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Robert Heller Jr.


1931 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Robert Heller Jr. Obituary
Robert Heller Jr., 84, longtime Starkville resident and retired mathematics professor at Mississippi State University, died suddenly Thursday, January 14, 2016.

Born in San Angelo, Tex., on June 13, 1931, to Robert and Margaret Mason Heller, Bob grew up in Houston, Tex. His innate curiosity and love for solving puzzles led to an early interest in mathematics. Bob graduated from Lamar High School at age 14 and became the University of Houston's then-youngest-ever student in the spring of 1946. He received a bachelor's degree from UH and earned a master's degree and a Ph.D in mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin.

Bob found his true home when he moved to Starkville in 1964 to teach mathematics at Mississippi State University. Students often praised his unique sense of humor and uncanny ability to write on the chalkboard with both hands at the same time. Bob retired from MSU in 1994 as Associate Professor Emeritus of Mathematics.

Bob's eclectic list of lifelong interests included classical music, professional wrestling, and groan-worthy puns. Particular favorites included Ludwig van Beethoven, six-time world champion Lou Thesz, and a mildly off-color joke with the punchline of "I'll take the soup." Bob never got on board with the rock and roll the kids listen to, and he spent much of his later years railing against the pitiful state of late-night television. Craig Ferguson, Jay Leno, and bands that smashed guitars onstage were frequent targets of his ire. He was a great supporter of MSU athletics and the arts in Starkville, regularly attending games, Starkville Community Theatre productions, and Lyceum concerts. With genuine affection, Bob often described Starkville as "a nice place to live, but you wouldn't want to visit."

He was preceded in death by a son, Robert Keith Heller, and a brother, Raymond Jerry Heller. He is survived by his younger son, Christopher Blake Heller of Houma, LA.

Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, January 19, at Welch Funeral Home in Starkville. A private interment will follow on Wednesday.

Memorial donations may be made to , 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105, by email at [email protected], or at www.stjude.org/donate.
Published in Starkville Daily News on Jan. 17, 2016
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