A true hackers' hero
I cut my programming teeth on FORTRAN IV, and I used FORTRAN for many years to solve astronomy research problems, so I owe a debt of gratitude to John Backus.
The obituary over at the New York Times reveals the character of the man behind the legend. During the development of FORTRAN at IBM, it says: "I.B.M. had a system of rigid yearly performance reviews, which Mr. Backus deemed ill-suited for his programmers, so he ignored it."