Stephen Glenn Soderland passed away on Dec. 13, 2017 after living gracefully with prostate cancer since 2002.
He was born April 14, 1949 in Seattle to Stanley C. Soderland and Mary Elizabeth (Bunny) Sutherland, and grew up with brothers Carl, David, Douglas, and half-sister Diana. He graduated from Stanford University in 1971 with a bachelors in Math and a minor in Linguistics.
He married Noyuri Ishida in 1977 and moved to Bainbridge Island in 1979 where they could have milk goats, chickens and a large vegetable garden and still commute to Seattle for work.
After a checkered career as day care teacher, food co-op clerk, peace movement staff worker, programmer, and community college instructor, he entered graduate school in computer science at the University of Massachusetts at age 42, finding himself a few years older than half his professors and having taken a seminar at Stanford from his adviser’s adviser. He immediately took to the intellectual challenge of computer science research. He earned a doctorate’s degree in 1997 and returned to the Seattle area.
Stephen did pioneering research at the University of Washington in a branch of AI known as information extraction, in which the computer learns to combine words of on-line text to form meaning. He was recently named one of the 50 “most influential scholars” in artificial intelligence, based on seminal papers that have been cited over a thousand times.
Church has been a central part of his life, he and Noyuri both singing in the choir, attending weekly Bible study, and Stephen serving as church council president, vice president, council secretary, and treasurer at Eagle Harbor Congregational UCC, as well as occasional lay preacher and worship leader.
Stephen is survived by his life companion Noyuri; brothers David (Jann) of Sammamish, Douglas (Paula) of Seattle, sister-in-law Kathleen Sabo of Seattle; and 15 nieces and nephews.
Family and friends are respectfully invited to attend the memorial service at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20 Eagle Harbor Congregational Church on Bainbridge Island.
Sign the online guest book for the family at www.cookfamilyfuneralhome.com.