Vincent Stecker, the former CEO of Avast Software who was a board member and staunch supporter of the Magical Bridge Foundation, has died at age 62.
“We will forever miss you!,” his wife, Amanda Toh Steckler, announced on Facebook. “You are the best thing happen to me and our children… RIP my love.. until I meet you again in heaven….”
Steckler was credited for his extensive service to Magical Bridge, which builds innovative and inclusive playgrounds in the Bay Area, including the Magical Bridge Playground in Redwood City’s Red Morton Park. The Foundation released a statement expressing “profound shock, sadness and disbelief” over his passing. The cause of his death wasn’t immediately known.
“As the legendary CEO of Avast Software, he was known around the world for his impact on technology and innovation, but we knew a different Vince,” the Foundation stated. “One who profoundly and quietly supported causes meaningful to him and his family. Magical Bridge Foundation was up at the top of that list.”
Olenka Villarreal, founder and CEO of Magical Bridge, described Steckler as someone who was passionate about his work and his philanthropy, but especially about his family. She said she met Steckler and his wife in 2013, after they had just moved to Palo Alto. At the time, a donor backed out of the first Magical Bridge project in Palo Alto. Amanda asked her husband to make the critical donation as her upcoming birthday gift, Villarreal said.
“It was their kindness and their generosity that saved the day and enabled us to break ground,” she said.
The Stecklers also provided much of the starting capital to create the Foundation as a nonprofit in 2016. Steckler’s interest in Magical Bridge’s work increased while he continued in his role at Avast’s CEO. In 2018, he invited Magical Bridge to move into office space located above his wife’s Singaporean restaurant, Killiney Kopitiam.
Steckler retired as Avast CEO two years ago in order to spend more time with his family and with his philanthropy, according to Villarreal. The philanthropy has included a $10.4 gift to his alma mater UC Irvine. The Stecklers also fully sponsored Magical Bridge playgrounds in Singapore, including schools serving students with autism.
Steckler had been a member of the Magical Bridge Board of Directors for the past three years and “was admired for his insights and his business acumen,” Villarreal said.
“In June 2021, we had planned to make exciting announcements about our Magical Bridge projects in Singapore,” Villarreal said. “It breaks my heart to know that Vince won’t ever see the beautiful spaces he spent years working on to bring to fruition.”
A fund has been established in Steckler’s memory to benefit Magical Bridge’s The Innovation Fund, which helps the Foundation to research, develop and deploy innovative and new technologies in the area of inclusive play.
Photo courtesy of Magical Bridge