Obituaries: Mrs. Idalia Reid

March 15, 2000

SIAM lost a friend on January 1, 2000, with the death of Mrs. Idalia Reid in San Antonio, Texas. Fondly remembered for her warmth and generosity by the students of her husband, W.T. Reid, who died in 1977, Mrs. Reid turned the same spirit in SIAM's direction in the early 1990s with an extraordinarily generous gift to be used for the endowment of the W.T. and Idalia Reid Prize in Mathematics.

John Burns of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, one of W.T. Reid's students at the University of Oklahoma, maintained a lifelong friendship with Mrs. Reid. "Mrs. Reid was an integral part of Dr. Reid's mathematical career," he said in 1993, when the prize was being established. "Mrs. Reid was a gracious hostess to his colleagues and a mother to his students."

The Reids were at Oklahoma (where he was Phillips Professor of Mathematics) from 1964 until his retirement, in 1976. Before moving to Oklahoma, they had spent time at the University of Chicago, Northwestern, the Sandia Corporation, in Albuquerque, and the University of Iowa, establishing close and lasting friendships at every stop. Many of the 25 students supervised by W.T. Reid in the course of his career would agree with John Burns: Mrs. Reid's affection and nurturing spirit helped them meet the high standards set by her husband.

During a recent visit to Mrs. Reid and her nephew, John Narciso, who worked with SIAM on behalf of his aunt in creating the prize fund, SIAM executive director James Crowley and Terry Herdman of Virginia Tech (one of W.T. Reid's last students) took the opportunity to thank them both for their generosity to the applied mathematics community. At that time, Crowley says, "I was struck by the closeness of the friendships that she had maintained with her husband's former students."

The Reid prize, which recognizes work in partial differential equations and control theory, the main interests of W.T. Reid, was given for the first time in 1994, to Wendell Fleming; subsequent recipients have been Roger Brockett (1996) and Jacques-Louis Lions (1998). The next presentation of the prize will be in Puerto Rico, at the 2000 SIAM Annual Meeting.

Readers wishing to make contributions to the prize fund in memory of W.T. and Idalia Reid should address their correspondence to SIAM (W.T. and Idalia Reid Prize in Mathematics Fund, SIAM, 3600 University City Science Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104-2688).

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