Obituary: Solime (Buzz) Bellefleur, Jr.

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Solime (Buzz) Bellefleur, Jr., a 43 year resident of Darien, passed away on June 27 at the Winship Green Center for Health and Rehabilitation in Bath, Maine. He was 84 years old.

Mr. Bellefleur graduated in 1948 from Stamford High School. He served in the Army National Guard Reserves from 1951 to 1960 when he was Honorably Discharged with the rank of Master Sergeant.

During the mid-1950’s Mr. Bellefleur founded Hill Top Dairy and was a local retail milk distributor. With the advent of technology, his interests led him to the field data processing. He studied Business Education at UCONN, attended the Program and Systems Institute in New York City for IBM 1401 Programming, the Automation Institute of White Plains, and IBM’s Customer Executive Program, Endicott, New York. He achieved a CDP in Data Processing issued by the Southern CT Data Processing Management Association of Bridgeport given at New York University for professional competence in the field of data processing. He held positions as a Data Processing Manager at Erickson Enterprises, New York City, C. R. Gibson Company, Norwalk, CT and Bridgeport Hospital, Bridgeport, CT. In 1961 he married Lynn Miller of Darien. In 1968 Mr. Bellefleur started a personal business, OK Data Services, which was a computer service bureau focusing on country club billing in Westchester and Fairfield counties that he, Lynn and their sons ran for over 25 years.

Mr. Bellefleur was an antique and classic car enthusiast and a member of the Horseless Carriage Club of America. During the mid-1950’s he worked for James Melton’s Car Museum. He enjoyed photography and processing his own work.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, he was an entrepreneur and innovator in the field of data processing concentrating on the IBM 1401 Data Processing System which transformed data processing and became one of the most popular computers of all time. He built several Mits Altair computers (first PC’s) in addition to the IBM 1401 computer system which he owned and operated in his personal business. Through the efforts of his sons, the IBM 1401 system was purchased in 2008 and restored by the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. It is known as the “Connecticut 1401” and is demonstrated twice a week in the 1401 Demo Lab.

Mr. Bellefleur is survived by his two sons, Raymond Bellefleur, Ray’s wife Julie and granddaughter Kendra, of Newcastle, ME, his son Scott Bellefleur of St. Petersburg, FL, his sister Arlene Capell of Lakeland, FL, her son Bob Heunisch, four additional nephews: John, Eric, Lee, and Roy Miller; three nieces: Susan Miller Trulsen, Robin Miller Goodrich, and Sandie Miller; and his former wife Lynn Dennis of Darien. He was predeceased by his parents, Solime, Sr. and Elsie Hatterman Bellefleur and a niece, Faith Heunisch Philpot.

There will be no calling hours. For those who would like to remember and honor Mr. Bellefleur for his contributions to the history of computers, a donation gift in his memory may be sent to:

Mr. Robert Garner, 1401 Project Manager, at the Computer History Museum, 1401 N Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View, CA 94043.