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Robert Brown Gardner ’59

Published in Sept. 9, 1998, issue

An internationally known mathematician, Robby died May 5, 1998, following a brief illness. A professor at the U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, since 1971, Robby authored three books and over 50 papers. A memorial fund to benefit math graduate students has been established in his name at UNC.

Son of Esmond '23, Robby played freshman soccer at Princeton, joined Key and Seal, and roomed with Randy Bigger, Tommy Byrnes, Roger Little, Charlie Murphy, and Charlie Stevenson.

Robby earned an MA at Columbia and a PhD at UC-Berkeley. He held faculty positions at Berkeley, Courant Institute, Columbia, and the Institute for Advanced Study. He cofounded a faculty and student exchange with the Technische U. in Berlin, belonged to Sigma Xi, AMS, and the First Senior Member IEEE. He was a connoisseur of antiques and fine wines, an avid collector of German stamps, and a lover of music: classical to big band, samba, and rock.

Robby was appreciated for his quick wit, sense of humor, empathy, and generosity. Princeton's John Wheeler inspired in Rob a dedication to students, several of whom spoke at his memorial service. One wrote of him: "He was the best man I ever knew."

Rob is survived by his wife, Harolyn, children Kirsten and Steven, sisters Carlene, Anita, and Margaret, and stepmother Nancy, to whom the class offers its sincere condolences.

The Class of 1959

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