McCall Gardens

Wilfred Keith Hastings passed away peacefully on May 13, 2016 after a lengthy illness in Victoria, B.C. Keith is survived by his daughter, Rachel (Gary) and his sister, Evelyn. He was predeceased by his former wife and friend, Janet Hastings.

Keith was an accomplished Statistician and retired Professor of Mathematics. His career took him from the University of Toronto, University of Canterbury (New Zealand), Bell Labs (New Jersey) and the University of Victoria.  He had many and ever-changing interests.  In his younger days, he loved ballroom and square dancing. He enjoyed playing competitive chess, table tennis, bowling, playing classical guitar and working on his computer. He had a great sense of humour and wrote jokes and limericks for people.  He would be laughing with whomever he shared his jokes, which would make you laugh even more.

Dad, I will miss our time together. I will always be your little girl.

At Keith’s request, there will be no service.

In lieu of flowers, donations to a charity of your choice are appreciated.

Condolences may be offered to the family below.

McCall’s Funeral Home
www.mccallbros.com

  • Peter Peskun
    December 8, 2016

    Dear Rachel:

    I apologize for offering my deepest condolences for your loss at such a long time after the passing of your dad but it was only because of some research that I’m presently undertaking that I by chance came across notification of your dad’s passing. I was yor dad’s one and only Ph.D. student. How quickly the years have passed! It was my great luck and pleasure having your dad as my thesis supervisor. I only have good memories of your dad especially his good-natured humour. I’m sure he’s still chuckling at his jokes no matter where he is. May he rest in peace.

  • Peter Macdonald
    May 27, 2016

    Keith taught me Inference and Monte Carlo Methods in my Master’s year, 1966-67, at the University of Toronto. He was a kind and gentle man who encouraged me to learn deeply. I saw him on one or two later occasions at the University of Victoria but I always regretted that I did not have more opportunities to learn from him.

    My sympathy for your loss.

  • Jeffrey Rosenthal
    May 26, 2016

    My condolences on your loss. Some background on Professor Hastings’ great statistical influence is available at: http://probability.ca/hastings/

  • William Reed
    May 26, 2016

    Keith Hastings was a colleague and friend. He mentored me when I first joined what was then the Department of Mathematics at University of Victoria. We worked together successfully teaching different sections of undergraduate Statistics course. I always appreciated his collegiality and his wry and sardonic sense of humour. He was a quiet, private man, but one whose friendship was very rewarding, once one got to know him.

    Not many people outside of the profession (and a good number within it) are aware that he made a very substantial contribution to the advancement in statistical methodology, by developing what has come to be known as the Metropolis-Hastings algorithm. Although Keith published his paper “Monte Carlo Sampling Methods Using Markov Chains and Their Applications” in 1970, it wasn’t until much later, with the advancement of computing power, that the importance of the method was fully appreciated. It has become a cornerstone in Bayesian methodology, where numerical computations of properties of posterior distributions are required. It is probably no exaggeration to say that the Metropolis-Hastings algorithm, and related methods, led to the current day revival and success of Bayesian methods.

    Keith was very modest about his contribution, one reason no doubt that many, including some of his colleagues, were not aware of it.

  • Ray Kosan
    May 22, 2016

    Keith Hastings married my sister Janet back in the 1950’s. He was like a big brother to me during my teen years. He was very supportive in encouraging me to attend university which I eventually did.
    I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Janet,Keith and Rachel when they were living in Toronto prior to moving to Victoria. It was like a second home to me – very warm and welcoming.
    I’ll always remember Keith as a devoted husband and father and a terrific friend.

    My heartfelt sympathy to Rachel on the loss of her dad.

  • Patricia Miles
    May 21, 2016

    Professor Hastings was one of the best profs in the math department. His lectures were always crystal clear, but the thing I remember most was his humour. The class enjoyed his jokes and he enjoyed any humour offered up be the students.
    Sympathy for your losses.

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