Paul Arthur McGloin, Ph.D, retired professor of mathematics and computer science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and long-time resident of Troy and Pittstown, died peacefully on Thursday, June 25, 2020, at Samaritan Hospital in Troy.
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Paul was born in Burlington, Massachusetts on January 15, 1923, third oldest of the four surviving children of Irish immigrant parents, Joseph McGloin and Mary McGloin (nee Joyce). Paul was raised with his beloved brothers, Joseph and John, and his beloved sister Anna, on Lowell Street in then-rural Burlington. As children, Paul and his brothers worked for local farmers weeding fields and picking vegetables. Paul attended grammar school and high school in Burlington.
Paul was president and valedictorian of the graduating class of Burlington High School in 1941. After high school, Paul was admitted to Boston University, which he paid for working nights at the White Spot Restaurant in Woborn, Massachusetts.
Paul’s attendance at Boston University was interrupted by World War Two. In his second year of college, Paul was called up for service. The Army sent Paul to officer’s training school, and he was later sent overseas to serve in a combat engineering unit (795th Engineers) in Leyte and Luzon in the Philippines. Paul served in the Army until his honorable discharge on October 24, 1946 with the rank of 1st Lieutenant. Paul’s brothers Joe and John also served in the Army --- John with Paul in the Pacific and Joe in the Army Air Corp in Europe. Their shared military experiences formed a continuing bond among the three McGloin brothers for their entire lives.
After his Army service, Paul returned to Boston University, where he earned both a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in Mathematics in the same year (1949). At Boston University Paul met his wife, Louise Regnier Sweeney of Adams, Massachusetts. Louise and Paul were married at Louise’s mother's house in Adams in 1953. The young couple lived in Waterbury, Connecticut, where Paul worked as an Instructor in Mathematics for the Waterbury branch of the University of Connecticut. Their daughter, Carolyn, was born in Waterbury in 1954. Paul and Louise moved to Troy in 1955, where Paul became an instructor and Ph.D. candidate in the mathematics department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Their second child, Paul, was born in Troy in 1960.
At RPI Paul worked as a teacher in the mathematics department and, later, computer science department from 1955 until his retirement in 1989. Paul and Louise purchased a home on Fifteenth Street in Troy a few blocks from Paul’s office in Amos Eaton Hall on the RPI Campus. After years of work teaching and raising his family, Paul was awarded a Ph.D in mathematics from RPI in 1968. Over the decades, Paul taught math to generations of students at RPI, and saw the evolution of the computer from building-sized machines fed by paper cards to the portable devices we know today. Upon his retirement from teaching at RPI in 1989 after thirty-four years of service, the school established the Paul A. McGloin Prize, an annual prize given to the outstanding senior in computer science. Paul and Louise were also early members of the group that with the Rensselaer Newman Foundation established the Chapel and Cultural Center on Burdett Avenue in Troy for Catholic worship.
Outside of teaching, Paul’s great passion going back to his rural childhood was gardening. In the 1970’s Paul and Louise purchased land on Storm Hill Road in Pittstown. The first thing they created even before building a house was a large vegetable garden, which they initially tilled by hand and watered with buckets carried from a muddy water hole. A firm believer in organic gardening who never used pesticides, Paul fed many families in Troy and Pittstown over the decades with his home-grown vegetables and apples. Paul and Louise later built a house on Storm Hill Road that became their main home after they retired. To his neighbors in Pittstown, Paul was just known as the Professor.
Paul survived his wife Louise, who died in 2012, and his daughter, Carolyn, who died in 2019. Paul is survived by his son Paul, his daughter-in-law Nora, his grandson Cuchulainn, and by his beloved nieces and nephews, Kathleen, Mary Ellen, John, James, Robert, Mary, Carol, Sharon, Joanne, Virginia and Buzz, their spouses and children. Paul is also survived by his sister-in-law Eleanor, and by his late wife’s nieces and nephews, Thomas, Gregory, John, Cathy, Michael, Colleen, Karen and Daniel.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions in the name of Paul McGloin be made to IPTI, a charity supporting education for poor children. Contributions payable to IPTI should be sent to Mahar Funeral Home, 43 Main Street, Hoosick Falls, NY 12090. Due to the Covid epidemic, only a limited graveside service will be held on Monday, June 29th, at 1 p.m. at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Hoosick Falls, New York.