Biostatistician Robert Sokal died on April 9. Like most ecologists, I knew Sokal primarily through his canonical statistical textbook with Jim Rohlf, Biometry. But he was of course much more than the author of a classic textbook. In his research, he was a pioneer of clustering methods, originally in the context of pheneticist phylogenetics. His personal life was dramatic; he fled Nazi Germany as a youth and was raised in China, eventually becoming part of one of the world’s finest evolutionary biology groups at Stony Brook University. The trend towards increasing quantitative rigor in ecology is a long term trend; Robert Sokal was hugely important in driving that trend.