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home : obituaries : obituaries November 19, 2017


11/14/2017 12:15:00 PM
John P. Huntsberger, Jr. November 22, 1931 - November 1, 2017

Dr. John P. Huntsberger, Jr., aged 85, passed away November 1 in Austin, Texas. He was born on November 22, 1931, in Los Angeles, California to John, Sr., and Dorothy Huntsberger.

John was a veteran of the United States Air Force. He served his country during the Korean War, stationed at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, Alaska. He had brief dispatch to Kotzebue, Alaska, where he copied Chinese and Russian code, one of very few who could handle spark-gap transmission and the Cyrillic alphabet without error.

John completed his undergraduate studies at Portland State University, earned his master's and doctoral degrees at Oregon State University, and was later recruited to a position in science education at the University of Texas at Austin, where for 20 years he taught graduate science education students how to teach geology, astronomy and meteorology. John was an outstanding educator, the recipient of several teaching excellence awards at UT, a lifelong learner and a lifelong teacher. His travels on UT field trips took him to Costa Rica, throughout Texas and the Southwest to Wyoming. Geology and History of Science took him to China; visiting and teaching with former students took him to Taiwan.

John loved Central Oregon and Sisters Country. During his tenure at Oregon State University and residing in the Corvallis area, he spent much of his time with his young family vacationing in Camp Sherman and fly fishing the Metolius. Upon John's retirement at UT, John returned to Central Oregon in 2010, residing in Camp Sherman until 2017.

John was also a remarkable musician, vocalist, performer and emcee. Locally, nationally and internationally known, he played four-string banjo, the banjo integral to Dixieland jazz and music of the 1920s. John founded the Northwest Banjo Band in Corvallis in 1968 and the Austin Banjo Club in Texas in 1975. He traveled yearly to four-string jamborees in several states, in Canada and in Germany and was "The Banjo" at Shakey's Pizza Parlor and for Dixieland bands in Oregon and in Central Texas for a total of 30 years or more.

An amateur astronomer, John was an active member of the Austin Astronomical Society and a founder of the Sisters Astronomy Club in Sisters. He traveled with telescope to the annual Texas Star Party, near Ft. Davis, Texas, to star parties in south Texas, Oregon, California and Idaho and made five trips to the "Deepest South Texas Star Safari" near Coonabarabran, New South Wales, Australia. The telescope traveled separately!

Dr. Huntsberger is survived by his children: Steve Huntsberger of Salt Lake City, Utah, Paul Huntsberger of Austin, Texas, and Ruth Howard of LaQuinta, California; and grandchildren, Ian Huntsberger, Audrey Huntsberger, Claire Huntsberger and Aaron Huntsberger.

There will be a celebration of John's Life here in Sisters Country and in the Willamette Valley in early 2018.





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