Anthony N. "Tony" Falco
Anthony N. "Tony" Falco was a mathematics and computer science teacher at a Framingham, MA high school for 28 years and a member of the MUNCH (Massachusetts Users of the Ninety-Nine Computer and Hobbyists) User Group.
He first vaulted into the 99/4A limelight with his Word World program published in the April 1983 issue of 99'er magazine, and then followed that up with Number Nibbler, published in the October 1983 issue of 99'er. As one might suspect of a teacher, both programs were teaching tools for young people and designed to introduce them to the wonderful world of computing and the TI-99/4A, while helping them with reading and math skills.
Over the years Tony produced many more programs and would ultimately donate most if not all of them to the MUNCH User Group as fund raising material. The collection of Tony Falco programs consisted of 5 SSSD disks and over 90 programs that covered topics such as basic math, algebra, foreign languages, writing music, spelling, health, basic computer skills, geography, drawing, and just for fun games.
Charles Good reviewed "The Educational World of Tony Falco" as this collection became known, in the October 1994 issue of MICROpendium, giving it high marks for "...technical quality and interesting design..." stating that Tony's programs are comparable to what Jim Peterson used to produce.
Fellow Massachusetts educator Jack Sughrue, himself an author and prolific columnist on things TI in nature (Impact 99, New Age 99, TI-101 -- Our 4A University) also gave praise to Tony Falco. Here are some excerpts from Jack's April 1993 "TI-101 -- Our 4A University" article.
"...must take a few minutes (inches?) to tell about one of the great programmers for early childhood and elementary schools: Tony Falco. Tony wrote a pile of wonderful, commercial programs (including some terrific ones for 99'er magazine). He did WORDWIZARD, NUMBER NIBBLER, the BEAMER math series, WORD-WORLD, THE CRAYON BOX, SUPER-CITY, and a pile of classics too long to print out here."
"He also scrunched better than almost anyone. His 'tinies' are still being reprinted in newsletters all over the world, years after their original publication in MUNCH. His specific learning programs (like the subtraction series on borrowing) are the best there are for our computer. I learned more about programming from studying Tony's programs than I did from any other programmer. I would never have been able to do PLUS! if it weren't for Tony."
And from Jack Sughrue's personal recollection of Tony Falco in a 2011 email, "Tony is the perfect candidate for the TI99ers Hall of Fame. He wrote many many programs for the TI that were as short and sweet as any programs for the TI. He prided himself to make programs tight and professional. Most of his programs (that I remember) were educational and quite practical, but they were all creative. I used to compete with him on a personal level for the fun of it. I'd make a program that performed a particular task. I'd make it as tiny and tight as I could. After I sent it around to TIers to test it for me I'd send it to Tony. He'd always send it back to me within a day or two. It was ALWAYS a smaller program and always better than anything I could do. Tony was a great teacher in the Framingham (MA) school system. Everyone liked him. He was generous with his time and his skills and was a big part of the TI movement in Massachusetts. All of us who knew him agreed that he was a great TIer and a truly great guy. We all miss him."
The newsletter contributions of Tony Falco appear to have found their way all over the TI world. The TI Users of Perth Australia wrote that: "Tony's newsletter program contributions were much appreciated, for the subject matter, methodology adopted and the documentation he provided with them."
Tony died on January 28, 1996 at age 56, after having battled brain cancer since the previous May. His family set up a scholarship fund in his name after his death and in June 1996 two $500 awards were presented to twin boys, who were former students of Anthony N. Falco.