Dr. Joseph Thomas Schaefer

October 23, 1943November 14, 2019

Dr. Joseph Schaefer, an expert in severe thunderstorm meteorology and former director of the N.O.A.A. National Weather Service (N.W.S.) Storm Prediction Center (1995-2010) passed Thursday November 14, 2019 in Oklahoma City. He was 76.

Joseph was born to parents Margaret and John Schaefer, on October 23, 1943 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Family members preceding Schaefer in death include his parents and sister Margaret Schaefer.

Joseph is survived by the following: wife, Sharon, brother Christopher and sister in law Helen of Illinois, son Christopher and daughter in law Patty of Oklahoma, son Thomas and daughter in law Shanna of Florida and son John and daughter in law Shelly of Missouri. Beloved grandchildren include Ryan, Sayre, T.J, Brianna, Morgan and Lucas.

A Wisconsin thunder snow event in childhood inspired Joseph to study meteorology. He received his bachelor of science from St. Louis University and worked for the St. Louis weather bureau while earning his PhD in meteorology. In 1973 he moved to Norman, Oklahoma to work at the National Severe Storms laboratory as a research scientist. In 1976 he acquired the position of head of the research unit for severe storms forecast center in Kansas City, Missouri. He then became director of the Weather Training Center. In 1996, he returned to Norman, Oklahoma as director of the storm prediction center.

In 1998 he was elected president of the National Weather Association and in 2003 he received the presidential rank award for exceptional long term accomplishments.

Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday November 19, 2019 at Primrose Funeral Service, Norman, OK. Funeral service will be 2 p.m. Wednesday November 20, 2019 at Primrose Funeral Service Chapel. Burial will follow at Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery, Norman, OK

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society or a personal charity of one’s choice.

Arrangements entrusted to Primrose Funeral Service, Norman, OK. Sign the online guestbook at


  • Visitation Tuesday, November 19, 2019
  • Funeral Service Wednesday, November 20, 2019


Dr. Joseph Thomas Schaefer

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Vicky Clark

November 16, 2019

Love and prayers to the family. Uncle joe was such a good man. He will be missed.