John Roe
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John Roe October 6, 1959 March 9, 2018 John Roe -- teacher, mathematician, rock climber, theologian, activist, and follower of Jesus -- has departed from family and friends as well as the pain of cancer and has begun "a more focused time of peace and joy" with his Lord. John was born and raised in England and was fascinated by mathematics from an early age. As a teenager he received a classical education at Rugby School, where he discovered his gift of expository teaching and experienced one of the big surprises of his life by becoming a Christian. At the University of Cambridge, John earned degrees in mathematics and played guitar in a Christian rock band. His doctoral research was conducted under Professor Sir Michael Atiyah at the University of Oxford, where he remained for a post-doctoral fellowship. As a visiting researcher in Berkeley, Calif., John met Liane Stevens, whom he married in December 1986. John taught mathematics at Jesus College, Oxford until 1998, when the family, now including two children, made a major move to the United States. At The Pennsylvania State University, John was a professor of mathematics for 20 years, serving as Department Head for five years. John's deep faith and study of Scripture motivated him to follow the example of Jesus by promoting equitable treatment of those without privilege and by welcoming marginalized individuals, including his younger child, who identified as transgender. His passion for the outdoors and rock climbing inspired his advocacy for the environment and sustainability, and he became a U.S. citizen in order to vote in the 2016 election. John reflected with honesty and grace about his cancer journey, which began with diagnosis and extensive treatment at the age of 54. Links to John's blogs about faith and sustainability, math, rock climbing, cancer, and transgender individuals can be found on his website (http://sites.psu. edu/johnroe/personal). John was an author of over 50 academic publications, including several books. His most recent and cherished project was the undergraduate textbook Mathematics for Sustainability, to be published by Springer in May 2018. John was devoted to his family: Liane, his wife of 31 years; his older child Nathan; his mother Judy Roe; his brother and sister-in-law Tim and Lindi Roe; and members of his extended family. He was preceded in death by his beloved younger child Eli (Miriam) Roe and his father Michael Roe. A memorial service will be held on Sunday April 8, 2018, at 3:00 p.m. at State College Presbyterian Church (132 West Beaver Avenue, State College). Donations in John's memory can be made to MAP International, providing global health care to people in need (; The Reformation Project, promoting inclusion of LGBTQ people in the church (, and Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light, responding to climate change as an ethical and moral issue (

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Published in Centre Daily Times on Mar. 17, 2018.
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March 21, 2018
John was a beautiful, beautiful man! I will miss him greatly, but what I learned from him will stay with me always. He reached out from the depths of his pain at the loss of his younger child to help change the way people view people who are transgender by providing education opportunities through Receiving with Thanksgiving last year. He lit a fire in my soul and made me a better ally and advocate.
March 19, 2018
A Sad day in this world.
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