I enjoyed reading your recent mini-eulogy of my father, mathematician Dr. Oliver Atkin [And speaking of cracking codes, Inside Report, Aug. 4]; however, your calculation of his 2010 birthday as age 83 (when he would have in fact been age 85) would have been an occasion for one of his favorite hobbies: crowing over mistakes he found in the media.

Over the years, when not professing math or music, my father enjoyed proffing a red pen, circling illiteracies and inaccuracies he found in newspapers, journals and other organs of record. Many a municipality or hospital would receive letters from him inquiring when a street sign or a spelling would be changed. (He never figured out why he often didn’t get a response.) He could be found reading his beloved Fowler’s Modern English Usage most evenings which he would willingly explain to anyone who was interested (most people weren’t). As your eulogy quite correctly suggests, these eccentric foibles were part and parcel of the genius he was.

Henrietta Atkin
Oak Park

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