Joseph Diestel

  • Born: January 27, 1943
  • Died: August 17, 2017
  • Location: Kent, Ohio

Bissler & Sons Funeral Home and Crematory

628 West Main Street
Kent, OH 44240
Tel. (330) 673-5857

Tribute & Message From The Family

Joseph Diestel, 74, of Kent, died Thursday, August 17, 2017.
He was born January 27, 1943 in Westbury, NY to Charles and Agnes (VandenBussche) Diestel.

He is survived by sons, James (Denise) Diestel of Akron, Christopher (Eileen) Diestel of Columbia, MO and Geoffrey Diestel of Sherwood, OR; daughter, Lisa (Robert) Schwan of Garrettsville; eight grandchildren; one great granddaughter; brother, James (Pat dec.) Diestel. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Eugene (Winkie) Diestel; sister, Dianna Diestel, and his wife, Linda (Gauldin) Diestel.

Joe did his undergrad work at the University of Dayton and got his PhD in Mathematics at Catholic University of America in D.C. After short stints in Georgia and Florida, the family settled in Kent, Ohio where he and several others helped build the world renowned KSU Math Department.

Joe traveled the globe as a mathematical adventurer; he enjoyed recruiting great people to consider Kent State for graduate school. He was especially fond of his times spent in Ireland, Venezuela and South Africa. Besides his genetic descendants, 'Dr. Diestel' leaves behind 46 mathematical descendants and countless others who were influenced by him in some way. He continued to 'do math' and honor those before him.

Outside of math, you might have found Joe coaching baseball. He grew up loving baseball, something planted within him while watching games with his dad. He played pickup games and organized ball through the years. Many of his boyhood friends and teammates kept in touch to the end making yearly pilgrimages to Cooperstown to have a few beers, reminisce, and watch the playoffs. 'Coach D' was always proud of his players, whether it was the 3 State Championships that Kent VFW won ('89,'96,'98), or the lives they led off the field. Over a dozen of his players have gone on to coach at the high school or college level.

If you weren't at KSU or on the ballfield, you might have found Joe having a couple of pints at one of the local establishments; there were many over the years that got to know him as much as he got to know the people there. Like math and baseball, 'sitting around and having a few beers' was a way to be with friends: his true passion in life. All over the world colleagues, students, ballplayers, family, neighbors and strangers knew Joe as 'friend'. We would especially like to thank those who work and stop in at the El Dorado in Kent; it became his home away from home.

So please tip a glass Friday evening at the start of the Indians game and give a toast in honor of Joe, to memories, to life and living it your own way!

Calling hours will be held 4-7 PM Thursday, August 24 and 10-11 AM Friday, August 25 at Bissler & Sons Funeral Home in Kent. Burial will follow Friday at Standing Rock Cemetery.

If you are so moved, donations can be made in honor of Joe Diestel to the charity that most fills your heart, or send a donation in Joe's name to the KSU Mathematics Department's Informal Functional Analysis Seminar, something that made his heart very happy.
Kent State University - Kent Campus
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Mathematics and Computer Science Building 233
Summit Street, Kent OH 44242
Send Attn: The Diestel Seminars