Oct 31, 2005

In Loving Memory of Mike Skurski

It is with a very heavy heart and great sadness that we must announce the passing of Mike Skurski on Thursday, October 27th, 2005. Mike passed away after post-operative complications. He was at home from the hospital, being cared for by his parents.

Only some of you may have known Mike, but many, many people knew of Mike-particularly in the Photoshop development community. He was a very talented software designer and engineer. He liked to mention that he has been working on Photoshop Plug-ins for almost as long as Photoshop has had plug-ins. He received a floppy disk with a hand written label from Thomas Knoll with the then, Photoshop 1.0 SDK-such as it was.

He started a company called Total Integration which produced a variety of software products including the first licensed PostScript software rip. He also produced Fast Edit Deluxe which was a plug-in for opening small sections of Photoshop files. Mike worked on producing plug-ins for the original Wacom Pen Tools and was responsible for producing the plug-in engine for Live Picture. In addition, Mike contributed to over 50 commercial software products including Esko-Graphics PERfection, Extensis PreFlight Pro, Extensis Print Ready, Creo Brisque Export PS DFE Module and Enfocus Pitstop.

Mike was also heavily involved with the Digital Distribution of Advertising for Publications (DDAP) Association and engineered the first PDF-X Verifier. Mike was a recipient of the Joseph L. Pedone Award. This award, named for the original founders of the DDAP Association, recognizes outstanding contributions to the adoption of standard accredited workflows. He served as a member of the CGATS standards committee playing an active role in the review and adoption of the TIFF-IT and PDF/X standards. Mike served as the Chair for the Job Ticketing Subcommittee of the Ghent PDF Workgroup.

He was a founding member of a company called PixelGenius- in collaboration with Martin Evening, Bruce Fraser, Seth Resnick, Andrew Rodney and Jeff Schewe. He was the principal software designer and engineer for the PhotoKit series of products. Mike was also involved in PhotoshopNews and along with Tom Fors, engineered the PhotoshopNews script to place PhotoshopNews inside of Bridge. He was much loved by the PG members…and will be sorely missed.

Mike was the co-founder, together with Paul Dombrowski, of pub-specs. He served as the Chief Software Architect and Managing Partner. The company worked with industry leaders in publishing and advertising to develop the pub-specs system for delivering ad page specifications into the workflow. Mike was always looking for ways to make the industry engines run more efficiently. He and Paul Dombrowski had worked together since 1991.

Mike was a fireball of a guy-sort of short on stature-but big in heart, always willing to answer questions and help anybody with anything he knew about-which was formidable. He used to joke that his favorite recreational reading material was the latest software and OS manuals. His extensive knowledge of software and computers reflected that. He was a true “computer geek” in the best and most favorable definition of that term. He was also a very loving and caring father of a pair of dynamo twins, who seem to have a lot of their father in them.

Mike was a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science in Printing Technology.

Mike is survived by his parents, his sister and his twin sons.

Mike has close friends around the world and we know many of you cannot attend his service. However, if you are able to celebrate Mike’s life with his family and friends this coming Tuesday and Wednesday here are the specifics.

Ahlgrim Funeral Home
Lake Zurich IL

St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church
Fr. Ronald Gollatz, Pastor
277 E Main Street
Lake Zurich IL 60047

St. Michael the Archangel Cemetery
1185 W Algonquin Road
Palatine IL 60067

Mike Skurski
November 9th, 1962–October 27th, 2005

Our thoughts are with his family and friends…
Martin Evening
Bruce Fraser
Andrew Rodney
Seth Resnick
Jeff Schewe
…and the extended PixelGenius family.

24 Responses to “In Loving Memory of Mike Skurski”

  1. Pierre Courtejoie Says:

    My most sincere condolences goes to Mike’s family and the PixelGenius team.

  2. Peter Kogut Says:

    I worked with Mike at a printing company in Buffalo, NY in the mid to late 80′s. He was a tireless worker with lofty goals. Always on the cutting edge. Always a friend.

    I was aware of Mike’s early success, but after reading his bio, I was unaware of how successful he actually became. I was not surprised. Mike was living proof, that if you dream it, it can happen.

    A truly sad day.

    My best wishes to his family and friends.

  3. Sheila Malone-Steiner Says:

    The City of North Tonawanda New York feels the lost of a great friend, cousin, and father. This world was a better place with Michael Skurski in it. God Bless his family and parents and sister Paula. Losing a loved one is very difficult. Your tribute was beautiful!

  4. Daniel M Says:

    My thoughts are with you and his family… May God bring comfort to you all..

  5. Lauren Grabelle Says:

    I’m so saddened by the news. I met Mike at PhotoExpo a few years ago. He was not only incredibly bright but generous, kind, and a true gentleman. I enjoyed the short time I knew him. My deepest sympathies to his family and his friends at PixelGenius.

  6. Theo Streibel Says:

    I am so sad to read this news. I just met Mike at the D-65 workshop in Chicago. He had such a bright and friendly aura about him, and he happily answered my questions. What an incredible loss. My thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends.


  7. Rod Wynne-Powell Says:

    I was saddened to see this notice today, and although I never met Mike, I knew of his work with the Pixel genius crew, and realise he will be greatly missed, and I would like to add my best wishes to his family and friends.

  8. Glenn McLaughlin Says:

    A sad day and a great loss for our community,the PixelGeniuses, and most of all, his family. I’m very sorry.


  9. Clay White Says:

    My condolences as well. It was not time to lose such a talent. Reading of Mike’s long list including so many of the the plugins I lived by, Fast Edit for one, saddens me even more. Those tools were like my friends. They held a bit of Mike’s spirit. Sorry he is gone.

  10. Hugh Croft Says:

    My condolences to all those close to him. And thanks to him and his colleagues whose work has opened up such a marvellous hobby for me.

  11. Sue Davignon Mangers Says:

    Thank you for putting such a beautiful tribute together for Mike! I went to high school with him and had kept in touch through the years, knowing more of the personal side and not very much of the professional side. It just goes to show that he was not only a man with a huge heart and great personality, but modest in his success and achievements. He will be sorely missed by many. My deepest sympathies to his sons, parents, sister and his professional family.

  12. robbie Says:

    I know that some how you’ve figured a way to get the internet in heaven; and you’re reading this right now……
    You’ve helped so many people along your path, and you truly did “make a difference”.
    Your laugh was infectious, your knowledge, drive and desire were stimulating; you were truly a genuine person, and a welcome friend.
    You were like a brother to me. We could talk and laugh, be serious and technical. Why did you have to leave so soon? What’s it like there?
    Steve and Nick were so incredibly fortunate to have you as their dad. They’re hearts will be heavy for a long time; as will be mine.
    This is such a nice tribute to you and for your family and friends to know how much of a difference you have made, to so many people. I pray for his family, and all those close to Mike; that they will be held by his spirit, aand strengths.
    I’m gonna miss you Mike.
    Your friend,

  13. John Urban Says:

    I was a very young art director working at an ad agency in the Western New York area in the late 80′s. One very late night Mike and I were trying to get some film to rip at a local color seperation house, I was very excited working on the Mac and fed off the energy Mike brought to all the projects we worked on. Anyway, we had just downloaded all the necessary files, I am watching over Mikes shoulder at the time and he is verbalising what he is doing, partly to help me understand the process, partly for himself. He is already, backs up his chair, stands, motions me over next to him, his finger hovers over the return key preparing to start the process-Mike smiles at me and says “Alright this is the most important part” he holds up both hands, crosses his fingers, and starts a mantra “Please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please…” I remember laughing until I cried.
    He made things funny.
    He made sense out of this new and exciting world.
    Mostly, Mike made things better.
    I will miss him.

    I wish those who survive Mike all my best.
    Thank you.

  14. Andrei Herasimchuk Says:

    I remember the first time I met Mike, at a Thunder Lizard conference for Photoshop 2.5 or 3.0… It was back in the early 90s, during the heyday of the entire DTP and imaging revolution. He was in incredibly kind, intelligent and giving person then, and I will always remember him as a kind, intelligent and giving person through the years I had known him.

    God bless, Mike. I will always remember you and how much you gave to this world. You were truly a great talent and wonderful human being.

  15. Chris Vaccaro Says:

    My deepest condolences to the Skurski family. I had only met Mike once thru his sister Paula,however brief he made an impression.

  16. Paul Dombrowski Says:

    I met Mike at Digicon Graphics in New York, in the early 90s. He bounded into the room, full of energy, with a plan and smile. Welcome to the first day of life with Mike. No way I could have known then of the many rich gifts Mike would bring to our lives over the next 15 years. Or that he would leave us way too soon. He could talk and laugh for hours while working on his latest impossible project, tirelessly, with endless optimism. No problem couldn’t be solved. Unless he gave that firm shake of his head, “no” with jaw set tight. Then you knew it was impossible. Coffees at dawn and late night with Mike centered your thinking. No worries about the past. Only, “What’s now? How do we get there from here?” Mike’s talented blend of technological know-how and entrepreneurial spirit created scores of products and delivered them to appreciative customers. Nicholas and Stephen knew a beautiful dad. They gave us the most touching tribute you’ll ever see, twin 11-year-old sons, singing their favorite song together at the close of Mike’s final visitation. Singing their hearts our just like when they were together with dad. Loving life. Living the moment. Mike, you taught us how to love. We’ll carry on your work and dreams from here. You have your business card and 4 quarters, all you’ll need to make millions in heaven and get to be buds with all the techno angels.

  17. Piotr Skurski Says:

    Once I heard about a guy whose last name was identical to mine. It was Mike. Since then I was checking how he was doing every so often, just by watching his career and so on. It may seem weird but I have never contacted him. I felt the connection though, maybe because of the fact that my last name is a very rare one, even in Poland where I live.
    Sleep in peace, Mike.

    Piotr Skurski

  18. Noel Williams Says:

    My partner, John Kriho, and I only recently heard of Mike’s passing. Needless to say, we were shocked and saddened by the news. We met Mike many years ago and have caught up with him from time to time during the course of doing business. He was a great guy and will be missed.

    Our deepest sympathies to Mike’s family and friends.

    Noel Williams
    Meadows Publishing Solutions

  19. robbie Says:

    I keep thinking about Mike. Such a spirit he has left behind. So many memories of technical challenges, that he made fun. Reading the comments brings tears to my eyes. Mike, so down to earth… so open and honest. I do miss you….

  20. Margaret Johnson Says:

    hello my little skurski bear. i really, really miss you. i miss you like i miss the sun on a rainy day.

  21. Kenny Solov Says:

    Mike, I miss you. I miss talking with you. Your parents are trying their best to make it, and I talk with your sister evey now and then. She’s going through some tough times, and needs you too. I’ve heard that the boys are getting better, though some times they want to be with Mom so much because they don’t want to be alone. Anyway, I hope that someway you hear this message, and know that I wish we could spend another night talking about all the legends we created back in the day.

  22. Terry Carter Says:

    Wow, what a shocker. I grew up with Mike, he lived the next street over and his cousins lived straight across from me, so we saw Mike alot. I remember playing hide and seek on summer nights and him coming over to hang out, play pool and listen to music with my brother, Bill. Back in his high school years he did alot of pinstriping. He did my brothers car and my husbands car and boat. I was so shocked to hear the news, my thoughts and prayers go out to his parents, sister, children, and Majka Family (his aunt,uncle and cousins who lived across from me). Mike, you’ll be sadly missed.

  23. Eric Brown Says:

    I just learned of Mike’s death and am saddened at the loss. I first met Mike in the late 90′s. For those of you who knew him, Mike was one of those guys that was brilliant but still had a friendly warmth that often caught you off guard. A rare combination in a man. I had the priviledge of doing some freelance design work for him and Total Integration and always enjoyed working with his company. He will be missed.

    I hope to see him on the other side.

  24. Pat Domain Says:

    Never expected to find this sad news on a web search. I was thinking of Mike as I often do, wondering what he might be up to. Remembering his friendly smile. What a wonderful genuine person he was. He taught me to run BCC’s Sunrise computer. in Chicago. He was a great friend. I am very sad.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.