Bor-Luh Lin

Bor-Luh Lin

1935 - 2023

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Obituary of Bor-Luh Lin

Bor-Luh Lin was born in Fujian China in 1935 to Yuh-Hwa Li Lin and Lam-Beng Lin.  He and his family moved to Taiwan in 1947, and after receiving his degree from National Taiwan University in 1956, he left home to pursue a PhD in mathematics at Notre Dame.  From there, he followed his PhD advisor to Northwestern where he earned his degree in 1963.  At that time he also met his future wife of almost 60 years, Ms. Hsin Lee.  He started his academic career at the University of Iowa in 1963, was promoted to full professor in 1972, served as chair from 1994 to 2000, and retired in 2012 after 49 years.


During his research career he studied Banach Space Theory, publishing more than 100 papers and four books.  He organized several international conferences in the United States, Venezuela, and Taiwan, and was named an Honorary Professor at Harbin University in China.  He supervised 12 PhD students and nine postdoctoral fellows, and was proud of each and every one of their accomplishments.


Bor-Luh also spent his career at Iowa giving back to the department.  Mindful of the opportunities given to him, he sought to provide international students a chance to complete their PhD in the United States.  He also wrote multiple grants to the Dept of Education to financially support students in the department, and chaired the inaugural Sonia Kovalevsky Day to promote mathematics as a career for high school women.  Upon his retirement, an award was established in his name to recognize the best graduate student thesis each year within the department. 


Among his colleagues, he was known for the discipline with which he went swimming every day.  Whether it was snowing or sunny, he would always be found at the pool during lunch.  He instilled in his three sons the importance of taking care of their own health, and made sure we joined the local swim team to keep ourselves healthy.  He carried a well-worn stopwatch to faithfully record the times of the various swim meets we were in as we visited what felt like every pool in eastern Iowa. 


In addition to rooting for his beloved Hawkeyes, he took his family to seemingly every national attraction in the country.  From Yellowstone to Disney World, from the Flintstone Bedrock City to Mammoth Cave, he ensured his family saw something interesting, something ‘worth seeing.’  


He was a loving husband to Hsin Lee, his wife of nearly 60 years.  Together they built their own home, planted nearly 200 pine trees around the property, cared for their yard and garden, and cooked together in the kitchen.  He was known for his red-braised chicken, love of leftovers, and his long running desire to roast a whole pig.  Surrounded by his loving family, Bor-Luh passed into the arms of our Lord on August 3, 2023.


He is survived by his wife Hsin Lee Lin and children David (Elaine), Michael (Lisa) and James (Ty) and their seven grandchildren (Madelyn, Laura and Katie, Claire and Nathan, and Rex and Eliana).  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the University of Iowa Mathematics Department gift fund to support the Bor-Luh Lin Thesis Award


A memorial mass will be held on August 12 at 10 AM at St. Thomas More in Coralville, Iowa followed by visitation with the family. 



Funeral Mass

10:00 am
Saturday, August 12, 2023
St. Thomas More Catholic Church
3000 12th Avenue
Coralville, Iowa, United States