Robert Zipf, founder of Municalc and Munitype, died Jan. 12 at the age of 88.
Born in Boston on Sept. 19, 1932, to Joyce Waters Brown and George Kingsley Zipf, Mr. Zipf spent his formative years in Duxbury and Newton, Massachusetts. He studied mathematics at the University of Chicago and graduated at age 19 in 1951, then earned a second bachelor’s degree at Harvard University in 1953. He later earned an MBA from New York University in 1980.
Mr. Zipf joined the Army in 1954 and served much of his two-year term in Japan. His family said his time there sparked a love of travel, and led to his visiting Thailand, Macao and Hong Kong during his service, and South America, the United Kingdom and Israel later. Despite this globetrotting, his favorite destination remained Cape Cod.
After leaving the Army and spending a few years at the John Hancock Insurance Co. in Boston, Mr. Zipf founded Municalc, a start-up that processed data for the municipal bond industry. In 1965, he moved to New York City and founded Munitype, a second start-up that made time-shared computer services available to the finance community; both companies were pioneering for the time. He then combined his success in computers and bonds at IBM, Merrill Lynch and AMBAC Indemnities. He also wrote three books, “How Municipal Bonds Work” (1995), “How the Bond Market Works” (1997) and “Fixed Income Mathematics” (2003). The books went into several editions and were translated for the foreign market.
Mr. Zipf’s interests included chess and bridge, in both of which he was nationally ranked, and the Civil War. His relatives said his true delight was family. After raising his children in Scarsdale, he moved to Greenwich, Connecticut, frequently visiting his children and grandchildren, attending their sporting and artistic endeavors, and enjoying time with them.
He is survived by his children George and Catherine, their spouses Lynn and Mark, his grandchildren Elizabeth, Matthew, Isabelle and Bridget, his siblings Katie, Jo and Hank, cousins Georgia and Rachel and ex-wife Deborah. He will be greatly missed by his Army buddy Don, and friends Joan and Sarah, said his family.
In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations to one of Mr. Zipf’s favorite places, the Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. A memorial service will be held on Feb. 6 at 11 a.m. and livestreamed at facebook.com/ststephenswestboro.