Dr. Bruce G. Lindsay, 68, passed away on May 5, 2015 after battling an aggressive form of neuroendocrine cancer. He was born on March 7, 1947, in The Dalles, Ore., the son of the late George and Geneva Lindsay.
In 1997, he married Laura Simon who survives at home. He was the loving father of son Dylan Balch-Lindsay, who preceded him in death in 2002; son Camden Lindsay of The Dalles, Ore.; and daughter Maia Lindsay, at home. He is also survived by sister Susan Lyden (Art Curtis) of Lake Oswego, Ore.; step-sister Yoanna Sawdey (Steve) of West Richland, Wash.; step-brother Walton Lindley (Jean) of Tygh Valley, Ore.; step-brother Roger Whitley (Bonne) of Grass Valley, Ore.; niece Johanna Bataz (Juan) of Olivehurst, Calif.; nephew John Lyden of Carlsbad, N.M.; cousin David Mark of Greers Ferry, Ark.; and one grand-niece and three grand-nephews.
Bruce graduated from The Dalles High School, Ore., in 1965, and received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Oregon in 1969. He did graduate studies in mathematics at Yale University followed by four years of service in the U.S. Coast Guard during the Vietnam War. He earned a doctoral degree in biomathematics in 1978 at the University of Washington and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Imperial College of London in 1979.
Bruce happily spent all 36 years of his professional career in the Department of Statistics at Penn State University. He joined the faculty in 1979 as an assistant professor, was promoted to professor in 1987, and to distinguished professor in 1991. In 2004, he was named the Willaman Professor in Statistics. From 2012 to the time of his passing, Bruce was the holder of the Eberly Family Chair in Statistics, one of the highest honors awarded to faculty members in Penn State's Eberly College of Science.
His career exemplified the three pillars of academic life, namely research, teaching and service. Early in his career, Bruce developed methods for analyzing data arising from mixtures of populations. This seminal work is recognized as a major contribution to the foundations of statistical theory. Throughout his career, Bruce valued developing statistical methods that were useful for research in other scientific disciplines, such as biology, ecology, genetics, and the social sciences. While the statistical community will remember his numerous scientific publications and invited talks at scientific meetings and universities around the world, his family will remember with fondness his clipboards filled with his penciled scribbles of his early thoughts on his next great method or theorem.
Bruce received many honors for his contributions to the understanding of scientific data, including the 2010 Fisher Lectureship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Humboldt Senior Scientist Research Award. Bruce’s greatest professional honor, however, was the opportunity to advise the many gifted students who came to Penn State to study statistics. Having supervised over 30 Ph.D. degree recipients, he viewed his students as a key source of inspiration for the development of new scientific ideas. He was passionate about his students’ growth, not only as statisticians, but also as individuals.
Bruce was devoted to serving the university and broader statistical community. He was the Head of the Department of Statistics for eight years and served on numerous departmental, college, and university committees. Outside of Penn State, he was appointed to numerous editorial boards, was involved in the leadership of the Institute for Mathematical Statistics, and served on several national panels. As chair of the National Science Foundation Workshop on the Future of Statistics, he played a leading role in the creation of our nation's policy regarding statistical data.
Although the field of statistics played a significant role in Bruce’s career and life, Bruce’s interests went far beyond the likelihood methods he worked to perfect. He was an avid traveler and life-long runner, hiker, reader and lover of opera. He was also an environmentalist, who took great pride in having biked or walked to work every day no matter how great the distance. He was a devoted husband and loving father with a playful spirit, heart-melting smile, and laughing eyes. He embraced walking beside and helping his children negotiate their lives, and delighted in watching them grow and develop their own passions.
Bruce’s innate curiosity would have him delving feverishly into the art of civilization one year and the history of the English language the next. His life-long studies combined with his boundless memory made him a fount of knowledge and an incredibly interesting travel partner. He loved traveling internationally with his family, and relished serving as the family’s travel agent, having planned perfectly trips from New Zealand to Italy and many places in between.
Bruce faced his illness much like he prepared for the five marathons he ran, namely, with one foot in front of the other. Just when we thought he’d hit the proverbial wall, he’d come running around the corner again. He’d go for a long walk in The Arboretum, plan a trip, go to a women’s volleyball game, chase the Blue Band, read another book, mentor a friend, watch an opera. He simply loved life, and he very much wants those he is leaving to go on loving and honoring life for him.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m., on Sunday, May 31, 2015, at the Esber Recital Hall, Music Building I, University Park, with Celebrant Jackie Hook officiating. A memorial reception will immediately follow until 4 p.m. at the Memorial Lounge in Room 107, at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center, adjacent to the Music Building.
In lieu of flowers, contributions for a feature in Bruce’s memory may be made to The Arboretum at Penn State, 302 Forest Resources Building, University Park, PA 16802. A commemoration celebrating Bruce’s career in statistics will be planned in the future.
Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences and signing of the guest book may be entered at www.kochfuneralhome.com.
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