Christmas News 2009... - Professor Carol Alexander



Christmas News 2009... - Professor Carol Alexander
Christmas News 2009
The year started on a high note. The last volume of Market Risk Analysis was published, at
last. I was very happy that so many friends, students and colleagues could attend the launch
party in February. Even my PhD supervisor and mentor, Walter Ledermann (below) managed
to come, and of course our old colleagues from Sussex and my PhD students were all
delighted to meet him.
The last time I saw Walter was in April. He seemed well, remarking that his Doctor recently
told him he would live to be 100! But that was not so. He died on May 22nd. Here is his
obituary. His wife Rushi died soon after him, on 15th June.
However, soon after this my father became very ill, with a suspected cancer associated with
his ongoing Padgett’s Disease, as so I began to care for him at our home in Purley. It was not
easy to witness his digestive system breaking down, and it seemed inevitable that he would
have a slow death, not from cancer but through starvation and dehydration. Here is a photo of
Dad in July 2008
Whilst my father was with us in Purley, my mother was alone, except for her carer who came
in daily. The week after Walter died Mum was rushed into the Royal Sussex hospital in
Brighton, seriously ill. After 48 hours of waiting in Accident and Emergency with no
diagnosis, I could see that she was fading, so I called my sisters Liz and Kate and their
families to come to the hospital. Here is a picture of me with Liz (middle) and Kate (right),
taken last Christmas.
By the time all the family had assembled at the Royal Sussex, Liz and her husband Rob (both
doctors) had raised hell and managed to secure an emergency operation. The surgeon was
absolutely marvellous. Old scar tissue had wrecked Mum’s abdomen, but the surgeon
managed to detach all the necessary, and that night we celebrated that the operation was a
success. However, she was taken out of intensive case too soon, and she died on 3rd June.
Here is a photo of her on her 82nd birthday, only a few weeks before she died. And here is a
photomontage of her life. {Steve: pls link to Elsa.pdf}
Liz and Rob organized an ambulance to take my father to Mum’s funeral in Brighton. On the
return journey he went into a coma, and he never fully regained consciousness. On 13th June,
Kate, I and Liz were with him, and he passed away soon after we started to sing his favourite
Welsh song, Myfanwy. As his body slowly closed down we played an incredibly beautiful
Ave Maria by Caccini.
My father was an extraordinary man. Here is a brief history of his life {Steve: pls link to
Reg.pdf} and above is a photo of him, taken at the Labour Party Conference which he helped
to organise in Brighton a few years before he died.
In July Jacques and I spoke at the Quant Congress in New York, and we took the opportunity
to visit my cousin Jennifer and her family in New Jersey, pictured below. Jennifer was very
close to my father, and although they had not seen each other for several years, he maintained
contact with her and with all his Welsh relatives through emails and photographs.
Then Jacques and I took a 3-week holiday in France, during which we visited old friends of
Jacques in the Auvergne and did the Tour du Monte Blanc. It was a delight to have our
longest-ever holiday together, just us two, and the walking helped me to cope with the deaths
of my Parents, and Walter.
In September, Boris graduated from Amsterdam University, with an MSc in Quantitative
Risk Management. Now he’s planning a year of internships, hoping to focus on portfolio
optimization. Helen started her GCSE studies at Royal Russell School, which has boys as
well as and girls, an easy going attitude and a remarkable head – so it is really very different
from her previous school. Both Boris and Helen are doing very well indeed, I am happy to
report! Here is a photo taken at our house on Christmas day 2008. Boris is the tall one at the
back and Helen is in the stripes, on the right.
Wishing you all a happy Christmas and a peaceful and productive new year,
December 2009

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