Date: Oct 12, 2012 9:40 AM
Author: Dave L. Renfro
Subject: Re: Jonathan Groves (1981-2011)

GS Chandy wrote (in part):

> Do you have any idea of how it came to be that he died at such
> a young age? The online obit says nothing about this.

I have no idea, not even whether it was an accident causing
physical injury or a health issue. In general, for my various
math history pursuits when trying to track down the full name of
someone and their birth-death years, I've found that obituaries
are often extremely lacking in details. Especially in light of
the fact that, for someone who wasn't relatively famous, newspaper
obituaries tend to be about the only record of that person's life.
For example, in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society
death notices (at least during the 1980s, which are the ones I've
been going through recently), the specific date of death is given
(i.e. June 18, 1987) but no date of birth is given, not even the
year of birth. Instead, they say how old the person was when he/she
died, which is not even enough information to determine the year
of birth (unless the date of death is December 31). Essentially
no increase in text-character length would be needed to give
the date of birth (in case the length of the death notice is
a concern), and then giving the age at death would no longer
be needed. Of course, it may very well be the case that the birth
date is not reported (but surely not in every case!), in which
case my criticism would be directed those reporting the death
to the AMS.

Dave L. Renfro