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My Sister: Linda Lipton-North

January 8, 2010

Goodbye to my sister

Linda Lipton-North was my younger sister. Was. She passed away just this Thursday, after a very long struggle with cancer. She is dearly missed by all of her family and friends.

The picture is of her favorite place—Galveston Texas. She lived most of her 59 years in Houston Texas, but she loved the ocean. That is why I have a picture of her favorite view in the whole world.

Today I just wanted to remember her by sharing one story with you. When we were quite young we spent a Thanksgiving day at our grandmother’s home. Many other relatives were there, including our cousin Mark Lipton. She and Mark worked on some pictures using crayons in another room. Then, they both came in where I was and held up their drawings. My sister was very artistic, as was my cousin: during her life she was an artist, while Mark later became an architect.

As the older one—by four years—I was asked to “judge” which of the two pictures was best. I looked carefully, they were both quite good. But, I picked Mark’s picture, since there was no way that I would pick my sister’s. As soon as I announced that Mark’s picture was the “winner”—Linda switched pictures with Mark, and said:

I told you, he would never pick mine.

She had out foxed me—I had actually picked her picture.

I always like this story, even though my younger sister out-foxed me. Today as a theorist, I would say that she used a random protocol on me. But, of course back then, I just stared at the two of them. Just sat there out maneuvered by my younger sister Linda.

Open Problems

There are no open problems today—at least none of the kind that any of us can ever solve. Take care, Linda.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. asterix permalink
    January 8, 2010 10:54 pm

    What a beautiful story. Siblings know truths about you that sometimes you don’t know about yourself, and that’s just one way in which you can learn from them.

    It does make me think about double-blind reviewing: every one of us has prejudices for unexplainable/competitive reasons, and we don’t openly admit/recognize them all the time.

  2. January 9, 2010 4:01 am

    Hi Dick,

    My best wishes for you and the rest of Linda’s family to recover from this loss at the earliest.

    Your post was moving and funny at the same time. (Just a few weeks ago, a friend who is a well-known theoretician, lost his brother who was in his forties. The passing away was peaceful and poignant. My friend concluded his email saying “It was a joyful and painful moment in one.” I was reminded of it.)

    My best wishes again.

    • rjlipton permalink*
      January 9, 2010 9:05 am

      Thank you both for the kind comments.

  3. Iftah permalink
    January 9, 2010 9:40 am

    I guess words are inadequate at a time like this 😦 … I’m truly sorry for your loss.

  4. robert permalink
    January 9, 2010 12:38 pm

    As a follower of your blog, am thankful for all your posts, and like to send my condolences to you and your family

  5. January 9, 2010 5:28 pm

    My sincere condolences. This was a nice portrait of feelings. As I know from my brother who passed away 2-1/2 years ago, you will feel her absence—and oddly, her presence—not just at family gatherings but at times when she would have been there. In my case online group activities, jokes made, special greetings or horsing around with my kids. E-mails and phone calls that would have happened… All the best to your family.

  6. richde permalink
    January 9, 2010 9:57 pm

    Beautiful post Dick. I hope the best for you and your family.

  7. eqnets permalink
    January 10, 2010 1:20 am

    My condolences to you and your family.

  8. Shahab permalink
    January 10, 2010 5:06 am

    My condolences to you and your family, Dick.

    It fascinates me how sometimes the concepts in TCS are used far before they are actually invented (or shall I say discovered?). I know it takes time to prove things that are believed to be true. But, for results like IP=PSPACE, it didn’t take long after people actually considered the possibility that randomization may be much more powerful than they originally thought it would be.

    I can not stop myself from relating it to P=NP and think that whether the solution is really far from our reach or is it only us not seeing it lurking over there?

  9. Paula Friend permalink
    January 10, 2010 11:15 am

    Knowing Linda for more than 5 decades, I can so see her in that story!
    Words cannot express how sorry I am for your loss. My sincere condolences to you and your family.
    Will be in touch.
    Paula Friend

  10. Rafee Kamouna permalink
    January 10, 2010 11:25 am

    My condolences to you and your family, Dick. Your post indicates that you have already recovered.

    Best of luck.


  11. January 10, 2010 4:15 pm

    Last night was my 97-year-old aunt’s first night in hospice care … where everyone learns, that life sends to us deeper messages than we can ever fully decode on our own.

    And so we can all be happy for you and your sister, that each of you had the other to help! And this reason for joy extends very broadly, across our whole planet.

    Best wishes, Dick, to your whole family, in these not-so-easy days.

  12. January 11, 2010 8:00 am

    My sincerest condolences on the loss of your sister.

  13. Personne permalink
    January 11, 2010 5:47 pm

    My sincere condolences to you and your family.

  14. January 13, 2010 9:08 pm

    I’m very sorry to hear of your loss, Dick. My thoughts are with you.

  15. Chandra permalink
    January 19, 2010 5:02 pm

    Dear Dick,

    I am very sorr to hear about the loss of your sister.
    My thoughts are with you and your family at this time.

    I very much enjoyed the story told by you and hope our paths will cross again.

    I always rember you with great affection as you were great help to me
    so many years ago.
    WIth very best wishes,

  16. Jewel (Lipton) Weinstein permalink
    March 15, 2010 4:33 pm

    Hi Dick: I just heard from my bother Mark Lipton that his wife Linda Lipton saw your blog about our cousin Linda. I am so very sad to hear that our cousin Linda was so ill and has passed away. I am sorry we never had the chance to come to Texas to visit with her and her husband ,as she had invited us to do. I would like to call you, but do not have any contact number for you. Please e mail me with your contact info.Your cousin Jewel

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