McGILL UNIVERSITY Department of Mathematics and Statistics Presented by Profs. A.Evans, J.Choksi and N. Sancho.
CHARLES GLADSTONE COSTLEY
Charles Costley was born on May 27th, 1928 in Kingston, JAMAICA, the son of Alexander Costley and Retilda Sylvester. He received his early education at MICO Practicing and Kingston Technical Schools, and then went to MICO (Teachers) Training College during 1947-49 and obtained his Teacher's Diploma. In 1950 he taughtat Central Branch Elementary School and also became an instructor at Mico Training College during 1951-53.
In 1953 he left Jamaica for Fisk University at Nashville, Tenn. USA. While there he was taught by Lee Lorch, and this helped Charles to decide to study Mathematics rather than Chemistry. Later when Lee Lorch lost his position at Fisk (due to the McCarthy era in the USA), Charles led a student protest against the action of the administrators of Fisk. Charles obtained his Honours Mathematics degree at Fisk in 1956, and while he was no longer at Fisk, Lee Lorch's recommendation helped Charles win a Graduate Scholarship to the University of Illinois (at Urbana).
At Urbana Charles obtained his M.Sc. in 1957 and worked under the supervision of Prof. W. J. Trjitzinsky on Integral Equations and Carleman Operators to obtain his Ph.D. in 1960, and was awarded a Teaching Fellowship from Jan. to August 1960. During this period he married Enid in April 1959, and his eldest child Karen was born in 1960. To earn extra money he used to work on the Santa Fe Pullman trains from Chicago to L.A. during the summers. It should be mentioned that Charles was one of the first few Jamaicans to earn to earn a Ph.D in Mathematics, and also the first Fisk graduate to earn a Ph.D in Mathematics.
Charles obtained an appointment at McGill starting in September, 1960 as did one of us (Evans). Edward Rosenthal was the new Chairman of Mathematics taking over from Herbert Tate. Evans got to know Charles at the many parties held by Bill Waugh during that first year, and then they arranged to share an office in the McConnell building which continued from 1961 to 1970.
As a colleague Charles was always the perfect gentleman, always arriving early at the office and always wearing a three-piece suit and tie. During this period the undergraduate teaching load was heavier than today, and Charles worked hard on his undergraduate courses. If he was not teaching he was always available to students and his experience as a school teacher helped students who had who had problems. Also during his early years at McGill he was practically the unofficial Jamaican Consul, until he eventually had to have an unlisted phone number.
Charles was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1962, and worked hard with his first graduate students W.C.Lam who did his M.Sc (1966) and his Ph.D.(1970) and K.McFarlane his M.Sc. (1968). Then in the late 60's Charles made a big effort to get back to his research, taking part in the Riemann Surface seminars at the Universite de Montreal. He published 8 papers mostly connected with Carleman Operators and Integral Equations in the early 70's. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1971. Charles also supervised the Ph.D thesis (1977) of Attila Kevicsky whois now a member of Concordia University's Mathematics Department.
Charles always kept up his ties with Jamaica, and spent one of his sabbaticals at the University of the West Indies at Kingston, and tried to widen the Mathematics program there. He always intended to retire there.
In his later years when his family was mostly living in New York, Charles did not get the chances to know the younger members of the department as well as his earlier colleagues. However his older colleagues always found him helpful and forthcoming when they needed help, and remember him as being very conscientious in preparing assignments and exams. He never complained about his workload, and it was with regret many of us remembered his retirement.
It was with shock that we heard of his sudden death on March 18th in 1997, and the Department extends its condolences and profound sympathy to his wife Enid, his daughters Karen and Sandra and his son Charles.
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