Robbie Charles Fry
January 29, 1961 - August 31, 2011
Obituary for Robb Fry
(in the Kamloops newspaper The Daily News.)
Schoening Funeral Service
has arranged an on-line guestbook.
Memories of Robb relating to academic life, and certainly his involvement in BCcupms, are welcome to also be included
here. (Please send comments to be included below to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Contributors so far: Rick Brewster, Leo Neufeld, Nicholas Buck, Chandler Davis
Shared by Rick Brewster:
Professor Robbie Charles Fry: colleague, teacher, mentor, friend, mathematician.
On Aug 31, 2011, Robb Fry passed away after a lengthy illness with cancer.
Anyone who knew Robb, knew his passion for mathematics.
He continued to work and publish until the very end of his life.
He was highly respected for his work on approximation in Banach spaces.
However, his knowledge of mathematics extended far beyond his area of specialization.
To chat with Robb about things mathematical over coffee, or a decent glass of red wine, was a special experience.
His courses in Analysis, History of Mathematics, and Measure Theory were highlights for many students.
Robb had a particular ability to present complex mathematics in a clear and engaging way.
This was true of his most recent research.
It was true of first year Calculus.
It is no surprise that the student organizers of the Canadian Undergraduate Conference in
Mathematics/Congrès Canadien des Étudiants en Mathématiques 2009 chose Robb as a keynote speaker.
His talk on Bertelmann's Socks (Les Chaussettes de M. Bertelmann Révisité) complete with washing machines was a big hit.
Robb will be remembered for his mathematics, his music, his humour, and his incredible courage over the last six months.
Most of all, Robb will be remembered for his warmth so evident in his love of his family, particularly his daughter that
brought so much joy to his life.
Shared by Leo Neufeld:
Robb Fry's association with the BCcupms goes back to 1998 when he was
teaching at UNBC. With his candour and amiable nature, he immediately
endeared himself to members of the Committee. However, it was by freely
sharing his music that he made his greatest, first impression and he never
forgot to bring his guitar to any subsequent meetings.
One of Robb's unique contributions to the positive chemistry we enjoy in our
articulation committee was his willingness to share his love of music and the
guitar at our Greek dinners. The last one I remember occurred in Whitehorse and,
I believe, he sang one of his own compositions, "Emily", on that occasion. All
his talents and his indomitable spirit will be greatly missed.
The photo to the left is from one of our very own Photo Galleries.
Follow the link below to hear Robb singing "Emily", one of his own
compositions, on CBC Radio3.
Shared by Nicholas Buck:
It is still sinking-in to me that we have lost Robb. Here's a little
story about my first encounter with Robb.
In August, 1994 just after Robb had moved from New Cally to UNBC,
Robb, Edward Dobrowolski, another colleague, Peter Maides (who teaches
English), and yours truly went for a day-hike up (and down) Viking
Ridge just west of Prince George.
Early in the hike, Robb decided to bend Edward's ear with a sketch of
a proof of a conjecture in Banach space theory (apropos, I guess,
since Banach was a Pole, like Edward). Recently out of grad school
Robb's mind was bursting with maths. For four hours up, Robb sketched
the proof, and Edward drew attention to the wrinkles that needed
smoothing over. Meanwhile Peter and I chatted about poetry. A short
rest at the summit, and down we went, while the sketch continued. I
don't know if Robb ever published that paper, but he certainly knew
where the wrinkles were at the end of that hike.
For me, a great memory of Robb.
Shared by Chandler Davis:
Robb Fry was a great guy, and deserved more than life gave him.
We who knew Robb Fry in Ontario maybe knew only half. I always
meant to visit him in his several British Columbia homes and
never did. He was a strong and generous human being, loyal
to his Ontario roots but undoubtedly a real constructive force
to those he taught and cooperated with in his later years.
My sympathy to all of you for the loss. The mathematical world
is not tied to any province, and Robb's mark has been made
there and will be remembered.