Montana State University

Oct. 27 memorial service set for retired physics professor, former dean Jack Drumheller

October 15, 2012 -- MSU News Service

John (Jack) Drumheller   High-Res Available

Subscribe to MSU Newsletters

Bobcat Bulletin is a weekly e-newsletter designed to bring the most recent and relevant news about Montana State University directly to friends and neighbors via email. Visit Bobcat Bulletin.

MSU Today e-mail brings you news and events on campus thrice weekly during the academic year. Visit the MSU Today calendar.

MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
BOZEMAN -- John Earl Drumheller, a retired MSU physics professor and loving husband and father, died peacefully at his Bridger Canyon home Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 in the presence of his wife and three children.

John Earl (Jack) Drumheller Jr., was born Dec. 19, 1931 in Walla Walla, Wash., the son of Geraldine Lola (Gollehon) Drumheller and John Earl Drumheller.

Jack grew up in Spokane, Wash., and attended Washington State University, where he graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree with Honors in physics in 1953. He served in the Air Force at Lowry AFB from 1954 to 1956, where he was a special weapons officer. He resigned his commission and was honorably discharged in 1962 with the rank of First Lieutenant.

Jack married Patricia Louise (Patty) Weiss in 1956 in Colorado, where Jack continued his studies. Jack earned his Masters of Science in 1958 and Ph.D. in physics in 1962 from University of Colorado in Boulder. Jack and Patty moved their young family to Zurich, Switzerland, for two years where Jack was a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Zurich.

In 1964, Jack took a position as a physics professor at Montana State University in Bozeman. He was a professor and researcher, specializing in solid state experimental physics, and won many teaching and research awards during his tenure at MSU. He served as Dean of the College of Letters and Sciences from 1991 to 1995 and as Interim Provost 1995-1996. He retired in 1998 with the rank of Professor Emeritus of Physics.

Jack served on the volunteer ski patrol at Bridger Bowl and enjoyed tennis, basketball, and golf. He piloted single and twin-engine airplanes, as well as sport gliders, and enjoyed sailing over the Bridger Mountains.

In 2008, Jack lost Patty to cancer after 52 years of marriage. A year later, Jack reconnected with a WSU college sweetheart, Valerie Violet (Leber) Keyes. Jack and Valerie were married in 2010, and spent just two short years together before Jack lost his battle with cancer. Jack will be remembered by his friends and family as a generous and loving soul who shared his great intellect and good humor with everyone.

Jack is survived by his wife, Valerie; sister, Joan Dillon of Thayne, Wyo., three children, Susan Drumheller of Sandpoint, Idaho, Kristen Drumheller of Bozeman, and John Drumheller of Erie, Colo.; sons-in-law, Mike Murray and Bill Dockins; daughter-in-law, Linda Drumheller; grandchildren, Megan Murray, Erin Dockins and J.D. Drumheller; step sons and daughters-in-law, Nathan and Rae Keyes of Seattle, Wash., Forrest and Jennifer Keyes of Duvall, Wash., Ken and Kathy Keyes of Baku, Azerbaijan; and their children, Daniel, Zachary and Hannah Keyes of Seattle and Maxim and Marat Keyes of Baku; niece, Gail Godenzi, her husband, Lance Godenzi, and their children Loni and Claire of Kailua, Hawaii; and cousin, Ann Rasmussen of Salem, Ore.

In remembrance of Jack Drumheller, a memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Oct. 27 at Dokken-Nelson Funeral Chapel, 113 S. Willson Ave. with a reception immediately following at the family home. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Jack's memory to the Physics Department Scholarship Fund, EPS Building, MSU, Bozeman, MT 59717.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or