Before his retirement in 1985, R.H. Bing sought to elevate the field of mathematics by greatly expanding the research capacity of UT's mathematics department. He recruited new faculty and helped to raise the department's research standards, bringing the university closer to Bing's goal of being one of the top ten state university mathematics departments in the United States.
He also was an active member of his local community, serving as an elder in the Presbyterian Church. His mind was never far from his work, however. As quoted in UT's memorial resolution, one of Bing's daughters remembered "sitting with R.H. in church one Sunday and noticing how absorbed he appeared to be in the sermon. She was not quite so confident in where his thoughts were directed, however, when he reached forward to erase an errant symbol on an imaginary blackboard in the air."
Bing died on April 28, 1986, due to complications caused by cancer and heart issues. He continues to be remembered not only for his incredible contributions to the field of mathematics, but also for his character, kindness, and compassionate teaching.
Bing was a true Texan, complete with Texan drawl, and known for his warm, friendly, and youthful nature. He loved teaching the subject he found so enjoyable and always wanted to share his excitement with his students. Bing encouraged his students to work out mathematical problems on their own, cultivating their independent learning and avoiding subjecting them to obscure lectures. He was sensitive to those who found mathematics to be difficult and always made a conscious effort to understand other people's perspectives.
"Not just in lecturing but in talking to people about mathematics and other things, one should try to look at things from their point of view. I’ve heard that a person does not really understand another’s problems until they have stood in that person’s shoes."