Jerry Lee Kisabeth was born on July 31, 1939 in his aunt’s home in Gladstone, MI. Surrounded by family, he left this world on May 4, 2017 at age 77 to pursue heavenly adventures. No doubt, he and his PhD colleague John Samson will spend much time evaluating the ionosphere and Aurora with new perspective.
Jerry was the son of Everett and Essie Cook Kisabeth and grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In 1957 he graduated from Detroit’s Lee M. Thurston High School and enlisted in the US Air Force. After serving 5 years of active duty, Jerry began studies in engineering at the University of Maine in 1962. He transferred in 1963 to Texas A&M University, earning a BS degree in Geophysics in 1966. His MS in upper atmospheric physics was from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in 1969; his PhD was in space physics from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in 1972.
Jerry married Marilyn Russell in 1963 and they had three children, Jerilyn, Matthew, and Tonya. He and Dona Horinek Hill were married on Feb. 27, 1993 when he graciously embraced two more daughters, Amy and Tiffany.
Jerry began his formal work history with the Texas A&M Department of Geophysics in 1972. Here he carried out research and taught until 1976. He then returned to the University of Alberta’s Department of Physics from 1976 to 1979 where he was involved in research and enjoyed his love of teaching. In 1979, Jerry joined the Exploration and Development Department at Conoco in Ponca City, OK. His main focus at Conoco was the development of forward and inversion code for modeling gravity and magnetics and magnetotellurics data. He authored several scientific publications, made numerous presentations at scientific meetings, and was awarded 8 patents for Conoco. Jerry and Dona retired to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in 1995 where he fished, picked blueberries, and continued to develop inversion software. Jerry gave up the battle with the Michigan black flies and returned to his former position as Senior Research Associate with Conoco in 1999. He retired for the final time in 2002 to enjoy his hobbies of working in the yard, reading Native American history, playing guitar, traveling, and spending time with his grandchildren and dog.
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Helen Kisabeth and Jean Cochrane, and brother Fred Kisabeth. He is survived by his wife Dona of the home in Norman; father-in-law Donald and Sue Horinek of Wabasha, MN; brothers Ted Kisabeth of Alma, MI; Jack and Shirley Kisabeth of Curtis, MI; sister-in-law Rita Kisabeth of Boise, ID; and brothers-in-law Bruce Horinek and Al Davis of Ponca City, OK. His children are Jerilyn and Craig Wright, Oklahoma City; Matthew Kisabeth of Michigan; Tonya and Mark Mann of Oklahoma City; Amy Mundis, Broken Arrow; and Tiffany and Travis Hammer of Norman. Jerry also leaves behind grandchildren Alex Braden, Allie Mundis, Ian Mundis, Jordan Hammer, Elizabeth Wright, Helen Wright, Kennedy Hammer, Carter Hammer, Grayson Lindhorst, and Andrew Mann. He will be missed by his beloved Yorkie, Prissy Aurora.
The family requests in lieu of flowers for donations to be made in Jerry’s name to the American Heart Association. A memorial service is planned for Friday, May 12 at 3:00 at Havenbrook Funeral Home, 3401 Havenbrook St, Norman, OK 73072.