Obituary — Joe Eisley


Joe Eisley, professor emeritus of aerospace engineering, died Dec. 30, 2020, at the age of 92.

He was born April 7, 1928, in Auglaize County, Ohio, the son of Harold Samuel and Velma Ruth Eisley. After graduating from high school in 1946, he joined the U.S. Army and was stationed in Daegu, South Korea.

Joe Eisley
Joe Eisley

In 1948, he entered Parks College, St. Louis University, and received his Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees from the California Institute of Technology.

In 1956, he married Marilyn Fleck in Pasadena, California, and they moved to Ann Arbor where he began a 42-year career as a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan. In addition to his teaching duties, he spent 14 years as an associate dean in the College of Engineering.

During this time, he was involved in revising the engineering curriculum and in developing programs to encourage women and minorities to study engineering. His proudest accomplishment at the university, however, was to see so many of his former students succeed in their engineering careers.

Joe was a beloved teacher to his many students from all over the world. He was a prolific traveler, visiting all seven continents and documenting his adventures through his excellent photography skills. He was also an avid woodworker, building beautiful furniture and creating beautiful boxes and bowls.

He was a great husband and father, rarely missing any activity in which his children were involved, and always taking time to play catch after school no matter how tired he was after work. He was a good and modest man who never ceased to be amazed that his life took him from driving horses on a farm without electricity to seeing his former students orbit Earth and walk on the moon.

Joe was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Marilyn. He is survived by his son, Paul, and daughter, Susan, and their spouses; his nieces and nephews and their children, all of whom he loved dearly; and his many friends and former students, whose lives he made brighter. We are grateful for his many contributions to the college and are deeply saddened by his loss.

Submitted by the College of Engineering


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