In 1978 Mr. Howard became the 32nd employee of Apple Computer Inc. As editor of its computer manuals, he combined language skills with computer knowledge to create user-friendly instruction books that helped revolutionize the personal computer, according to his wife, Lynne Toribara. His signature was molded into the case of the original Macs. He eventually moved from computer documentation to architectural hardware, in line with his engineering background.
He was considered to be employed by Apple at the time of his death, which made him the longest continuous employee of the company, according to Ms. Toribara. At Apple, he was promoted to the level of DEST (distinguished engineer, scientist, and technologist).
Mr. Howard was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, where his father was a physics professor at the University of Oklahoma and his mother was a concert pianist. He attended Stanford University on a National Merit scholarship, graduating in 1967 with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering.
An accomplished musician, Mr. Howard played cornetto, flute and recorder with the Stanford Renaissance Wind Band and sang with the St. Ann Choir, California Bach Society, Stanford Early Music Singers, and Albany Consort. He also performed at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Marin County, and, in 1986, became a founding member of the early brass and winds ensemble, The Whole Noyse.
He is survived by his wife, Lynne Toribara; stepdaughter Mariko Toribara; sisters Kathleen Howard and Eileen Howard; nieces Keira Manes and Terri Torres; and nephew Devin Manes.
In memory of Mr. Howard, the family prefers donations to Doctors Without Borders, or for the donor to join TerraPass.