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James Robert Thompson


1938 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
James Robert Thompson Obituary
James Robert Thompson
1938-2017
James Robert Thompson was born in Memphis, Tennessee on June 18, 1938. He died of cancer on December 4, 2017.
He was preceded in death by his mother Mary Haskins Thompson, father Clarence Algia Thompson, and son Andrew Michael Thompson.
Jim graduated from Memphis High and from Vanderbilt University, having received the Founder's Medal as first in his class. In 1966, he received his doctorate in mathematics from Princeton University. He then accepted a job offer from Vanderbilt University where he taught mathematics and statistics and where he met and married a graduate student Ewa Majewska Thompson. The couple moved to Indiana where they taught at Indiana University. In 1970, James R. Thompson came to Rice University where he founded the Department of Statistics in 1987 and wrote fourteen scholarly books on statistical subjects. He retired from teaching at Rice in 2016 as Noah Harding Professor of Statistics and adjunct professor at M.D Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Texas School of Public Health.
Professor Thompson was a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, the International Statistical Institute, and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. He was a recipient of the Army Wilks Award for his work on defense-related data analysis and modeling, and the ASA's Don Owen Award for his international work in statistical process control. He made pioneering contributions to the understanding of Statistical Model Building, Biomathematics, Quality Control and Computational Finance. He has done pioneering research on AIDS. Shortly before his demise he was honored by a Festschrift (edited by John A. Dobelman) to commemorate his retirement from teaching.
He leaves behind his grieving wife Ewa and a large number of former students and colleagues whose lives he touched not only as a scholar but also as a mentor and friend.
The Funeral Mass will be held at Our Lady of Czestochowa Church, 1731 Blalock Road, 77080 at 1:00 pm on Saturday, December 9, 2017, followed by a reception.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Dec. 7, 2017
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