School 29
Official Obituary of

Robert L. Foote

December 12, 1953 ~ February 20, 2024 (age 70) 70 Years Old

Robert Foote Obituary

Robert L. Foote, 70, of Champaign, Illinois and formerly of Crawfordsville, Indiana passed away unexpectedly from complications of pulmonary fibrosis on Tuesday, February 20, 2024 at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana.

Bob was born on December 2, 1953 in Springfield, Ohio the son of J. Lindsley (Lin) & Alice (Tanner) Foote. He married Cheryl Hughes on October 15, 1994 in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

He is survived by his wife, Cheryl; son Jonathan Cohen (Marji Smith); grandchildren Cora & Lachlan Cohen; sister Karen (Michael) Retzer; and good friends and colleagues near and far. Bob was preceded in death by his parents.

He received his B.A. from Kalamazoo College, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1976, and he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Bob started his career and earned tenure at Texas Tech University (1983-89). In 1989 he was hired by Wabash College where he was Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science and also served two terms as department chair, retiring in 2017. Bob’s research was primarily in differential geometry and his work was published in numerous journals, including American Mathematical Monthly; Journal of Geometric Analysis; Mathematical Physics, Analysis and Geometry; and the MAA College Mathematics Journal. At the time of his death, he was working with a colleague to complete a new research paper.

Bob played trumpet starting in fifth grade and continuing up until a week before he died.  He played with many groups over the years, including the Wabash College Brass Ensemble and Chamber Orchestra and the Montgomery County Civic Band. After moving to Champaign, Illinois in 2023, he joined the Olde Music Group at the Community Center for the Arts in Urbana and the Parkland College Wind Ensemble. He was an avid cyclist, with memorable extended trips by bicycle in and around Michigan and the Great Lakes, along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and into the Northeast provinces of Canada. Bob learned to use a lathe from his grandfather and enjoyed woodturning as a hobby; he was a member artist with the Athens Arts Gallery in Crawfordsville for a number of years, where his wooden bowls, vases, and ornamental wood projects were displayed.

A celebration of life service will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign, 309 W. Green Street, Urbana, IL, on Saturday April 20, 2024 at 2pm. In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, memorial gifts may be made to Kalamazoo College, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, and Union of Concerned Scientists. Condolences may be sent to

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