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Stephen Tellman ’57

October 21, 2018, in Tucson, Arizona.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Steve grew up in an air force family that traveled around the country before settling in Sacramento, California, when he was a teenager. At Reed, he wrote his thesis, “An Elementary Approach to Fermat’s Last Theorem,” with Prof. Jack Dudman [math and dean of students 1953–85] advising. He went on to get a PhD in mathematics from the University of Washington and taught briefly at Pomona College. In 1965, he joined the math department at the University of Arizona where he remained on the faculty for 33 years. Steve introduced thousands of students to the joys and sorrows of calculus, linear algebra, and statistics before retiring in 1998.

He had an impressive ability to overcome obstacles and remain positive in the face of difficulties. As a teenager, he battled back from polio, and he showed a similar determination and optimism in his later years as he faced decreasing mobility and other medical issues. After retiring, Steve continued to study and write. In addition to his love of math, he enjoyed classical music and had a daunting collection of CDs and LPs, ranging from Josquin des Prez to Iannis Xenakis. Steve is survived by his wife, Jen; his son, Edwin; his daughter, Carol; and his stepdaughter, Ginette.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2018

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