Feb 16, 2015

Obituary: Henry Teicher 1922–2014

Henry Earl Teicher, husband, father, friend and colleague, passed away on November 12, 2014 at the age of 92.

Henry Teicher was born July 9, 1922, in Jersey City, NJ. Henry received his PhD in statistics from Columbia University in 1950, and served in professorial positions at Purdue until 1967. He then went to Columbia as a visiting professor, before coming to Rutgers as Professor in 1968. At Rutgers, Henry contributed to a strong presence in probability, while also being part of an outstanding group in the theory of statistics. He had been a pillar of the department before his retirement at 1993, and continued to be admired for his outstanding scholarship. His wide recognition led to visiting appointments at Stanford, Columbia, New York University and the University of Perugia.

Henry’s research in mathematical statistics and probability includes major contributions to the theory of mixtures of distributions, U-Statistics, strong laws and laws of the iterated logarithm, exchangeable and interchangeable random variables, stopping sums and other topics in probability and mathematical statistics. We will discuss some of Henry’s research that has had major impact.

Mixtures of Distributions:
Henry’s Annals of Mathematical Statistics papers on mixtures of distributions (1960) and identifiability of mixtures (1961, 1963) had wide impact, with the 1963 paper having 407 citations.

Law of the Iterated Logarithm and strong laws:
His 1974 Annals of Probability paper on sufficient conditions for random variable to follow the iterated logarithm law was also widely cited. A year later it was followed by a Z. Wahrscheinlichkeit article giving a necessary condition. The iterated logarithm law was a continuing research interest with a 1977 Annals of Probability paper with Klass, a 1979 Z. Wahrscheinlichkeit paper studying iterated logarithm, strong laws and exponential bounds, and a 1981 Z. Wahrscheinlichkeit paper with Chow, Wei, and Yu. Henry’s research in strong laws first appeared in a 1968 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science paper. This interest continued even after retirement, resulting in a 1996 Stud. Sci. Math. Hung. paper with Deheuvel, and a 1998 J. Theoretical Probability paper on strong laws for martingales.

Stopping Rules and Times:
Henry’s 1965 Annals of Mathematical Statistics paper with Chow and Robbins on moments of stopping times had major impact, was widely cited, and was a continuing fascination for decades. This was followed by papers on optimal stopping with Dubins (Annals of Mathematical Statistics 1967), Wolfowitz (Z. Wahrscheinlichkeit 1968), as well as multiple papers on stopping sums. Thirty years after the 1965 paper with Chow and Robbins, Henry revisited randomly stopped sums in a J. Theoretical Probability paper, and in 1998, in a London Math. Society Journal paper with C. Zhang.

Henry was elected fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics in recognition of his seminal research in mathematical statistics and probability. His classic book with Y.S. Chow on probability theory educated generations of graduate students. With editions in 1978, 1988, and 1998, and over a thousand citations just in the past four years, the book is listed among thirteen influential books in Columbia University department’s history.

Henry was the cherished husband of 52 years to Anne Teicher, and beloved to daughter Rikke Cumberbatch, son-in-law Glen, grandson Duncan and granddaughter Taliah. He will be greatly missed by his family, colleagues, and friends.

Written by Joseph Naus
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

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1 Comment

  • It is with great sadness to hear of Henry Teicher’s passing. He was a kind and brilliant man. May his family be comforted by good memories. Our sincere condolences go out to his family.

    Sincerely, Sheila and Joe Cattan

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