R.H. Bing as a Young Child


R.H. Bing was born in the small east Texas town of Oakwood on October 10, 1914. His father, Rupert Henry Bing, was the superintendent of the Oakwood School District and his mother, Lula Mae Bing, taught elementary school. Once married, Lula Mae stopped teaching and Rupert Henry left his position to become a farmer. Bing's mother wanted to name her son after his father, but thought that "Rupert Henry" was too British for Texas. She named him simply R.H.

Bing’s father died when he was five, leaving his mother to raise R.H. and his younger sister. He attributed much of his interest and success in school to his mother's influence. He was an extremely fast learner and bright student; by his second year of school Bing had moved up to third grade and by junior high school was at the top of his class.

R.H. Bing as a Child


"My mother felt that it was an excellent idea for mothers to train their children at an early age. Long before starting school, I was able to read and do arithmetic and regarded these things as great fun. I think I owe a great deal to my mother's early training for my interest and success in school...

I credit my mother with much of my success in mathematics. Before starting school, I learned that mathematics was fun...[My mother] taught [me] shortcuts enabling one to do computations quickly...

When I took geometry, my mother was quite interested in how I went about proving theorems. She taught me that the purpose of geometry was to discover proofs rather than to memorize them. I was never pushed in my pursuit of mathematics and wondered whether I would have liked it nearly so well if I had been offered a speeded-up course such as we give some of our better students today. Today, as well as then, I am grateful that I had the time to think, to contemplate and to work out mathematics on my own rather than be pushed ahead to learn proofs that were provided by others."