May 11, 2022

Obituaries 5/11/22

Hale Freeman Trotter

Hale Freeman Trotter (born May 30, 1931 in Kingston, Ontario) died at 91 on January 17, 2022 at his home in Princeton, New Jersey. Predeceased by his beloved wife Kay, his dear brother Bernard, and parents Reginald George Trotter and Prudence Hale (née Fisher). He will be remembered and greatly missed by his devoted stepson Stephen Pallrand (Rachel), stepdaughter Nannette, grandson Eli and granddaughter Cora, his sister-in-law Jean and his brother-in-law John (Helen). Hale was also the much-loved uncle of Rex (Eliza) and Tory (Tibor Vaghy), grand uncle of John, Thomas (Stephanie), Andrew (Annemarie), Marie, Philip, Claire, Martin, and great-grand uncle of James, Damien, Felix, and Lily.

Hale grew up in Kingston and became fascinated with mathematics, graduating with degrees in his chosen field from Queen’s (BA ‘52, MA ’53) and Princeton (PhD ’56) where he studied under William Feller. Feller was part of a wave of European intellectuals who had fled the Nazis and settled in the United States. Princeton attracted a number of these refugees, including Albert Einstein, who had an office in the mathematics building.  It was in this rich and exciting atmosphere that Hale matured as a mathematician.

Joe Kohn, a fellow graduate student with Hale at Princeton and colleague in the math department for almost 40 years, recalled the first day of their graduate program at Princeton in 1953. Head of the mathematics department, Solomon
Lefschetz, told the group of 13 mathematics PhD students that they should congratulate themselves for the hard work it took to gain acceptance but that it was likely that only one of them, maybe two, would become actual mathematicians. Hale not only became a world class mathematician but made vital original contributions to the field. 

Hale began his career as the Fine Instructor for Mathematics at Princeton from 1956-58. After teaching at Queen’s University as an assistant professor from 1958-60, he returned to Princeton as a visiting associate professor. Hale was appointed lecturer at Princeton in 1962, associate professor in 1963, and full professor in 1969. He was a highly respected administrator fulfilling duties as Chairman of the Mathematics Department from 1979-82 and associate director of Princeton University’s Data Center from 1962-86. He was a much-beloved teacher, instructing both graduate and undergraduate students in a wide range of mathematical concepts. Hale was always willing to take on a higher teaching load when a gap needed to be filled, such as teaching game theory for many years until a replacement could be hired. Additionally, Hale supervised graduate students and wrote several textbooks on calculus in higher dimensions.

As a mathematician Hale had a broad range of interests and impacts, starting with his thesis and work in probability and including significant contributions to group theory, knot theory, and number theory.  One of his outstanding accomplishments, the Trotter Product Formula, has had a major impact on mathematical physics and on functional analysis. The Johnson-Trotter Algorithm is another powerful and useful tool he developed, a technique for generating complete lists of permutations that had considerable significance. He developed an interest in knot theory and was the first to show that there are non-invertible pretzel knots, thereby solving a long-standing topological problem. Hale had a later interest in some of the calculational aspects of number theory, developing the Lang-Trotter conjecture through his joint work with Yale mathematician Serge Lang.

Hale’s bright, serene, humorous, and cheerful spirit will be remembered with great affection by his extended family, with whom he and Kay enjoyed many memorable visits during his summer holidays in Canada at their cottage on Lake Cecebe. Hale and Kay had a deep love of the arts and opera that they cheerfully shared with all.  We are so grateful to his caregivers Joyce and her husband Joe, Antoinette, as well as his neighbor Bob, and to all who enabled Hale to stay in his Princeton home since Kay’s passing in 2021. 

A memorial will be held at the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home in Princeton on Tuesday, May 31 between 3 and 5 p.m. with an informal service at 4 p.m. Interment will take place prior to the memorial on Sunday, May 29 at the Evergreen Cemetery in Salem, New York.  In lieu of flowers please make donations to the “Kay & Hale Trotter Gynecologic Oncology Fund” at


Tobe Barban Rothaus

Tobe Barban Rothaus died on April 25, 2022 at the age of 92 in La Jolla, California. She had lived in California for the past 18 years, since the death of her beloved husband Oscar (Princeton University Undergraduate Class of 1948 and Graduate Class of 1958). Tobe and Oscar lived in Princeton until 1965 when they moved to Ithaca, New York, where they raised their three children. 

While she suffered from dementia in her final years, her illness did not dim her vibrant personality. She continued, until the end, to make friends and impress all who knew her with her spirit and determination. Tobe’s first priority was always her family, to whom she was fiercely devoted, although she pursued a wide variety of interests throughout her life. She was a voracious reader, and had a particular passion for poetry, and books about gardens, landscape architecture, and the immigrant experience. Her lifelong love of art, particularly Asian art, meant she was often to be found in a museum, and she shared her considerable knowledge of art while working as a docent at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art on the Cornell University campus. She was also a member of the Auraca Herbarists, who supported Cornell’s Robison Herb Garden, and on the board of directors of the Ithaca Community School of Music and Arts.

Her childhood in New York City trained her eye and influenced her taste; she had an incredible sense of fashion and décor, making any space she lived in beautiful and gracious, and she was a fantastic cook and host.

She is survived by her three daughters and their husbands, Carla (Eric Printz), Ruth (Victor Caston), Tamar (Tim Bartlett), and six grandchildren, Rebecca, Simon, Eva, Sarah, Rachel, and Sophie. She was predeceased by her sister Francine Di Palma, and leaves her cherished sister Beth Londner in Israel, and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews. May her memory be a blessing.


Adam Apgar Pyle

Adam Apgar Pyle of Princeton passed away on May 5, 2022. Born in Hong Kong on August 24, 1985, he was the son of Molly and Thomas Pyle. Adam graduated from Princeton High School in 2003 and completed terms at Rutgers University, Mercer County Community College, and Pratt Institute.

Adam was an extensive traveler in his earlier life, visiting China, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, and Australia, and frequently visiting relatives in Singapore. Later he journeyed with classmates and family to England, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, and Hungary, and went on a safari in Kenya with his father. 

Throughout his life, Adam was keenly intellectual, an assiduous autodidact of many subjects. From BMX biking in high school, to history, art, esoterica, religion, and post-punk industrial music, Adam was an engaging expert. He was admired by his family, teachers, and friends for his depth of knowledge and passionate discussions.

In 2007, at age 21, Adam was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Over the subsequent 15 years, many, many challenges ensued, including increasing isolation and depression. Nevertheless, he avidly and stoically continued his intellectual interests, despite increasingly intense intrusions of his illness. 

In 2013, Adam was baptized and received into the Plainsboro Presbyterian Church. In 2016, Adam developed an interest in Freemasonry. Together with his father, they were raised as a father-and-son pair to the sublime degree of Master Mason in November 2016 as members of Mercer Lodge No. 50 in Trenton. Received, welcomed, and fully accepted “on the level” by the world’s oldest fraternity, Adam found in Masonry such camaraderie, acceptance, and opportunities for esoteric knowledge that his illness had hitherto robbed of him. 

Over the years, Adam received care from many evidence-based agencies around the country, including Princeton House, Carrier Clinic, Hampton House, AAMH, and Trenton Psychiatric Hospital locally. He engaged various modalities of recovery including Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Therapy—Recovery, Electroconvulsive Therapy, and Hearing Voices Network support. 

Adam’s illness irrevocably worsened, despite all possible efforts to contain it. Increasingly overwhelmed by harrowing illusions beyond his control, Adam determined not to careen into the abyss, but instead to offer himself unto God. On May 5, 2022, Adam laid his burden down and in God’s arms was taken up to his final rest and much deserved peace. 

Adam is survived by his loving parents, Molly Tan Pyle and Thomas Hanson Pyle of Princeton, his sister and brother in-law, Tara Pyle and Daniel Biller of Brooklyn, NY, nieces Zoe and Sage Biller of Brooklyn, NY, and numerous cousins, aunts, uncles, and other relatives in the United States and Singapore. 

In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to Princeton House Behavioral Health (Inpatient), 905 Herrontown Road, Princeton, NJ 08540 or the National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI), Mercer chapter,

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 18 at Trinity Church, 33 Mercer Street, Princeton, New Jersey, 08540. Arrangements under the direction of the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home. For more information, visit