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“In this sad occasion, I would like to express my sincere condolences to Professor Joseph Diestel's family and faculty members of Kent State...Read More »
1 of 14 | Posted by: Jafar Zafarani - Isfahan

“Joe was the most inspiring of my many teachers. You just knew that you were in the presence of greatness and he was happy to share it with you. It...Read More »
2 of 14 | Posted by: Declan Quinn - Syracuse, NY

“Joe taught me 40 years ago while he was on a Fulbright in Ireland. What a character! We'd never encountered anything like him. We'd recently seen One...Read More »
3 of 14 | Posted by: Colm Mulcahy - Student

“I met Joe only at an extended family gathering. I was impressed . Please accept my deepest sympathy. ”
4 of 14 | Posted by: Tom Gauldin - OH - Family

“Joe was a brilliant man. He was generous and kind. A man who inspired students, attracted geniuses and welcomed anyone with a sense of humour to...Read More »
5 of 14 | Posted by: Mark Leeney - Donegal, Ireland

“My condolences go out to Joe's family.It is a pleasure to have known Joe! He and I shared a love of baseball and Joe was one of the few who really...Read More »
6 of 14 | Posted by: Noel Blankenship - Kent, OH

“Jim, so sorry for your family's loss. Your dad sounds a lot like you..great coach and good human being. Our prayers are with you at this difficult...Read More »
7 of 14 | Posted by: Nancy, Alex, and Alex illitch

“Jim, Denise, Maddie and Alex;Heartfelt condolences are coming your way. Dr. Diestel sounds truly amazing. That, I'm sure, comforts you now.Best,Mary...Read More »
8 of 14 | Posted by: A friend

“Offering our deepest sympathies during this time. ”
9 of 14 | Posted by: The Staff of Bissler & Sons Funeral Home - OH

“Joe was a great friend, a colleague and a fun guy.He filled the field of Mathematics with joy and happiness.When I tried to negotiate his salary at...Read More »
10 of 14 | Posted by: Elias Saab - Columbia, MO

“Joe, we will miss you and your legendary stories. ”
11 of 14 | Posted by: Beata Randrianantoanina - Oxford, OH

“Joe was a force of nature. His generous spirit and intellectual curiosity were gifts to all who knew him. He was devoted to his family.... not only...Read More »
12 of 14 | Posted by: Sally Smith - Oxford, OH

“To Lisa, Jim, Chris, Geoff, and their family members, I am so very sorry to hear of Uncle Joe's passing. I smile while reading of his achievements,...Read More »
13 of 14 | Posted by: Holly Donovan - Bellingham, WA

“I am so sorry for your loss. Joe was a great man and I will never forget his jokes. He enriched my life in so many ways. I am going to miss him. ”
14 of 14 | Posted by: Mienie De Kock - Harker Heights, TX


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