Joseph Alphonso Mifsud was born August 16, 1923, in Saspamco, Wilson, Texas to Paul Pablo Mifsud and Ella Elizabeth Hild. Paul Mifsud, a bricklayer, was born in Misedo(a), Malta, October 20,1885, and had immigrated in 1911. His parents were born in Alsace-Loraine. Ella Hild was born in Saspamce in 1896. Paul is shown in photo at right with the priest who sponsored his coming from Malta. Ella Hild was born September 15, 1896 and died in San Antonio, Texas, June 5, 1966. Her son Paul William was informant on death certificate. He stated she had lived in San Antonio for 36 years in a residence at 134 Dublin Avenue. Her parents, William C. and Elizabeth Gimbel Hild, were born in Texas and were farmers. Her grandparents, William and Fredricka, were born in Germany and immigrated in 1846. Ella had a sister, Olga, who was four years younger. In 1920, Paul was living in Saspamco. He was single, age 34. He has two female roomers in his house, Effie Carter, 33, and Clio Youngblood, 22.
In the 1930 Census, the family was living in Saspamco, Precinct 8, Wilson, Texas. There are three children listed, Paul, 8, Joe, 6 and Charles, 4. They are pictured at left. Sadly, their father, Paul Pablo, died July 3, 1935, in Houston at the age of 50.
Paul William Mifsud, the oldest son, was born August 20, 1921, in Saspamco, TX. He died December 30, 2006, in San Antonio, TX.
His brother, Charles William Mifsud, was born Nov 28, 1925. He seems to have change his middle name also to Joseph. He died on July 25, 1988 in Wichita, Kansas. He enlisted in the Navy, March 24, 1944. He was released June 15, 1946. In 1949, he was a UT student. He earned an MA at UT in 1951; his thesis was, An Introduction to the Limit Concept. In 1952, he was a teacher at UT, apparently seeking a PhD. He and his brother, Joe, were living at 2204 San Gabriel, rear. Joe’s wife Carol, said that Charles was responsible for Joe selecting physics for a degree.
In the 1940 Census, Joseph (age 17) and his brother Charles, age 15, were in an orphanage in San Antonio, TX. Their older brother, Paul, had left by this time. The orphanage was St. Joseph–St. Peters Home Orphanage for Girls and Boys. They were in high school. Their mother, for health reasons, was unable to care for them and their father placed them in this home. Joe said it was a great place, and it contributed much to their success in life. Following graduation from high school early, Joe entered St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. For the remainder of his life, Joe was a big supporter of St. Mary’s with his time and his money.
Joe likely graduated from St. Mary’s early. A city directory lists him in Galveston in 1943. This may be the time he entered the U. S. Navy.
There is a muster record, for Lt. (jg) Joseph F. Mifsud, March 31, 1946, of service on the ship LSM 541. He is to report to 7th Naval District in New Orleans for duty. It appears that he was in the Naval Reserve at the time. On May 7, 1946, Joe assumes temporary duty as Commanding Officer of the LSM 541, pending an investigation of the CO, Lt. (jg) C. J. Schultz.
Joe apparently changed his middle name to Francis. He is found many times listed as Joseph F. Mifsud. Joe appears in the 1947 and 1948 University of Texas yearbook, Cactus. In 1948, Joe earned an MA at UT with a thesis, The Fourier Integral in Physical Problems and Its Evaluation with an Harmonic Analyzer. This would have been under Professor S. Leroy Brown. He got his PhD in 1956, with a thesis entitled, The Velocity and Adsorption of Ultrasonic Waves in Several Non-associated Liquids Under High Pressure. The dissertation was supervised by A. Wilson Nolle. The work was done at the Defense Research Laboratory where he was employed. He continued to work there through 1957.
Joe married Carol Speed Mifsud on September 6, 1952. They had six children. Carol was the sister of Estelle Elizabeth Speed who married fellow UT physicist, Richard N. Lane. Richard was one of the founders of the highly successful Austin company, Tracor.
One of Joe’s papers was published while he was at the UT Defense Research Laboratory, A Critque of Acoustic Mine Detection Methods, by Joseph F. Mifsud, Rept. on Contract DA 44-009- eng- 2073. 27 Oct 55, declassified 13 Mar 58, 24p. 12 refs. DRL-A-95.
In 1963 Joe published a paper that included his major professor, A. W. Nolle. The paper was Acoustical Properties of Water-filled Sands. Nolle, A. W., Hoyer, W. A., Mifsud, J. F., Runyan, W. R., and Ward, M. B., J. Acousti. Soc. Am.,35, 1394-1408.
Another paper was published with R. N. Jolly, Experimental Studies of Source Generated Noise, Geophyscs, 53, 1276-1283, 1971
One of Joe’s later papers, Marine Seismic tTansducer, was published in J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 69, 1537 (1981).
He earned a number of patents during 1960–1980s working for ESSO Research Production Company in Houston. One was mentioned in the book, Geophysical and Geochemical Techniques for Exploration of Hydrocarbons and Minerals by Marshall Sittig, Noyes Data Corp., 1980 . “An apparatus developed by J..P. U.S. Patent 3.866,709 February 18, 1976; assigned to Exxon Production Research Company is an electrohydraulically operated vibrator which contains a single power piston connected to a circular baseplate. The baseplate is held against this ground by a reaction mass,. e.g. the transporting vehicle. By varying the hydraulic pressure on opposite sides of tho power piston, reciprocating movement and concomitant acoustic vibrations are produced.”
Joe had a highly successful career with Exxon. He published extensively and was recognized for his creative talents. Joe served as Associate Editor of Marine Operations for the Society of Exploration Geophysicists in 1974.
Joe and Carol were divorced in 1979. Following retirement Joe liked to spend time in the area of Los Alamos, NM. He enjoyed hiking in the mountains and forest.
Joe died Houston, TX, August 14, 2014, one day shy of his 91st birthday
Joe Francis Mifsud Photo Album