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Obituaries

Joachim Bullacher, a retired Baltimore City Community College mathematics professor who led its engineering program, dies

Joachim Bullacher loved solving challenging mathematical problems, which he often had published in mathematics journals.

Joachim Bullacher, a retired Baltimore City Community College mathematics professor who led its engineering program, died of cancer Sept. 14 at his Warren, Rhode Island, home. He was 68 and formerly lived in the Abell-Charles Village community.

Born in Neumagen, Germany, he was the son of Karl and Gerda Bullacher.

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His wife, Dr. Gena Glickman, said he was raised in a family of vineyard owners, wine merchants and winemakers in Neumagen, along the Moselle River.

His schooling began in Neumagen and continued at a German high school in Trier. He earned his graduate degree and teaching certification in mathematics and physics at the University of Heidelberg in 1980 and in Mannheim from 1981 to 1983.

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“During his graduate years, he read Marx, Engels and Mao and sympathized with the left-wing student movement, protesting against gentrification and displacement of the residents of the old town in Heidelberg, and the construction of nuclear power plants,” his wife said.

Throughout this time, he developed an interest in local and world politics.

Mr. Bullacher traveled for more than a month in the early 1980s to the former Soviet Union and also visited the Republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. He and his group ended their visit in Moscow.

After living in Heidelberg for 10 years, Mr. Bullacher moved to the U.S. in 1983 and settled in Baltimore.

Upon arrival, he initially taught at the Florence Crittenton Home in Hampden and the Baltimore Experimental High School.

He joined the faculty of Baltimore City Community College and spent 20 years as a professor of mathematics, physics and engineering.

“He coordinated and led our engineering transfer program,” said a former BCCC colleague, Joan Finucci. “He was the backbone of those studies.”

She said that his students often went on to four-year colleges.

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“His students who left that program were well-prepared,” she said. “When they transferred, they were successful as engineering students. They got scholarships, and some went on to get master’s degrees. He was a rigorous teacher.”

Ms. Finucci said the school had a diverse, international student body.

“All of his students loved him,” she said. “They respected him because he was tough on them, and they also knew he wanted them to be successful. Joachim was also great at doing office hours and listening to his students.”

Ms. Finucci said that he was serious but had a sense of humor.

“Yes, he was a mathematician, but he was interested in words and literacy. German was his first language, but he mastered English so well he could beat me in a game of Scrabble,” she said.

He later served on the mathematics faculty at Elgin Community College in Illinois and Quinebaug Valley Community College in Connecticut, where he was chair and vice chair of an academic policy committee. He also worked on statewide mathematical issues.

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“Joachim will be remembered for being the quintessential teacher,” his wife, Dr. Glickman, said. “He was equally at home teaching students who had difficulty with math as he was engaging with true mathematical minds.”

In retirement, he was an adjunct professor for a short period at Roger Williams University.

Mr. Bullacher enjoyed reading fiction and nonfiction and loved solving challenging mathematical problems, which he often had published in mathematics journals.

He was also a devotee of German soccer.

He also enjoyed dining at the old Jeannier’s restaurant on W. 39th street and at the Ambassador Dining Room, located in the same neighborhood.

Survivors include his wife of 27 years, Dr. Gena Glickman, the retired president of Massasoit Community College, who had been the University of Baltimore’s associate provost; two sisters, Margot Bullacher and Gisela Bullacher, both of Germany; and nieces and nephews.

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A celebration of life will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 29 at the W. J. Smith Funeral Home, 8 Schoolhouse Road in Warren, Rhode Island.


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