Robert J. Briskey died on Saturday, May 12, at age 87. Born December 4, 1924 in Detroit, Briskey was one of the pioneers in the field of audiology following WWII. After receiving his degree in speech pathology at Wayne State University in Detroit in 1947, he remained on the faculty until 1952. He then taught and helped set up what would become the audiology clinic at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
In 1962, Briskey accepted a position as director of rehabilitation services and senior research audiologist for Zenith Radio Corp. There he developed several hearing aids for which he received two US patents. In 1975, he became director of educational services at Beltone Electronics, from which he retired. During his more than 50 years in the hearing industry, Briskey published over 50 articles on hearing aid related topics, wrote several chapters for audiology texts, and gave more than 400 platform presentations in the field of hearing all over the world.
Briskey provided an excellent retrospective look at his career and important contributions to audiologists and dispensers’ education in Wayne Staab’s recent “Audiology History With Hearing Aid Manufacturers” blog. His modesty is evident throughout the piece; he was a prominent force in hearing-related education from the 1950s through the 1990s, attending and speaking at most of the field’s important events during that period.
Briskey is survived by his wife, Karen (pictured with Briskey), former editor of Hearing Instruments magazine and now with Etymotic Research, with whom he would have celebrated 28 years of marriage in July. He is also survived by his daughter Beth (Charles) Brickler, son Bradford Briskey, his stepson Colin (Shannon) Cranmer, his grandchildren Angela (Brian) Schroeder, Joseph (Meagan) Brickler, Rachel Briskey, Robin Briskey, Helena Cranmer, and Adessa Cranmer; and his greatgrandaughter Emily Schroeder. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Virginia Levitan Briskey and his son Robert John Briskey.
A remembrance reception was held May 17, 2012 at Friendship Park Conservatory. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Carmelite Monastery, 949 N River Road, Des Plaines, IL 60016 would be appreciated. Burial will be private at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, Elwood, IL.