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John Scott Isby

June 1, 1958 November 5, 2019
John Scott Isby
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Obituary for John Scott Isby

John Scott Isby, aged 61, died on Nov. 5th, 2019 in Anchorage, Alaska after a brief battle with lung cancer, a late effect of radiation treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma in 1981.

John was born June 1st, 1958 in New York City to Joseph and Peggy (Carpenter) Isby. He grew up in Queens, NY, the middle child of three boys. From his father, a science teacher, he gained an early interest in the natural world, as well as his humility. His mother, an English World War II war bride, instilled in him a sense of fun and adventure.

John graduated from Queens College in New York with a BA in Geology in 1981. He left for graduate school at the University of Utah where he thrived in the open spaces in the west. In 1984, he received a Master’s degree in Geology. He began his long, nearly 35-year career as a geologist with Sohio/BP in Houston, Texas, working initially in operations and then exploration. In 1990, he jumped at the chance to move to Alaska as a development geologist, taking with him his new bride, Peggie. In 1996, John transferred to BP England. While there, he honed his skills as a geological modeler, which would characterize the remainder of his career. In 1999, he took these skills to BP-Kuwait. In 2003, John returned to Alaska to model development opportunities for the Endicott and North Star oil fields. With his expertise in building geologic models, he was chosen to update one of BP’s largest models, Prudhoe Bay. He also spent time mentoring less experienced geologists. John is widely known at BP for a rattlesnake bite he endured while on a company field trip on a remote river in west Texas on Sept. 11th, 2001. The group had to scramble to arrange an emergency helicopter evacuation of John, who stayed unflappable throughout.

In 1985, John invited a fellow Utah grad living in Houston to go for a bicycle ride - they married 5 years later. Their children, Ian and Andrea, were born a few years later in Alaska. John was a treasured father and role model to his two children. Calm, kind, and selfless, he would spend his hours after work helping them with their studies and taking them to sports practice. John was a devoted and thoughtful husband, a careful listener, and a fixer of cars and appliances; he always aimed to make life easier for his family. Together they had many adventures across the globe.

John had many cherished life-long friends. He loved the camaraderie on fishing trips, single-track trail rides, or sharing stories. John’s joys in life were his family, work, friendships, the outdoors, and a good IPA.

John is survived by his wife of 29 years, Peggie Gallagher, his children, Ian and Andrea Isby, Ian’s fiancé, Jenna Morrison, his brothers, Michael (Laura Fratt) and David (Anne Shackleton) Isby, as well as relatives and friends.

A service will be held on Nov. 15th at 3pm at the Anchorage Funeral Home with a Celebration of Life to follow. In lieu of flowers, contributions in John’s memory can be made to Singletrack Advocates in Anchorage, or an education charity of your choice. A special thank you to staff at Providence Hospital and Alaska Oncology for their kindness during John’s illness.

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Previous Events

Memorial Service




3:00 PM 11/15/2019 3:00:00 PM - 4:45 PM 11/15/2019 4:45:00 PM
Anchorage Funeral Home & Crematory

1800 Dare Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99515

Anchorage Funeral Home & Crematory
1800 Dare Avenue Anchorage 99515 AK
United States

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