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Math Expert Rainville Dies At 58

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Prof. Earl D. Rainville, 58, of the University's mathematics department, internationally known mathematician and author of 15 books who served on the U-M faculty for the past 29 years, died this morning at his home at 2437 Dorchester Rd. of a heart attack.
He had been on leave during the present school term to work on still another book on mathematics entitled "Infinite Series." He had nearly finished reading the galley proofs for the book at the time of his death.
Prof. Rainville's textbooks were used widely in mathematics courses across the nation and in several foreign countries. His specialty was in mathematical analysis, with particular emphasis on differential equations and special functions.
His textbooks included those on analytic geometry and calculus which were a continuation of a series established by Prof. Clyde Love. But others on differential equations at both the elementary and higher levels reflected his own undertakings.
Prof. Cecil J. Nesbitt, associate chairman of the U-M mathematics department, said of Prof. Rainville today that "his students had a high regard for his methods of instruction and for the inspiration he gave them.
"His experience in the mathematical work for the Boulder Dam gave perspective to his teaching. He was an outstanding teacher and a real asset to the mathematical training of students in engineering."
The associate department chairman also said "Prof. Rainville's books are extremely lucid and reflect his deep understanding of the problems of teaching mathematics. Vocationally, his sense of humor breaks out in footnotes which enliven the reading of the text.
"These books were written despite Prof. Rainville's impaired health during the last 17 years (he suffered a serious heart attack in 1949)."
Prof. Rainville attended Clark University from 1925-27, and the University of Colorado from 1927-30, receiving his bachelor's degree in 1930. He received his master's degree from the University of Colorado in 1935, and his doctorate from the U-M in 1939.
He started teaching at the U-M in 1937 as a teaching fellow, was promoted to instructor in 1938, to assistant professor in 1941, to associate professor in 1946 and to full professor in 1953. Eight U-M mathematics students completed doctorates under his direction, the latest last December.
Before coming to the U-M, Prof. Rainville was an instructor at the University of Colorado from 1929-33 and chief engineer of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation from 1933-37. He worked out the Mathematical calculations for Hoover Dam.
Prof. Rainville was born on Nov. 5, 1907, in Leominster, Mass., and was graduated from Leominster High School in 1924. He and Esther A. Gardner of Center, Colo., were married on Nov. 15, 1935. She survives.
Survivors, in addition to his wife, include his stepmother, Mrs. Sadie Rainville of Leominster, Mass., and a brother, Ernest of Haverhill, Mass.
Funeral service will be held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Staffan Funeral Home here, with the Rev. Richard E. Crusius of the Church of the Good Shepherd officiating. Burial will follow in Washtenong Memorial Park.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Heart Fund.