Monday, December 13, 2010

In memoriam: Joel Brainard

Our thoughts and hearts go out to Joel's daughter, Katherine Brainard, a founding member of our math circle, and to Joel's wife, JC Glendinning, an important driving force behind the beginnings of our math circle in 2001, and to their entire family.

Joel Pennington Brainard, 71, died peacefully on December 11, 2010, at NY Presbyterian Hospital in New York, NY. He is survived by his wife Jane Carol Glendinning; their children, Junior, 29, Katherine, 25, and Scott, 23; and his brothers Charles and William. A graduate of Oberlin College, Joel served in the Peace Corp in the Ivory Coast and later taught mathematics at Talladega College in Alabama. With advanced degrees from MIT and Cornell University, Joel was an engineer on energy conservation projects at Brookhaven National Laboratories on Long Island and was a consultant on public utility issues for the Vermont Low-Income Advocacy Council through Vermont Legal Aid in Burlington. His many colleagues remember him fondly for his more than 22 years of service as an economist and manager in the Office of Research at the NYS Public Service Commission. Joel was an extraordinary man whose thought, wit and kindness touched the lives of all who knew him. Family and friends remember his joy for life with deep affection. His energy and enthusiasm permeated his life, particularly his ingenious solutions of problems, both large and small. From reducing distortions in the pricing of the electrical grid to his unique approaches to car repairs, home construction, and even ski boot insulation and golf cart-to-ATV modification, Joel provided an inspiring example and will be greatly missed. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts be made in Joel's memory to the Robert C. Parker School, which Joel helped found 20 years ago, or the Scleroderma Foundation, an institution which works to find treatments for an autoimmune condition that Joel fought creatively for many years. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, December 18th at 11:00 am at the Robert C. Parker School, 4254 West Sand Lake Rd, Wynantskill, NY.

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