Profile: Cal and Vincent Seid

grid_CalThe Legacy of the Seid Brothers

The first day he didn’t show up for work at Apple, his coworkers were concerned because they knew this wasn’t like Calvin Seid. When he missed the second day, they called his brother and law enforcement. The police broke into Seid’s home—where he lived alone—and discovered him lying on the floor, dead from a heart attack.

Vincent Seid was stunned to learn that his 46-year-old younger brother was gone, a brother 16 years his junior. There were more surprises to come as Vincent settled his brother’s affairs. In Cal’s Palo Alto home, Vincent discovered 30 small boxes full of plaques for patents Cal had earned as part of the industrial design team at Apple, where he had worked on the iPhone and iMac. His brother never had mentioned that he had been granted a single patent, let alone 30. Yet imagine Vincent’s surprise when he enlisted the help of Cal’s long-time associate, Lawrence Lam. He and Cal were friends from the years when they had majored in Industrial Design together at San José State University, and ten years later they were coworkers at Apple. On weekends, the two pals took road trips around the Bay Area, meandering aimlessly in Cal’s vintage Porsche convertible, with no particular destination in mind except maybe a good meal.

At Vincent’s request, Lam did some sleuthing and discovered that Cal was named on 329 patents at Apple!

Vincent Seid, a retired surgeon who lives in Los Gatos, searched for a way to honor his brother and decided to create a donation to SJSU in his name. Through the Vincent and Zenaida Seid Family Foundation, they made a pledge commitment for renovating and upgrading classroom space with state-of-the art industrial design equipment. In recognition for their generosity, the space will be named the Calvin Seid Industrial Design Lab, a fitting bequest to acknowledge Cal’s education, which would later place him at the forefront of technology.

The older brother speaks respectfully of his family’s legacy of hard work, starting with their father, who ran a Chinese restaurant in Oregon City, Oregon for 25 years. It was in this small town outside Portland where the siblings went to secondary school, and Vincent notes proudly that Cal was the high school valedictorian…yet he never mentioned this fact to anyone, either.

by Cathleen Miller