25 November 2003
On a lark I did a search for David Klarner and found your web site devoted to him. I wanted to write you to say how much I appreciated your tribute to Dr. Klarner.
I was first introduced to David as an undergraduate at UNL around 1987 where he was my professor for an analysis of algorithms class. I later took several graduate courses from him, including combinatorics and advanced algorithms.
I learned a great deal from Dr. Klarner; perhaps the greatest thing I learned was that one could be seriously intellectual and seriously eccentric & funny at the same time. At one point he had his pet dog with him nearly every day on campus (sleeping in his office). He explained that animals could not be on campus unless they were research animalsso the dog was registered with the proper university office as a research subject.
My other great Klarner story was walking down the hall after class on our way to a colloquium which was to be held in the large second floor lecture hall, Ferguson 213. I think I must have asked him if that was where the talk was to be held and he said yes and commented that 213 was an interesting number. He immediately began enumerating interesting mathematical curiosities about 213 with a side bar comment that every number was interesting in similar ways.
I teach a night course at UN-Omaha and occasionally find myself saying or doing something in lecture that I realize I picked up from Dr. Klarner.
Thane, your name would come up in conversations with David as would other students who he had truly enjoyed working with. Anyway, thank you for the web site; I have been smiling with old memories.
Paul H. Kenyon, Ph.D.
5 September 2002
I was very pleased to come across your web page devoted to David Klarner.
I first met David when I joined the Math Sciences department at SUNY-Binghamton as a junior faculty member in statistics in 1978. He immediately took me under his wing, and soon Paula (my then-wife) and I became good friends with David and Kara Lynn. I have fond memories of dinners at their lovely Victorian house, and of the hours spent in his basement woodworking shop as he helped me build a wall unit for our new home. David was one of the most generous and kind-hearted people I've ever known, and his passion for life and love of mathematics were infectious. Though he was suffering the painful effects of his diabetes even then, he never let it affect his relations with others or his overall spirit. As a result of his encouragement, I ended up being a contributor to The Mathematical Gardner, something which I now feel very honored to have been a part of.
After David left Binghamtonto our great disappointmentfor Nebraska (around 1982?), we kept in touch for a while but, unfortunately, the contact gradually faded with time, particularly after our own departure from Binghamton in 1986. In recent years, I had become aware that he was back in northern California. This past spring, contemplating a driving vacation on the West Coast, I did a web search to try to get his address and phone number. It was then that I discovered, alas, that David Klarner had died a few years prior.
I'd be interested to learn more about David's life, particularly his last years, if you or your correspondents might be able to fill me in.
With great appreciation,
30 July 2002
I first met David Klarner when I was in jr. high school in St. Helena California, about 1957. He was a freshman or sophomore then at St. Helena High School. They were both on the same campus at the time. We both had Mr. Nemo Debley as a teacher at St. Helena High School, as did my sister Cindy. I remember when David first contacted Martin Gardner with some solutions to pentominoe and pentacube puzzlesDavid had a set of hexacubes at his home in Napa too. I do not believe that the interest in him by Nemo Debley and Martin Gardner can be overestimated.
I had not communicated with David since high school until a couple of years before he died. It does not surprise me that his students admire him so. He was wonderful.
2 May 2002
David was a wonderful writer and it would be nice to try and get what he did available to a broad audience.
When I was at my current job (about 25 years ago) while David was still at Binghamton, I contacted him about some problems about polyominoes I was thinking about. He invited me to come up to Binghamton and stay at his house to discuss the questions. It turned out that he already had answers to what I was looking into but it was nice to meet him and exchange ideas. One event was "vintage Klarner." We were talking about various matters and David casually took out a hypodermic needle and started to give himself an injection, as he carefully looked at me to see my reaction; he informed me that he was not a heroin addict but he was taking his insulin!
I found out about his death, quite by accident when I noted a paper that Jim Propp wrote dedicated to Klarner. I contacted Propp about what he knew and it turned out he had heard that David had died but had not met him and only knew him by reputation. I will probably forward information about your Klarner web site to him, in the next few days when I get time.
Department of Mathematics
York College (CUNY)
Jamaica, New York 11451
1 May 2002
I just wanted to write and thank you for your work on the Klarner Project. I was a student of Klarner when I was an undergraduate at SUNY Binghamton in the 70s. I was a philosophy major, and took one course from Klarner during my senior year. But Klarner turned it into an independent study, and I came to know him well during that brief time. I didn't know he died.
Department of Philosophy / Cognitive Science Program
Los Angeles, CA
11 April 2002
My name is Greg Meinke. I graduated from UNL in the fall of 1989. Dr. Klarner was my advisor for my CS degree. I moved to CA shortly after that and unfortunately lost touch with him in the early-mid 1990's.
Seeing his picture on your mathematics website made me smile and remember this remarkable man who taught me so much in life. I had not heard of his passing until today, although I suspected of it.
If there is anything I can do to help make his memory live on please let me know.
26 December 2001
I was a great admirer of David Klarner. I heard about Klarner's unpublished work with Wade Satterfield, but I don't know who he is.
You may try [...] Jim Propp from the Math Dept. of Univ. of Wisconsin, so you can write to him. Also Steve Finch (the author of the Mathematical Constants website) might know something.
Good luck with your hunt!
4 May 2010
I learned of Dr. Klarner's death a few years ago through Ben Brewster, Math Dept Chair at SUNY-B. I was an undergrad student at SUNY-B in 1978 when I took Dr. Klarner's Mathematical Theory class. Mind you this was not a high brow class; it was a foundational course in proofs and, for example, using Fibonacci and Cauchy sequences to create the set of positive integers. It was the first time I really grasped the elegance of mathematics.
Dr. Klarner taught this class was in a large lecture hall. Curiously he began every class with a stuffed "Miss Piggy" doll seated on the lecture table facing the class. He used profanity liberally for emphasis. The class was riveted in attention out of both respect for his intellect and personal fascination. Yes - he often mentioned the "Pig who would Fuck Anything," but only now have I heard the actual story from this website (thanks!). I will never forget when he announced to the class that he was inviting everyone to a "country and western party for Miss Piggy" at his home. This was crazy and too much to pass up. I had already forged somewhat of a relationship with him resulting from several office hours sessions, so I came to the party along with probably about fifty students. He financed the whole gig - kegs of beer, wine, food, and he cared nothing of students thumbing through his record albums and playing them on his personal HiFi system. He was as gracious and warm a host as I will ever remember. In fact I recall at the party playing one his records from "the Blues Brothers" which had him laughing at my choice. I had remembered the huge poster of John Belushi (Senator Blutarsky) hanging in his office.
David Klarner was a good man, an engaging teacher, and a stong spirit. He made a big contribution my college experience.
Thanks for the site and the opportunity to share. Please feel free to post this email to your site if you choose.
John Hoover, SUNY-Binghamton '79