • From: John Lee
  • Date: Sun Feb 03 00:34:31 2008

It was with great sadness that I read about the un-timely death of my friend and colleague Jeanette in a plane crash in Maine. Jeanette died flying, which was one of the activities she loved to do. I meet her before she started flying and when she moved back to California she took up flying. We would be talking on the phone and she would say that it was VFR and she needed to go. VFR – Visual Flight Rules for flying without instruments which was all she was rated for at the time.


I meet Jeanette at Hayes Microcomputer Products where we were working on a project together. People would think that we were brother and sister since we both had curly back hair and looked alike. When she wanted to move back to California, which she missed, I introduced her to Rob Ryan the head of Haye’s West coast operations. When she was in Georgia we would eat Chinese, made by my wife, at my place. When we were in California we would eat Sushi at several of her favorite places in Western San Francisco and Oakland.


Jeanette, Rob, Jay Duncanson and Steve Speckenbach left Hayes to start Ascend Communications and developed the TNT central site dial up modem, ISDN and Ethernet switch that handled most of the dial up Internet traffic for years. Ascend was purchased by Lucent and she and Mori started Zhone Technologies.


Her new venture was started because her children wanted to blog with their friends and she was worried about them being on line.


Jeanette will be missed.


John Lee