Isak died April 19, 2020, in Chicago after a brief illness. He was 90.
Born in Athens, Greece, he survived the Holocaust by escaping from Nazi-controlled Greece to Turkey. After the war he immigrated to the United States. Isak graduated from Union College in 1952, and then studied electrical engineering at Princeton.
Isak relocated to Chicago to become the director of research and development for Sciaky, designing electron-beam welding systems, some used for the Apollo program.
In 1964 he met his wife, Nancy, at a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert. They married and had a daughter, Amy Gerson Kynaston, who died in a riding accident in 2011. Isak and Nancy were together and devoted to each other until Nancy’s death in 2018.
Isak served as a governing member of the Chicago Symphony’s Orchestral Association, founding member of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Classical Arts Society, and on the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute’s Visiting Committee.
Isak is survived by stepdaughter Susan Haskins-Doloff; son-in-law Steven Doloff; sister Vicky Pilo; brother-in-law Albert Pilo; and many nieces and nephews in the United States and Israel, all of whom miss his kindness, wisdom, and humor.
Graduate alumni memorials are prepared by the APGA