Mathematics professor Russ Killingsworth’s presence shaped student lives
Russ Killingsworth, assistant professor of mathematics, was a teacher, mentor, and friend to Seattle Pacific University students for the past 21 years.
The beloved mathematics professor and math lab coordinator died January 17, 2018, from complications of chronic liver disease.
Struggling students, be their conundrums mathematical or personal, found his door open and his patience infinite. And they weren’t the only ones. To Seattle Pacific student veterans, he was a proud U.S. Navy vet who stood with them and assisted in Veterans Cadre leadership. Cadre co-leader Margaret Brown found Russ to be a kind and gentle soul who cared deeply for others. “I’m really sad he’s gone from our community,” she says. “I’m glad I got the chance to know him during this life and look forward to seeing him in the next.”
To fellow faculty members, Russ was a valued colleague with just the right temperament and degree of encouragement needed to make college readiness math stick. He had the skill and confidence required to teach introductory statistics and upper-division math courses. His was also an important voice in the development of math curricula at the secondary level. Once president of the Washington State Mathematics Council (2010–12), Russ directed SPU’s mathematics endorsement program, teaching teachers how to better teach math, for many years.
To Boy Scout Troop No. 449 of Renton, Washington, Russ was an empathetic scoutmaster who led by example. He was awarded the Silver Beaver Award, granted by the Boy Scouts’ National Court of Honor for years of outstanding service and exceptional character.
“He is a kind, humble person who has infinite patience and empathy,” wrote one of Russ’s former students. “He can explain things in hundreds of different ways.”
Russ is survived by his wife, Dani, and other family members, including three children.