John Wells Brace

JOHN WELLS BRACE, CHERRYFIELD - John Wells Brace, 82, passed away Dec. 26, 2008. He was born Jan. 19, 1926, in Evanston, Ill., son of the late George Wells and Marcia Bradbury (Campbell) Brace. He was raised in Jamestown, N.Y. John received his bachelor's degree in 1949 from Swarthmore; his master's degree in 1951 and his doctorate in 1953, both from Cornell. John married Patricia Adams Demarest, June 16, 1950. Together they had five children. Patricia died in 2002. John served as a professor of mathematics at the University of Maryland from 1953 to 1988. He legally retired in 1984, but officially retired in 1988 as professor emeritus. John was a pure mathematician specializing in functional analysis. He was a member of the American Society of Mathematicians. John was famous for his Tuesday night seminars, from 1957 to 1987, held in the basement of his house in Beltsville, Md. Many prestigious mathematicians from around the world attended. John particularly enjoyed his time with the Woodrow Wilson Foundation for 12 years, where an interdisciplinary group of professors were looking for future good professors. Their task was to award money for graduate school to promising candidates. The district he worked for included Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. John traveled extensively through Europe with three sabbatical leaves spent in Cambridge, England. He was a Don, professor, of Kings College, Cambridge. In 1966 he traveled with his five children and wife to the University of Moscow, where he gave a lecture at the International Mathematical meeting. He also had a very fascinating worldwide hobby. Both at his home in Beltsville, Md., and the home he retired to in Cherryfield, he built large-scale model railroads. John also built steam locomotives. In 1967 he purchased a British locomotive at Christie's Auction House, which was on the London stage with Sir Laurence Olivier in the play "Semi-Detached." John designed the large-scale model railroad at Leakin Park, Baltimore, and the Tradewinds and Atlantic Railroads in Tradewinds Park, Coconut Creek, Fla., just north of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Disney Corp. engineers consulted with him in regards to building a railroad at Walt Disney World. He was an honorary vice president of the Cambridge (England) Model Engineering Society. John is survived by his children, James Brace and wife, Lynn, of Friedens, Pa., George Brace and wife, Rachel, of Milbridge, Ann Malin and husband, Rob, of Center Barnstead, N.H., Nancy Brace-Thompson and husband, James, of Ventura, Calif., and Catherine Messmer and husband, David, of Topsham; nine grandchildren, Corbin and wife, Marie, Deidra, Cate Young and her husband, Richard, Tricia and fiance, Sam Van Aken, Sarah King-Malin, Hannah Brace-Thompson and J. Alex Brace-Thompson, Samantha Messmer and Brian Messmer; great-grandchildren, Madison, Haleigh and Aiden Young; a special friend, Kay Lamb; and sister-in-law, Barbara Leonard and her husband, Richard. Visiting hours will be held 4-7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 29, at Bragdon-Kelley Funeral Home, Milbridge. There will be no service. Memorial contributions may be made to the John W. Brace Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 177, Cherryfield, ME 04622.