Jan Dithmar Wolter

January 31, 1959January 1, 2015

Wolter, Jan Dithmar

Jan Wolter, 55, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, passed away peacefully on Thursday January 1, 2015, surrounded by his life-partner, Valerie Mates, and his brothers Klaus Wolter and Niels Wolter. Jan was born on January 31, 1959 in Ann Arbor. He graduated from Huron High School in 1977, and went on to earn a bachelor's degree, master's degree, and, in 1988, a PhD in computer engineering from the University of Michigan.

Jan was active for much of his life in the on-line community, where he was regarded by many as a voice of reason, calm, and thoughtfulness. He had a gift for saying things clearly, and for thinking through an issue to its resolution. He was a talented programmer who helped create and build many online communities, including M-Net, Grex, and WebPBN. From 1988 to 1995 he was a professor at Texas A&M University. Jan was a teacher who cared deeply about making sure his students understood the material. He was also a devoted father who loved his family and wanted them to be happy. He enjoyed reading science fiction and was working on writing his own science fiction novel. He also enjoyed walking in the park every Saturday morning, in all weather throughout the seasons of each year, with people he knew from on-line on the weekly Grexwalk.

Jan is survived by his life-partner, Valerie Mates, and their three children, Arlo Mates, Kendra Wolter, and Corbin Mates; his brothers Klaus Wolter (Deborah) of Dexter, Michigan; and Niels Wolter (Jill Andersen) of Madison, Wisconsin; his sister-in-law, Olivia Mathews (Alexander) of Newton, Massachusetts, his mother-in-law, Barbara Mates, of New York City; and nieces and nephews Keane Wolter, Kara Wolter, Johannes Wolter, Halle Andersen, Sutton Andersen, Ariana Mathews, Damian Mathews, and Torey Mathews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Reimer and Lotte Wolter, and his sister, Maria Wolter.

A memorial service where people can share their memories of him will take place at Cobblestone Farm on Sunday January 11, 2015, at 2:00 p.m.

Some options in lieu of flowers: • Take a CPR class, and keep your CPR certification up to date over the years. • Make a donation to Food Gatherers in his name. • Make a donation to the Specialty Food Pantry at Jewish Family Services in Ann Arbor in his name. • Make a donation to the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum in his name. • A group is looking into putting a bench in Gallup Park on the Saturday Morning Walk route, with a plaque remembering Jan.


  • Memorial Service & Gathering

    Sunday, January 11, 2015


Jan Dithmar Wolter

have a memory or condolence to add?


January 27, 2017

Valerie...look at the people who keep writing about their experiences with Jan. What a legacy...a legacy that the the two of you created. You have no idea how much I love/admire you both. I hope you are moving know Jan would want this...large boots to fill for both you and the children.

Rudra Sinha

January 26, 2017

Rest in peace, sir.

Jungfu Tsao

August 12, 2016

I am one of Dr. Wolter's students in Texas A&M University. I am so sorry to just realize he passed away in 2015. I still remember him as an open-minded, smart, and patient professor with interests in many different areas. I didn't stay in touch with him much after I left TAMU. I hope he was happy chasing his passions in life all those years.

Randy LeJeune

April 21, 2016

Wow, just found out today after being away from Grex for some time. he was always so nice to me. So sorry to hear about this.

Fan Zhang

February 15, 2016

As a former student of Dr. Wolter at Texas A&M University, I've known him as a wonderful teacher and extremely kind and generous person. When he ordered two SPARCstations, one colored and one b&w, he gave his 3 funded students, me included, the colored one and kept the b&w one for himself. Wish I had produced better works for him. Sorry Dr. Wolter, hope you can still hear me. Came to know about this only 3 days ago. Very sad!

Jack Maessen

January 20, 2016

I just wanted to say thanks for your great work in the world of programming

Jack Maessen form the Netherlands

Arthur Borgo

November 26, 2015

I have no idea who this man was, but he seems awesome! May you find peace, Jan.

Henriette Schlote

February 8, 2015

Lieber Jan,
you left so suddenly and unexspected- and that on 1st of January 2015!
Whereever you may be now, send my regards to Lotte, Raimer and Maria.
Your cousin across the Atlantic Ocean, Henriette Schlote.

STeve Andre'

February 4, 2015

I've been thinking on what to say and I still haven't really come up with anything reasonable. I can only say that Jan was a great person and leaves a great hole with his passing. I know you will pull through, Valerie. Hugs.

Sierra Kempster

January 26, 2015

So sorry for your loss. Much love. Jan will be missed.