Skip to main content
Robert Cunningham Reilly
In Memoriam

Robert Cunningham Reilly

Professor of Mathematics

UC Irvine
Robert "Bob" Cunningham Reilly was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 21, 1941 and died on January 13, 2018 after surviving his wife of 50 years, Marilyn Reilly. He received his Doctorate in 1969 at UC Berkeley and held a C.L.E. Moore instructorship at M.I.T. before joining UCI in 1971 where he remained until his retirement in 2011.

Bob met the love of his life, Marilyn, while studying at IIT in Chicago. Even when he went to Berkeley to study for his doctorate, the two kept in touch. They married in 1967 and spent their first years together in Berkeley, a place that always held a special spot in their hearts. After moving to Cambridge, MA, in the late 1960s for his postdoctoral work, Bob and Marilyn had their first child, Catherine, followed soon after by a son, Matthew, after moving to Orange County, CA.

Bob taught math at UC Irvine for 40 years, specializing in differential geometry. He proved a very important and influential geometric identity, widely known as Reilly's formula, that continues to be used by researchers in geometry. His contributions to the department included many years as vice-chair for undergraduate studies, during which time he introduced several useful pedagogical innovations. He enjoyed sabbaticals in England and Hawaii during his career, and was working on a book about mathematical analysis at the time of his death. Those who knew him well will miss his high intellect and his sharp wit.

When Bob embraced a hobby, he gave it his all. He was passionately devoted to golf for some years, but singing remained his true passion until his death. In much demand as a tenor, he sang for choirs such as Orange Coast College, Cypress College, Long Beach Chorale and Concordia University, in addition to his church choir at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. He and Marilyn went on a number of singing travel adventures including a memorable trip to Sydney, Australia, to sing at the opera house. While he enjoyed trips around the world, he also enjoyed "travelling" in his own mind doing crossword puzzles and thinking about math and science issues.

Bernard Russo, Professor Emeritus
Department of Mathematics, UC Irvine