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Joel Mitchell Kibbee


1921 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Joel Mitchell Kibbee Obituary
April 21, 1921 - April 4, 2017 Joel Kibbee passed away peacefully just before his 96th birthday. Born Joel Mitchell Ginsberg in Pennsylvania, he grew up in Los Angeles and attended Belmont High School. "Micky" pursued his fascination with math and science by studying physics at UCLA, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Air Force, serving as a weather officer for the 388th Bomb Group in England. After WWII, Joel returned to UCLA, eventually working with the cyclotron particle accelerator studying neutrinos. He married Stella (Better) Aschner in 1945, had a son, and later divorced. He followed the lead of his older brother Roland and changed his last name to "Kibbee," derived from the Yiddish word, "kibitzer." After 11 years studying physics, Joel joined IBM, married Eleanor (Podolny) Zinner in 1955, and temporarily moved to Houston to open the first computer center in the southern U.S. Joel's career as a computer pioneer includes designing information systems for the UNIVAC division of Sperry-Rand, System Development Corporation (the world's first computer software company) and the Southern California Association of Governments. With colleagues Clifford Craft and Burt Nanus, he wrote the 1961 book "Management Games" on using simulation games for manager training. Joel and Eleanor had a passionate, and at times contentious, relationship. In 1969, they moved with their three children into Synanon, an experiment in communal living, before eventually returning to their longtime neighborhood Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica. Joel believed two simple words were key to a happy marriage, "Yes, Dear." Joel was predeceased by Eleanor, his wife of 55 years, and is survived by his children, Michael Hoberman (Betsy), Regan (Jason Saville), Thaya (Jerry Shaeffer) and Lucas (Charlott McClelland); grandchildren Sara (Eli Bilder), Kevin, Sonja, and Mira; sister-in-law Martha Baron; nieces Suzanne (Bruce Helming) and Alexandra, and extended family and friends. He will be missed for his warmth, self-deprecation, gratitude and playful sense of humor. A celebration of his life will be held Saturday, May 27, from 1:30 p.m. at Brookdale (a.k.a. Ocean House), 2107 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, CA. Info: (310) 399-3227. In lieu flowers or gifts, donations may be made to the Sholem Community <www.Sholem.org/donate> or other charity.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from May 23 to May 24, 2017
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