Memories of a fast friend

To the editor:

Robert Weinstock, Oberlin College professor of physics, passed away 10 years ago this Monday. The College’s WAVE program could not have enjoyed its success without Weinstock’s support. On a 24/7 basis, WAVE offered free, academic support to Oberlin’s children in grades one through 12.

I met Bob in 1970. Any young science professor could solve all the one-hour math problems on the SAT. Bob never spoke fast. Yet his mind, even at 80, was razor-sharp and fast; I witnessed that he could solve all those problems in half an hour. I’ll get to heaven still trying to solve just a few of them.

I believed in the power of education before I ever met Bob. But because he told me how his very poor mother helped him get excited about math before he turned six, I understood better the awesome influence that any parent could have.

Bob and I never agreed on everything, but we had enough in common that he never stopped inviting me to lunch at least once a month. I was not all that special in that sense, for he had many tens of friends who lunched frequently with him. Bob was incredibly special to me because he made it literally possible for WAVE to help children throughout the entire year, sometimes because of his financial contributions but always because of his willingness to tutor anyone. And for that I thank both Bob and his dear and supportive wife, Betty Weinstock.

Yes, I miss Bob. But he left behind many colleagues, friends, etc., who keep his spirit of helpfulness and hope sparkling day and night.

Booker C. Peek

Emeritus Associate Professor of Africana Studies, Oberlin College