Dr. Theresa Ast and Dr. Richard Summers in 2007. Photo: JG.
With sadness we acknowledge the death today of Dr. Richard Summers, professor emeritus of mathematics at Reinhardt University, of liver cancer. Dick received a Ph.D. from Georgia Tech and was a professor at Reinhardt from 1996 until his retirement in 2015. He was a dedicated teacher, a voracious reader, and a kind soul, and continued to teach as an adjunct at Reinhardt until last year. He will be missed! He is survived by his wife Pat and numerous children, stepchildren, and grandchildren. Please keep them in your prayers.
UPDATE: A colleague writes:
I am not sure if this message went out already, Kristy DeBord would like me to pass on that she is collecting donations for Dick’s funeral and medical expenses. He supported many people, and this will be a great help to his family at this difficult time. Please don’t feel obliged but if you would like to donate, Kristy is collecting this week and will give it to Pat on Friday.
For those of you who did not know Dick Summers, I will tell you that he is one of the nicest people I have ever met. He had a heart of gold and was such a blessing to countless Reinhardt students and colleagues. He was without a doubt a genius but so incredibly patient working with our weakest math students over and over again in the Center for Student Success and in his classes.
He and Pat were love birds through and through. They loved to read out loud to each other and always had a ton of books going – even in the hospital she was reading to him. He was peacefully groggy these last days. I was saying a bunch of sappy but true stuff about what a great mentor he was etc. but he only really perked up twice – once when I said something about geometry that got a big smile, but the best was when he heard Pat’s voice as she came closer, he started beaming. It was precious and amazing and a blessing to witness.
Reinhardt, Waleska UMC, and the world will not be the same without him.
UPDATE: Another colleague writes:
As a former student and first mathematics graduate of Reinhardt, I can attest to Dick’s supernatural intelligence and infinite patience. I was an undecided major student who took geometry to try out mathematics at a college level. His knowledge and passion for this field inspired me, and he is the reason I am a math teacher.
When I had the chance last year to join Reinhardt as an adjunct professor, he was the first person I wanted to see. It saddens me to know his health was keeping him from teaching.
Today, my heart and soul are hurting as he was my mentor and a father figure to me. I remember so much of him and Pat like our trip to Mercer University for a mathematics Conference and our mission trip to Miami.
Although I am sad that I won’t see his bright wide open eyes on this Earth again, my heart rejoices knowing that heaven is celebrating the entrance of a great and faithful servant of God. To me he is and will always be the smartest man on Earth (this is what I always respectfully called him since I met him).