I first met Mr. Geller in the mid-80s when I was a high school student. My Stuyvesant math team friends snuck me into the math team practice one morning, and Mr. Geller was the math team coach. Although he enjoyed a reputation for being quite strict, he made an exception in my case and I felt welcome.
When I found myself working in New York starting in 2006, I met Richard again at the New York Math Circle. Richard attended every teachers class, and I pretty much did too.
I took this photo of Richard at Stuyvesant High School just two years ago at the annual math team coaches workshop. Mr. Geller was there early, and welcomed everyone. I was there to run a middle school math teachers’ circle with the New York Math Circle, and Richard was the one who had invited us in and arranged for the room.
Richard was diagnosed with a melanoma cancer last year, and died on November 1, 2011 at about 1pm. (11/1/11 1pm). He will be missed. In a recent message, his widow, Barbara, wrote that
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to a scholarship fund at Stuyvesant High School set up in Richard’s name. Checks can be made out to Richard B Geller Memorial Scholarship for Mathematics and sent to Barbara Geller, 50 West 97th Street #11T, New York, NY 10025.
Here is further reading:
New York Times article: Stuyvesant Students Mourn a Math Teacher Who Was No. 1
The Stuyvesant Spectator article: Richard Geller: The Lifelong Mathematician
Riverside Memorial Chapel: Richard Geller (August 20, 1946 – November 1, 2011)