‘Don Pyle’, Ex-Juniper Networks, The Owner Of This Fire Gutted Mansion, Was My Best Man In 1987.

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
by Anura Guruge


‘The Washington Post’ coverage. Click to access. Search “Don Pyle” in Google News for many, many other posts.


The British “Daily Mail” coverage. This was their Headline story Monday night. This was the story I first saw. Click to access. As it says above, check Google News for more.

I am NOT convinced that Don is dead. Check this latest post …

Post following the discovery of six bodies …

We had been out much of the afternoon and early evening. We went to Portsmouth to see the ‘Paddington’ movie. We got back after 8pm. Around 8:30, I was sitting in bed, partially changed, checking the latest news on my pad — because, as you know, I am a news junkie. When checking news on the pad, I always start with the U.K. “Daily Mail” (my favorite newspaper of long standing) because they have, hands down, the latest and most detailed news. I must have been looking at the ‘U.K.’ tab this morning because that is where I started. Then I skipped over to the U.S. tab.

As soon as I saw the headline, which was the TOP STORY, though it did NOT mention a name I had a premonition. For whatever reason ‘Don Pyle’ crossed my mind. In a millisecond after that I looked down and saw the two thumbnail pictures. I did NOT have to read anymore. I recognized them. That was weird. I called out to Deanna and Devanee saying “that is my Best Man”. Deanna, rightly, thought I was talking about when we got married in 2003 — given that he too was a high-flying network executive. She had not met the Pyles. I had to tell them that this was from 1987.

I met Don & Sandy in February 1985 when I came over from the U.K., with CASE Communications, to be the new Director of Marketing (for multiplexers) for CASE (U.S.A.). To kickstart the U.S. operation Case (at that time the European market leader in networking equipment) had bought a Silver Spring, Maryland based company Rixon. Don & Sandy, though young at the time, were Rixon veterans — Don an up and coming, ever ebullient salesman. Don befriended me given that I was new in the U.S. (that time around) and he was a local. CASE was noted for its ‘socializing’, way-over-the-top Sales Meetings and general bonhomie. Don in those days specialized in selling to the Bell Operating Companies — and he was damn good at it. Within the first year he sold a $6 million modem deal to Bell Atlantic (I think) — by far the biggest single order at the time. I think his commission, given that CASE was also noted for its lavish rewards, was in excess of $300,000. Yes, we all had a few drinks … But, that was par for the course.

Around that time, after that big deal, when he could start looking at other opportunities, we started making joint calls — that being my primary role. Making calls with salesman to close deals. So we spent a lot of time, a lot of it in his car, a BMW, since his territory was around the Maryland area — possibly as far as Philly (and I do remember an overnight trip there with him).

He ended up in a cubicle next to my office. Neither of us were in the office that much. But if we were we saw a lot of each other and he would often just wonder in to shoot the breeze. Yes, I was part of the crowd that could get away with calling him ‘Gomer’. Sandy had a support role in the office and I saw a fair amount of them. We socialized after work. I have only been to one professional baseball game. It was to see the Orioles in Baltimore. Don & Sandy took me. So that was how he ended up as my Best Man in 1987.

As so often happens we kind of drifted apart after the divorce. Given that he was at Juniper at the time I also think he wasn’t happy of my (at that time) very close relationship with Cisco — Juniper’s nemesis. We still kind of kept in touch with mutual friends from the CASE days. When I had a LinkedIn account (until about 2013) he was one of my contacts. We had messaged each other a few times through LinkedIn. I did speak to him briefly about 4 years ago.

I really hope they are OK. Very good people. Loads of fun. Laugh a minute. Sandy is very good at telling jokes, many at Gomer’s expense. But he was used to it.

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