Richard Geller, Stuyvesant math teacher and coach of the Stuyvesant and New York City math teams, died today of melanoma. Barbara Geller wanted everyone to know that his final words to his son were, “Any questions?” The Stuyvesant Spectator is devoting its next issue to his memory (update: editorial, article 1, article 2), and solicits letters, art and photographs (facebook event page). My contribution is here:
During my four years at Stuyvesant, Mr. Geller ruled the math team. Like many others of us in the tribe of the mathematically minded, he had a strong desire to have things in their right place. He patrolled the hallway on the fourth floor, ensuring that everyone was present and accounted for, that math was being done, and that anarchy wasn’t breaking out in the rooms led by math team captains. As far as I can tell, this same instinct informed his interests in mathematical problem-solving and in maintaining calm in the classroom and hallways, his awe-inspiring fairness and his ability to almost single-handedly manage roughly 200 of us spread over a half-dozen rooms taking dozens of different competitions each semester.
Stuyvesant math team was for me, and I hope for many of my peers, a unique and wonderful experience. I will always be indebted to Mr. Geller for making it possible. Math is #1!
Mr. Geller’s 2011 graduation speech is available on YouTube:
Update: More information from Mr. Geller’s wife Barbara:
I am very sorry to tell you that Richard passed away today (Tuesday) at about 1pm. His disease advanced rapidly in the last few days but he seemed calm in his last hours. I will miss him greatly and I know many others will too. He had a special place in our hearts.
We will have a celebration of his life on Friday, November 4, 2011 at the
Riverside Memorial Chapel
180 West 76th Street at Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10023
The family will receive visitors beginning at 10:45 AM. Services will begin promptly at 11:45 AM.
Burial will be immediately after at the
New Montefiore Cemetery
Pinelawn, Suffolk County, New York
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to a scholarship fund at Stuyvesant High School set up in Richard’s name. Checks can be made out to Richard B Geller Memorial Scholarship for Mathematics
And sent to
50 West 97th Street #11T
New York, NY 10025
Further update: the New York Times has a nice piece up on their website. He was teaching until 2 weeks ago.