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Ivar Stakgold


1925 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Ivar Stakgold Obituary
Ivar Stakgold 1925 - 2018 San Diego, CA Ivar Stakgold, distinguished mathematician, author, educator, and bridge champion, died on May 29 in La Jolla, California, of heart failure at age 92. His two-volume "Boundary Value Problems of Mathematical Physics," and "Greens Functions" are influential texts in their field.Born in Oslo, Norway, in 1925, Ivar Stakgold moved to Brussels, Belgium, with his Russian-Jewish parents, Rose and Henri Stakgold, when he was four. The family left Belgium in early 1940 on the eve of the German invasion and escaped via France and Spain to the Dominican Republic. While awaiting his United States immigration visas, he took bridge lessons and would eventually represent the United States in the World Team Championships in 1959 and the Bridge Olympiad in 1960.After entry to the United States, Stakgold attended the Horace Mann School and Cornell University. He received his doctorate in applied mathematics from Harvard University in 1949. Stakgold taught at Harvard until 1956 when he joined the Office of Naval Research in Washington D.C., where he served as head of the mathematics and logistical branches. Later posts included a joint appointment in Engineering Science and Mathematics at Northwestern University and Chair of the Mathematics Department at the University of Delaware.Stakgold held visiting professorships around the world. He was president of SIAM, the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics; Chair of the Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences; and Director of the Washington Office of the American Mathematical Society.In bridge, Stakgold and his partner Leonard Harmon helped develop the Kaplan-Sheinwold system which was adopted by many players. He won a number of national championships and was described in a New York Times Magazine article as "a bridge legend." In 1954, Stakgold married a fellow bridge player, Alice Calvert Cox. Together they won the National Mixed Team Championship in 1969. Alice Stakgold died in 1994.In recent years, Stakgold was adjunct professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of California at San Diego where he worked with his colleague Michael J. Holstas, on a third edition of "Greens Functions" which was published in 2011. Ivar Stakgold is survived by his daughter Alissa Stakgold of Los Angeles, two step-children William Cox and Gail Cox Gagarin; his fiance Lainie Lesser-Mark; his nieces Renee Packer of La Jolla and Irene Kraas of Santa Fe, and his nephew David Wolfe of Raanana, Israel.
Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on June 12, 2018
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