Herbert Hollister (1933 - 1997)

Herb Hollister imageHerb Hollister passed away in 1997 and had been a mathematics professor at Bowling Green State University for 30 years, retiring in 1994.

He was born Dec. 11, 1933, in North East, Pa., to Carleton and Esther (Fuller) Hollister.  He married Carolyn Homer in 1955 and they had four children. She passed away in 2010.

Herb was always interested in a broad array of things. As a young man, he worked briefly with his dad's traveling carnival.  Then he decided to go to college, and he graduated from Allegheny College in 1955. By that time, he had gotten interested in mathematics, so he entered graduate school in mathematics at the University of Michigan, receiving a master's degree in 1962.  Then, his diverse interest had gotten him into lattice-ordered groups, a topic of abstract algebra which none of the professors at Michigan knew much about.  He discovered that Charles Holland, a young Professor in that area at the University of Wisconsin, was in that subject, so he contacted him, and they began working together.  The University of Michigan allowed Holland to be Herb's external thesis advisor.  Herb, and sometimes his family, visited the Holland family from time to time over three years, and he received his PhD from Michigan in 1965.

At that point, he was hired onto the faculty at Bowling Green, and was here for the rest of his career.  His diverse interests kept up.  He published several papers on lattice-ordered groups, and text books in abstract algebra and other subjects. He sang in the university chorus, and was involved in church activities and real estate.  His wife Carolyn was a math department secretary for a while.

In the 1960s, the department of mathematics at BG had decided it wanted to be able to offer a PhD in math, but they needed experienced people in the department, so Herb managed to convince them to begin by hiring Holland from Madison.  He came here in 1971 and stayed until his retirement in 2003.  Three others came in 1972, and the department has had a successful PhD program ever since.

Herb's interest in music continued.  He had a great high-tenor voice, and at one point he convinced the department members Cliff Long, Dean Neuman, and Charles Holland to sign up with him in a barbershop quartet class in the College of Music. They did that, and for many years afterwards, calling themselves The Logarhythms, and changing much of the traditional text of barbershop music to mathematical things, they entertained the department, other events at the university, and math meetings around the nearby states.

May, 2010

Updated: 06/12/2020 01:02PM