Michael J. Cambern

Date of Birth

April 15, 1933

Date of Death

March 10, 2011

City of Death

Santa Barbara

April 15, 1933 – March 10, 2011

Michael’s brave soul flew away from this earth on Thursday, March 10, 2011, and said Au revoir to his wife, Francoise, who was at his side. He lost a valiant and hard battle with pneumonia after suffering a fractured hip in a fall.

Mike was born on April 15, 1933 in Kansas City, Missouri. He grew up in Wichita, Kansas. He spent three years at Harvard and one year at the University of Paris obtaining his A.B. summa cum laude in Romance Languages and Literatures, class of 1955. He was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He was on his way to a career in the Foreign Service when he was stricken with polio. During his prolonged convalescence, he studied math and science, which led to an M.A. and Ph.D in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley. He obtained a job in Paris where he spent two years, the first teaching at the University of Paris, and the second on a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship. It was during this time that he met his future wife. He then spent a year teaching in Santiago, Chile, before returning to the United States to accept a faculty position in mathematics at the University of California, Santa Barbara where he remained until his retirement.

Mike’s many interests included traveling, studying languages, swimming, photography, gourmet cooking, and wine tasting. Since his retirement, he was often found in front of his computer.

Mike was a model of courage and he lived life to the fullest in spite of the many challenges that he faced every day as a polio survivor. He was a quiet hero with a brilliant mind, a sense of humor and a generous heart.

Francoise wishes to thank all of the persons who surrounded him with love and care, and most especially, his longtime barber and friend, Carmen Tasca, who came to his home to cut his hair and entertain him with stories during the past three years.

A graveside Service will be held on Friday, March 25, 2011 at 11:30 a.m. at Santa Barbara Cemetery.
A celebration of Mike’s life will take place at Stow Park at a future time.

Donations in Mike’s memory may be made to Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise Charitable Foundation (Polio Plus Campaign), attn: Bob McPhillips, Treasurer, 286 N. La Cumbre Rd, Santa Barbara, CA, 93110, or to your favorite charity.

Arrangements by Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels.


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