William E. Tepaske-King
February 20, 1951 – May 15, 2021
William Elbert (Bert) TePaske-King, who loved Susan, good food and wine, and music that ranged from opera, jazz, R&B, electronica to the Grateful Dead, died May 15. There are no known environmental, behavioral or genetic predictors of esophageal cancer, so it was not an indictment of his wonderful cooking or nightly candlelight dinners with wine.
Professionally Bert worked his last thirty five years at Mathematical Reviews in Bibliographic Services, copy editing and translation. At Math Reviews he used his undergraduate training in Slavic languages at Columbia University to translate the language of math and as Santa. One of the children who sat on his welcoming lap had just arrived from Russia and her mother had warned her that Santa would know her heart’s desire even if he did not speak Russian. Santa Bert was able to ask her in fluent Russian what she planned to get as a gift for her favorite person.
From the early 70’s until arriving in Ann Arbor in 1985, Bert pursued graduate study in Russian romantic poetry at Stanford University where he taught in the Humanities program and worked as a Resident Fellow overseeing Donner House, a residence for 100 first-year students. In 1976 he was honored with the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching. The recognition extended beyond the classroom: “ For his leadership as a section instructor in humanities and den parent of fellow teaching assistants; for the fairness, conscientiousness, and personal interest which have been hallmarks of his advising of undergraduates; and for the love and excitement of literature, learning, and life that his work reflects: illuminator, questioner, teacher and listener, chef, gardener, and man of goodwill.”
To his end he was that person.
Donations in his memory may be made to the Michigan Legacy Art Park.
- Michigan Legacy Art Park
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
William E. Tepaske-King
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September 19, 2021
Dear Susan, I am so sorry for your loss which I only just learned of reading the memorials in the Humane Society letter. My memory of Bert? It was this — even though we knew each other hardly at all, every time we ran into each other at The Produce Station or on the street, he knew me and had something to say. To be recognized and remembered felt like a little gift making an ordinary day feel less ordinary. I bet he did that for lots of people.
June 4, 2021
Bert hired me in 2010. He was a great boss as well as one of the most intelligent and generous people I have ever met. He was also a great friend. His rendition of Eggbert the Easter Egg was second-to-none. He will be dearly missed
May 27, 2021
Bert was the most kind, generous, and wonderful man. He will be so dearly missed. Mathematical Reviews will never the same without him — and I am so grateful for the opportunity to have worked together.
May 25, 2021
Bert hired me at MR in 1995. He was an amazing boss and an overall great human being. The thing I remember most is that every time I walked into his office, no matter how busy he was, he greeted me as if he were hoping someone would drop by and he was especially hoping it would be me. I also remember the way he would make a point of saying a cheerful "good morning" to every single person he encountered. His obvious love for Susan was a beautiful thing to see. I remember many great conversations - he was smart, funny, enthusiastic - a wonderful man who will be much missed.
May 25, 2021
When Bert hired me into Mathematical Reviews in December of 2010, I knew it was an opportunity to make my life better in certain ways. I had no way of knowing then, but I've known for years since, how Bert's friendship would also make my life better.
I will dearly miss our conversations. I cherish the time I was around Bert.
I miss my friend.
May 23, 2021
Damn, I'm going to miss Bert. The world has lost a real good man.
Somewhere in our piles of old photos we have one of Bert-as-Santa at the MR Christmas party, with our son, still a little boy.