Obituary: John and June Bather
Statistician John Bather, who worked at Sussex from 1967 to 2003, died on Friday (7 September) at the age of 76, having suffered from multiple myeloma. His wife June had died unexpectedly only seven days before him.
John and June married while John was a research student, and celebrated their golden wedding earlier this year.
June worked for many years in the Health Centre on the Sussex campus, and was a stalwart of the University’s Women’s Group during its active years.
John’s prime area of research interest was in the then new fields of dynamic programming and sequential analysis. He collaborated with colleagues in North America and Europe, being awarded the Bolzano Medal in 1988 to mark his joint work with Czech scientists.
He guided 11 research students to their doctorates, and published more than 50 papers that ranged over different aspects of statistics.
His writing was characterized by its thoroughness and completeness: he preferred to work ideas fully through, rather than publish a succession of shorter papers.
Towards the end of his career, he worked jointly with Sussex engineer Professor Derek Atherton on problems of data fusion and recursive estimation that arose in the control of aircraft.
John was promoted to professor at Sussex in 1969, chaired Mathematics from 1974 to 1977, and sat on most major committees of the University.
Under a national scheme in the 1970s to boost the general pool of UK statistics talent, he introduced a young cosmologist, John McNamara, to the modern ideas of decision theory, and, in the last outing he and June took together, was delighted to attend the graduation ceremony in July 2012 when Sussex awarded Professor McNamara an honorary Doctor of Science degree.