Maxwell O. Reade (1916-2016) was a professor of mathematics at the University of Michigan.



After 100 years and two days, Professor Emeritus Maxwell O. Reade died April 13.

Maxwell Reade

He met his goal of living to 100, and he led a remarkable life. The son of Hungarian immigrants, Reade was born in Philadelphia, and later moved with his family to Brooklyn, where he finished high school and attended Brooklyn College, graduating in 1936. He entered the math graduate program at Harvard on tuition scholarship, then went to Rice University on full scholarship to get his Ph.D. in 1940.

Reade was a professor of mathematics at the University of Michigan for 40 years, specializing in Complex Analysis, published 83 papers and was awarded the AMOCO Good Teaching Award in 1983. In World War II, he worked for the Applied Mathematics Panel of the Office of Scientific Research and Development and his applications of mathematics to the Allied war effort saved thousands of lives.

As associate chairman for mathematics graduate students for over seven years in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Reade was both a vigorous recruiter of quality students and a tireless worker on their behalf once they were here. He was ahead of his time in recognizing the importance of seeking and nurturing minority students. Reade ardently supported scholarships and grants for students, traveling to historically black colleges in the South and recruiting students for scholarships — more than 50 Ph.D.s were awarded to minority students he recruited — as well as foreign students. These trips afforded an opportunity to indulge in his passion for jazz, and he interviewed many musicians while amassing a large collection of jazz records.

As chairman of the LSA Scholarship committee from 1974 to 1994, Reade continued to help countless students pursue a college education who would not have otherwise had the means. He found and recruited talented students in all disciplines and was instrumental in establishing the Dean’s Merit Scholarships in LSA. He had the ability to seek and find extremely bright students, particularly in mathematics, and convince them that Michigan was the right choice for their education. Reade was especially effective in assuring the mothers that their children would succeed here. His warmth, humor and passion for Michigan became the deciding factor for many to choose Michigan.

Reade was predeceased by his wife Marjorie and his former wife Isabel. He is survived by children Michael, Tim (Joy) and Alison Diver, and Lawrence Dolph (Lynn Nybell); grandchildren Fran (Ben Rosenberg), Chris, Wes Diver, Christine Dolph (Brian Wachutka) and John Dolph; great-granddaughter Winona Marjorie Wachutka; nieces Pam Schwarzmann (Ken Fink), Karen Schwarzmann (Larry Rosen) and Ann Schwarzmann (Greg Haagenson); nephews Tom Schwarzmann (Lisa Byle) and Tim Schwarzmann; grand nephew Peter Griess (Tiffany Reese); and great-grand nephew Ryder Griess.

Reade was known for his sense of humor, devotion to causes supporting the "little guy," intolerance of social injustice, making paw paw jam and writing letters to the editor published in the New York Times and Ann Arbor News. His final gift to education was to donate his brain to a longitudinal study at the U of M Brain Bank.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Marjorie and Maxwell Reade Fund for Student Support (#796403), U-M Department of Mathematics, 530 Church St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1043 or by going to​. A memorial service will take place at 1 p.m. June 9 at the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor, 4001 Ann Arbor-Saline Road in Ann Arbor. Details will be available on the Mathematics website

— Submitted by the Department of Mathematics