Sam Bernstein, a longtime technology and consumer products executive who helped launch one of the first personal computers and who later led Apple founder Steve Wozniak’s first post-Apple venture, has died in Nevada City, Calif. He was 90.
Bernstein was head of marketing at Commodore International in 1977, working with founder and legendary technology executive Jack Tramiel, when he named and helped launch the Commodore PET (for “personal electronic transactor”) personal computer. The PET, which featured an all-in-one design including keyboard and monitor, was highly successful, competing directly with the early Apple II created by Wozniak and Steve Jobs.
After Commodore, Bernstein had senior executive and later consulting roles for a variety of technology and consumer companies. In the mid-1980s, he served as CEO of CL 9, a universal remote control company founded by Wozniak. He also served on the board of the San Jose Ballet and for several years, he wrote a column for the Palo Alto, Calif., Peninsula Times Tribune.
After retiring to Nevada City in the mid-1990s, he continued to occasionally consult on marketing strategies for a variety of technology companies. In addition, he served several stints on the Nevada County Grand Jury.
During World War II, he served as an ambulance driver on the Burma front with the American Field Service, attached to a British regiment, after a concussion in high school caused him to be disqualified for service by the U.S. Army.
He is survived by his wife, Anne Adden, whom he married in 2013 after a long friendship; a daughter and son-in-law, Emily and Richard Olson of Saxapahaw, N.C.; a son and daughter-in-law, Ed and Donna Bernstein of Kentfield, Calif.; three grandchildren, Daniel Bernstein of Kentfield, Benjamin Olson of Los Angeles, Calif., and Elizabeth Padgett of Conover, N.C.; and two great-grandchildren. He was previously married for 37 years to Norma Bernstein of San Rafael, Calif., with whom he remained friends until his death.
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