Sep 2, 2016

Obituary: Paul Joyce, 1958–2016

Paul Joyce

Paul Joyce. Photo courtesy of the University of Idaho

It is with great sorrow that we share news of the death of Dr. Paul Joyce. Paul passed away in a car accident on April 22, 2016. He has been a friend, a colleague and a mentor to many at the University of Idaho and in the broader scientific community.

Paul toiled happily in probability theory and mathematical statistics, and was especially known for his work in population genetics, phylogenetics, and modeling experimental evolution. He delighted in seeing friends and colleagues at conferences and other venues, and always had plenty of funny stories to share. He loved politics, history, poker, and telling math jokes. He couldn’t spell—once repeatedly using in a grant proposal an alternative spelling of the word “assess.” The bonds he had with his wife and son were deep and lively, and they were often part of the stories he would tell. They, of course, also had plenty of funny stories to tell of Paul, often involving one of his frequent excursions into “math mode.”

Paul Joyce held both BS and MS degrees in Mathematics from Montana State University, and a PhD, also in Mathematics, from the University of Utah. He joined the faculty of the University of Idaho in 1991 and was appointed as the dean of the college of Science in 2013. During his tenure at the University of Idaho he also served as the director of the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Program and as chair of the Faculty Senate.

Paul received multiple honors from the University of Idaho, including three Alumni Awards for Academic Excellence, the College of Science Distinguished Faculty Award, a Graduate Faculty Mentoring Award, and the University Distinguished Professor Award.

Paul is survived by his wife Jana and their son Andrew. Mathematics, Statistics, Computational Biology and the whole scientific community has lost a leader who put the wellbeing of others ahead of his own, mentored many, and contributed much to science and the University community.


Written by Steve Krone, University of Idaho,
and Zaid Abdo, Colorado State University

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