Marvin David Marcus

Obituary
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July 31, 1927-February 20, 2016

After a long struggle with Alzheimer's disease, beloved, handsome, brilliant and charming Marvin passed away peacefully in his sleep. He will be remembered for many things. He fiercely loved his two children, Jeffrey, and Karen Melissa. He was very playful with them, and his daughter fondly remembers buying pastries at la panaderia on Haley Street in Santa Barbara, buying a balsa wood and paper kite each week to fly on the lawn of the Mission, many ice cream cones, many hugs and kisses, and lots of joking around. Marvin was a life-long tennis player, avid reader of science, and travel narratives. He enjoyed going out to dinner with family and friends, and he especially loved Mexican food. He had a wonderful, though sometimes caustic sense of humor.

Marvin served honorably in the U.S. Navy from 1944-1946. He obtained a B.A., with highest honors, in mathematics in 1950, from the University of California, Berkeley, where he then obtained a Ph.D. in mathematics in 1953, with a specialization in the area of differential equations. From 1954-1961, he had positions at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, and as a Research Mathematician at the National Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C. During this period, his research activity exploded, and lifelong friendships and professional relations were established. In 1962, he came to the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he spent the rest of his career. He was in the Department of Mathematics until 1983, then from 1983-1987 held joint appointments in the Departments of Mathematics and Computer Science, then was solely in the Department of Computer Science as of 1987. He founded the Microcomputer Laboratory at UCSB in 1979 and was Director until retirement in 1991. He was Vice Chancellor and Dean of Research and Academic development from 1978-1986. He has been remembered by colleagues and former mathematics graduate students, who nicknamed him "M-squared," for his "impish grin, usually in casual coat and nice tie, coffee in a large Styrofoam cup, crumpled napkin in hand, ready to do Math!" He has been described as "greatly respected," a "fine friend and mentor," a "mathematical father" to his graduate students, a "larger than life" professor, researcher and mentor who had a profound influence on many of his mathematics graduate students.

He was highly prolific, and was the sole author or co-author of several dozen books and over two hundred articles. He will be remembered as a giant of Matrix Theory and Multilinear Algebra.

The mother of his two children, Arlen Ingrid Bishop (Sahlman), his second wife, Rebecca Marcus (Rogers), and his son Jeffrey Thomas Benjamin Marcus preceded him in death.

He is survived by his daughter Karen Melissa Marcus, devoted step-daughter Nansie Chapman, three sisters, and numerous nieces and nephews. His sister, Gigi Lane, will remember him fondly. A celebration of his life will be held in Santa Barbara on May 27, 2016. Friends interested in attending please contact his daughter Karen Melissa at [email protected] In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Villa Alamar, 45 E. Alamar Ave., Santa Barbara, California, 93105. May his memory be a blessing.


Published in The Santa Barbara News-Press Online Edition from Mar. 2 to Mar. 6, 2016
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