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We have lost a friend

Posted 8 years ago
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With sadness I report the recent passing of Jaime Rangel-Mondragon.

He was a long time friend of Wolfram Research and a long time user and proponent of Mathematica. He was also a prolific, high quality, contributor to Demonstrations, an enthusiast regarding Wolfram technologies in general, as well as an occasional contributor to this forum. In addition to his excellent work at the Demonstrations site, there are several articles of his to be found in the Mathematica Journal and elsewhere.

I am fortunate to say that he was a personal friend as well. He visited Wolfram Research for several weeks each summer going back almost a decade. For most of those occasions he was situated at a table, with laptop, in my office. Jaime was an easy person to like. He was inquisitive about matters scientific, social,, or otherwise of current interest. He got along with people he met, liked to talk about all manner of things, and also to listen to what others would say. Most of all, he always had a smile and kind words.

In addition to professional interests in computer science and math, we had a fair amount otherwise in common. We were of similar ages, we had spouses in the same profession, and had children of similar ages and gender (I like to think he might find humor in the ambiguity of that remark). We both have a liking for graphic novels and compared notes on them. We discussed movies as well. I should also mention that he worked hard, even during what might otherwise have been his summer down time. Often he was in the office before I arrived, and sometimes after I left (which was generally not early). During these times he managed to unleash considerable amounts of creative work for Demonstrations and journal articles. I recall that at the end of each of his stays here there was often a sort of conflicting set of goals. His was to be sure he found gifts for his family. Mine was to ply him (well, both of us) with beer. I believe he generally (perhaps always) managed that former goal. On two or three occasions I also achieved the latter.

A few weeks ago he let several of us know he was ill. While his note was optimistic, and we all hoped to see him again, his son Jose wrote to say that cancer took him from us on June 25. He will be missed.

I guess if there is one thing I need to recall, it is this. Through his humor and easy manner, it was always clear that he cared deeply about his family and his work. May his memory be a blessing.

POSTED BY: Daniel Lichtblau
2 Replies
Posted 8 years ago


POSTED BY: Kyle Jiang

I also feel sorry for these devastating news.

I came across Jaime's work last year, while I was devising an algorithm to tile polyominoes using GPUs. His paper Polyominoes and Related Families was clear-cut and comprehensive. It just give me the core information I was looking for. Apart from that, and this is the reason I sympathize so much with your pain, we can pretty much see his ideas taking shape and his joy of playing with the problem. In a certain sense it was a personal account that many of us easily identify with.

We can clearly see how blessing he was, saving his close friends from suffering and being so involved with the people he loved. Thank you for your testimony, which just makes us wonder how beautiful he was: a flare of the glory to come. May the Lord comfort you, his cherished ones and all the people who were influenced somehow by his earthly life.

POSTED BY: Alexandre Soares
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