Volume 92, Issue 58

Tuesday, January 12, 1999



Private university a possibility

New renovation proposal costly but efficient

Frat finally pays up

Applied mathematics founder dies at 77

GM motors cash through U of T


MP3s bring music revolution

Caught on campus

Applied mathematics founder dies at 77

By Nina Chiarelli
Gazette Staff

The university community is still mourning the loss of one of Western's most influential and charismatic professors.

Funeral services were held yesterday in London for John Henry Blackwell, a professor emeritus in the applied mathematics department, who passed away as a result of pneumonia last Wednesday at the age of 77.

"It was a very good service," said his son Gerry Blackwell. "It was in the church my father attended. I had forgotten how beautiful it was.

"He was a pretty passionate guy. He was a great debater, he had very broad interests and a lot of hobbies," Gerry Blackwell added. The service lasted about an hour and was attended by more than 100 people.

"He was a lecturer and a mentor who was generous with his time and lovable, while still being a scholar first and foremost," said applied mathematics department chair Paul Sullivan.

Professor Blackwell, who joined the Western faculty in the department of physics in 1947 and became professor emeritus in 1986, was the founder of the applied mathematics department.

"Applied mathematics was not always a conventional subject. It took some acceptance to create and he did it," said Mair Zamir, a professor of applied mathematics and friend of Blackwell's.

Blackwell was also very involved in the Canadian Society of Mechanical Engineers and served as an executive assistant to the university president, in the area of planning, from 1976/79.

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Blackwell received his degree in pure math and physics before serving with the Australian Military during World War II. Following his service to the war effort, he then moved to Canada and continued his studies, obtaining his masters degree and PhD from Western, Sullivan said.

"He had a very disciplined and scholarly mind, but was a person with tremendous good spirit," said fellow professor Trevor Luke.

"You couldn't help but be his friend," Zamir said.

To Contact The News Department:

Copyright The Gazette 1999