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Obituaries July 2010

1 July 2010 2,121 views No Comment

Tim Robertson

Richard Dykstra

Tim Robertson passed away on April 5 at the age of 72 to the regret of his colleagues, family, and friends.

Robertson, son of Helen Oliver-Girdner and stepfather Flick Girdner, was born October 4, 1937, in Denver, Colorado. His family moved to Chillicothe, Missouri, in 1942, and he graduated from Chillicothe High School in 1955.

Robertson attended the University of Missouri in Columbia and earned his BA in mathematics in 1959. He and his wife, Joan, were married prior to his senior year. He entered graduate school in the fall of 1959 and earned his MS in mathematics in 1961.

Robertson accepted an assistant professor position in mathematics at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, where he and Joan also served as houseparents in the men’s dormitory from 1961–1963.

In 1963, Robertson and Joan returned to Columbia, where he pursued his PhD. His thesis adviser was H. D. (Dan) Brunk, with whom he established a close friendship that existed until Brunk’s death in 2009. Brunk instilled an appreciation for mathematical rigor and a thrill of research in Robertson that carried through his entire academic life.

Robertson joined the department of statistics and actuarial science at the University of Iowa as a new PhD in 1965. He was a good teacher and researcher and was promoted to associate professor in 1968 and full professor in 1974. Eighteen students wrote their PhD dissertations under his guidance. Most became successful scholars, and several maintained contact with Robertson until his death.

Robertson was a successful and well-respected scholar. He was a Fellow of both the American Statistical Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. He was elected to membership in the International Statistical Institute, and he was an active member of the Mathematical Association of America. Robertson was the lead author of the monograph “Order Restricted Statistical Inference,” which was considered the standard reference on the topic. He was the recipient of a University of Iowa Collegiate Teaching Award in 1990 and generally recognized as being an outstanding teacher.

Robertson served as associate editor for several statistical journals and took an active role in university activity. He served on the Educational Policy Committee for several years, as well as on the Board in Control of Athletics. Though Robertson was a demanding adviser, he was also nurturing. He had high expectations of his students, but his door was always open to them. He was enthusiastic in the classroom, and many of his students recall being kept on their toes by relevant questions directed at them.

Robertson developed many interests outside the university. He loved the outdoors and often took his family on camping and canoeing trips to the Boundary Waters of Minnesota and various Iowa rivers. He trained hunting dogs, competed in field trials with them, and was a founding member of the Eastern Iowa Shooting Dog Association. In 1992, Robertson and Joan purchased a farm near the Cedar River at Cedar Bluffs. They built a modest home (referred to as “the cabin”), which was later enlarged to become the elegant, comfortable home he and Joan enjoyed until their deaths.

Robertson was preceded in death by his loving wife and lifelong companion, Joan, who passed away on February 25. He is survived by his four children—Kelly, Jana, Doug, and Mike—and six grandchildren.

Arnold J. Rosenthal

Arnold Rosenthal, born in 1922 in New York City, passed away on February 26. He earned a BS from the City College of New York in 1941 and a PhD from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute in 1958. He worked for the Celanese Corporation for 41 years as a statistician.

From 1963 to 1987, Rosenthal was both editor and publisher of two highly acclaimed and widely used abstract services: Quality Control and Applied Statistics and Operations Research/Management Science. These provided an important resource to statisticians and operations researchers worldwide in the days before the Internet. Rosenthal was, for many years, an active participant of the Gordon Research Conference on Statistics in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. He and his wife, Dorothy, also served as the group’s photographers. Dorothy has graciously donated their pictures to the ASA for its archives.

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