John Kalliongis

Just recently (July 14th 2022) I was made aware that Francesco had passed away. I was very saddened to hear of it- we were friends for approximately 45 years. We met at the University of Connecticut (UCONN ) around 1977 when we were both PhD students in the mathematics department. We shared the same office and also the same apartment for most of the time spent there. When we met, Francesco had a BA degree in math, however his mathematical maturity and understanding was well beyond that of a person with an MA degree. He had even done what might be considered original work in Abstract Algebra in his undergraduate thesis. He was very quick at picking up new ideas and expanding on them. Needless to say I was very impressed. We studied together preparing for the PhD exams, with him helping me in Abstract Algebra and me helping him in Topology. We both passed. It was a real pleasure doing math with him. He was an excellent researcher and teacher who really cared for his students. In addition to conversing on math, we discussed every topic one could imagine, including politics, history and religion. Francesco was very knowledgeable in so many topics, again impressing me and causing me to sharpen my thinking. We didn’t always agree, but we loved our conversations which also had a good deal of humor in them. At home he would make some Italian dishes for us. He was a pretty good cook and made spaghetti Carbonara at least once a week, which we enjoyed. A couple of years ago, I made Carbonara for my girlfriend and told him it came out ok, but not as good as his. I told him that perhaps you need to be Italian to make really good Carbonara, and he jokingly agreed. Whenever he was in the states, he would always call me and we would talk about what life has done to us while we’re busy making other plans. Like many other family and friends, I will miss him a lot. He was a true mathematician who never lost his humanity.

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