Department of Mathematics

Van Vleck Hall, 480 Lincoln Drive, Madison, WI

In Memoriam: Howard Conner

Howard was a professor in the Mathematics Department from 1962 until he became Emeritus in 1996. He was raised in Watertown, Wisconsin  and graduated from High School in 1948, he then joined the Navy and became an electronics technician attaining the rank of Petty Officer First Class.  After the service he attended the UW- Madison 1952-56, becoming one of the first to graduate in the Applied Math and Engineering Physics (AMEP) program.  He had advanced calculus from Buck.  Howard then went to MIT and Lincoln Labs where he earned his PhD under Norman Levinson in 1961. His early research was in applied probability and the application of stochastic processes to Boltzmann type equations.

In 1961 he had an appointment at UW Mathematics Research Center.  In 1962 he was appointed Assist. Prof.  in the Mathematics Department. He soon became involved with the AMEP program which he guided skillfully and with great care for nearly 30 years. He spent two years at Rockefeller. Howard's later interests shifted to linear algebra and matrix theory, but he retained his interest in Physics. He performed physical experiments; and computer experiments with MATLAB. He (with others) helped to develop the computing facilities of the Math Department and led the MATH COMPUTING ENTER for many years almost until he retired.  (At the UW, the word center has a restriction, he was asked to remove it, his solution brings a smile.)  After retirement, he was active in the Math Olympiads at Randall School.

Howard was a good story teller, most were believable.  Howard had active duty in the Korean War.  His destroyer received a commendation for picking up a downed pilot, he played a key role in that he fine tuned the equipment so that the pilot could be located. He had a papal visit (with others) when in uniform he was picked out of a crowd in St Peter's square.  Howard was a keen handball player and played with many members of the dept.  He took interest in his children's careers and this led to many new friends.  This summer his family hosted a party for family and friends in his honor. It was a very diverse group.

Howard is survived by his children Daniel (Marla), Geoffrey (Alison Rice), Susan Conner-Dieter (Daniel) ,5 grandchildren: Martin; Isabel and Hannah; Julie and Lauren , and special friend Evelyn Gerry.  He was preceded in death by wife Shirley and daughter Julee.

We have known Howard for about 50 years and we love and respect him. For the past 10 years we have had lunch with him most Fridays. He will be sorely missed.

S. Bauman, D. Crowe, P Orlik, R. Smart, M. Voichick

UW-Madison Department of Mathematics
Van Vleck Hall
480 Lincoln Drive
Madison, WI  53706

(608) 263-3054

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