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LEONARD FLANSBURG

October 9, 1931 - September 27, 2013 OKLAHOMA CITY Leonard Doyce Flansburg died peacefully at home on September 27 after a brief illness. He was born October 9, 1931, to Leona and Leonard Hollis Flansburg and raised on the family homestead farm near Lookeba in Caddo County. He attended Hopewell School and was graduated at age 16 from Sickles High School. He earned a BS degree in math and physics in 1952 at Southwestern State College. While awaiting his call to military duty during the Korean Conflict, he worked for a year in Wyoming as a petroleum seismologist and entered military service in the Army in 1953. First stationed at Fort Monmouth, NJ, he was assigned to the Trans Arctic Group in Greenland, where he was part of the first team of scientists to spend the winter there, testing arctic equipment. He was discharged in 1955 and used the GI Bill to immediately enroll at the University of Oklahoma, receiving his MS in physics in 1957. He went to work in Pittsburgh, PA for Westinghouse, working on the Shippingport reactor, the first commercial nuclear reactor. In 1959, he left industry and began a long and productive career in university teaching at physics departments at Central Methodist College in Fayette, MO, and Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA, and earned his PhD in 1970 at the University of Iowa. He then joined Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, MI and was an exchange professor in 1974-75 at Brunel College in Bristol, England. He joined the Physics Department at Oklahoma City University in 1979 and co-founded the Computer Science Department, serving as Chairman until his retirement in 1997. He was a popular teacher and took pride in sending students into graduate programs and research positions around the country. At OCU, he was especially successful with international students and made trips for his department to Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore. Leonard married Margaret McMahan after they met at the University of Oklahoma, and they celebrated their 55th anniversary in June 2013. During their marriage, he and Margaret enjoyed many extended driving trips to OU football games and also toured the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and visited Costa Rica many times to visit their daughter. In 1973, they traveled on Eurail passes through southern Europe and Morocco, and two years later, during his teaching exchange program, they traveled extensively with their children throughout Britain, France, and northern and central Europe. However, his roots were deep in Oklahoma. Leonard was a founding board member of the Lookeba-Sickles School Foundation. With his son, Mark, he designed a small weekend home on the homestead land and planted natural prairie grasses and flowers. He became a dedicated gardener and designed two successive gardens at the family houses in the Shepherd and Heritage Hills neighborhoods. He attended to landscaping at the First Unitarian Church. He was preceded in death by his brothers, J.C. and Mason; and by his son, Mark. He is survived by his wife; daughter, Sundra; son and daughter-in-law, Miles and Becky; sister, Madeline Billings; grandchildren, Conner, Sage, and Catalina; and many beloved nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held for Leonard Wednesday, October 2, 2013, at 4 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church in Oklahoma City.


Published in The Oklahoman on Oct. 1, 2013
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