Alden Puckett bio
Alden Puckett was born in Mineral Wells, Texas, on December 19, 1973. His father, Ronald, and his mother, Marilyn, were high school sweethearts whose hopes to marry young were disrupted by the Vietnam War when Ronald's draft number was called in 1970.
After his combat tour ended, Ronald returned to Marilyn and kept his promise to marry. After Alden's birth, Ronald went to work in the Fort Worth area as a steamfitter. Marilyn remained on staff at the historic Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells, where she got her first job at 18.
Young Alden's mother nicknamed him "Squirrel" because his high energy ran her ragged. This trait didn't serve Alden well in school, and he frequently got in trouble with his teachers or irritated his classmates. On top of that, some of his peers ostracized him because of a large birthmark on his shoulder that continued down his arm.
Lacking close friends because of his physical and emotional differences, Alden found solace in the new technology of the time: the home computer. Alden was fascinated when his family purchased an Apple II in 1982, and his love for tech grew to programming and then to robotics.
By the time he entered Mineral Wells High School, Alden still had no close friends, but he quickly found he could manufacture some. His newly-acquired phone phreaking talents made 14-year-old Alden a weekend hero to his male classmates. He was able to identify faulty phone-diverting equipment in area businesses and leverage it to dial phone sex numbers on that unsuspecting business' dime.
When Alden graduated in 1992 with high grades, his father half-jokingly remarked that if Alden hadn't earned them, he would have just hacked them higher.
In the fall of 1993, Alden enrolled at Baylor University in Waco. He graduated with a Computer Science degree in only three years and finished his Computer Science graduate program at the University of Texas at Tyler a year later. UT-Tyler offered him a staff position before the ink had dried on his diploma. Alden accepted. By 2002, Alden was UT-Tyler's CIS program coordinator.
In 2006, Alden met June Starkweather, a mutual friend of a colleague at the college. June came from a family with oil money, so she hadn't worked a day in her life. Notwithstanding, June was suitably charming, quick-witted, and headstrong, all qualities that Alden admired. They were married the next year.
In 2011, Alden and two of his former students, Hoyt Biffle and Ezekiel Evans, were arrested on charges of identity theft, breach of internet security, and a host of other computer-oriented crimes. While the charges were eventually dropped, he lost his job at UT-Tyler.
For the next several years, Alden worked various IT jobs until a former UT-Tyler colleague helped him find a position at Ole Miss. In 2016, Alden moved to Oxford to start teaching Computer Science 111.
Alden was thrilled when Hoyt Biffle began visiting him in the late 2010s when Hoyt was learning to integrate computer systems into live television media. Once more, Hoyt was under his wing. Alden and June welcomed Hoyt into their social circle, including introducing Hoyt to June's friend, Birdie Tarver. Later, Hoyt and Birdie entered into a relationship of their own, and the two couples often dined together when Hoyt was in town.