Apple Co-Founder and CEO, Steve Jobs, passed away on Wednesday evening. Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004 and had a liver transplant in 2009. Jobs formally resigned as CEO of Apple in late August 2011.
Jobs kept his personal life very private, however it is known that Paul and Clara Jobs adopted him as a newborn. For many years it was not public information who Jobs’ biological parents were, but in recent years his parents were named as Joanne Simpson and Abdulfattah John Jandali. According to several reports Simpson and Jandali were college students, Jandali was a Syrian immigrant, and despite the pregnancy, Simpson’s parents refused to allow them to marry.
Because they could not marry, Simpson and Jandali placed their child for adoption. In a 2005 Stanford Commencement speech, Jobs spoke of his adoption. In that speech Jobs said that his biological mother was adamant that he be adopted by college graduates, because education was important to her. Jobs said that a doctor and lawyer couple were prepared to adopt him, however they decided when he was born that they really wanted a daughter.
Jobs continues that the agency scrambled to find a new couple and called Paul and Clara Jobs who immediately said yes. When his biological mother discovered that neither Paul nor Clara Jobs graduated college, and Paul never graduated high school, Jobs said his biological mother refused to sign the finalization papers for months until the Jobs’ promised that Steve would go to college.
Jobs did go to college, but dropped out of Reed College after one semester. Despite his lack of formal education Jobs made Apple one of the most well-known and innovative companies in the world.
Jandali and Simpson eventually did marry and had a daughter, novelist, Mona Simpson. According to many articles and reports Jobs and Simpson had a good relationship once they met as adults. However, Jobs never met either of his biological parents. According to an ABC News article, Jandali sent several emails to Jobs in recent years in an effort to meet his son, however Jobs was not receptive and did not respond to any of the emails.
An interesting question that will never be answered is what if Simpson’s parents had allowed her to marry Jandali and Jobs had never been placed for adoption. Would we be talking about former Apple CEO Steve Jobs today? His biological mother obviously put a strong importance on education. What if Jobs had graduated college, and spent his formative years receiving a formal education instead of working at Atari then, then traveling to India on a “spiritual enlightening trip” would he have still created Apple? Obviously these are questions that will go unanswered, but are interesting to think about.
Below is the video of Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford, where he speaks about his adoption and formative years.