James Joichi

In Memoriam

We are saddened to report the death of our retired colleague Jim Joichi this past October. Jim was born in Colorado in 1927, the youngest of seven sons. Their father was a truck farmer, and so the family moved a lot during the Second World War. At the end of the war, Jim enlisted in the U.S. Army. As a sign of the thinking of that time, the Army recorded his nationality as Japanese — even though he was clearly American by birth.

A superior student with an obvious talent for mathematics, Jim ended up as a graduate student in mathematics at the University of Illinois in Urbana, and wrote his Ph.D. thesis in functional analysis under Prof. Robert Bartle. Jim joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota in 1959, was promoted to full professor in 1989, and retired in 1992. He was an outstanding collaborator, initially working with the late Glen Baxter. He gradually moved towards combinatorics, writing many papers jointly with our colleagues. In particular, collaboration with Jay Goldman and Dennis White led to a series of five influential papers on "rook theory". Jim subsequently collaborated with Dennis Stanton on several elegant papers on partitions. Over the years, Jim played an important role in creating and sustaining a lively and distinguished combinatorics group in our department.

In addition to his research and teaching contributions at Minnesota, Jim served as Director of Undergraduate Studies for four years, where he brought a positive and friendly outlook to what some consider to be a thankless job. For relaxation, Jim enjoyed a variety of hobbies, especially fishing out West. He was never married.

For all of us who knew him, he will be missed.