Peyton Osborne Abbott

  • Born: September 10, 1927
  • Died: March 7, 2019
  • Location: Austin, Texas

Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
Tel. (512) 452-8811

Tribute & Message From The Family

Peyton Osborne Abbott passed away on March 7, 2019, at the age of 91. Known as "Oz" to his oldest friends in Austin and as "P.O." to anyone he met since about 1945, he was born to Agnes Weed Abbott and Merlin C. "Jack" Abbott in Houston, Texas, on September 10, 1927. Oz was raised at 502 Fannin Street, now 5th and Lamar. He had a happy childhood, and played constantly in the spread of the Treaty Oak, which was just over the back fence. He would often talk of those days, and of exploring the hills and caves west of Austin. He was particularly fond of his time in Boy Scout Troop 20, where he made many of his oldest friendships.

He graduated from Austin High School in 1944 and entered the University of Texas at Austin at the age of 16. As his 18th birthday approached, he was in the process of joining the Navy when the bomb was dropped on Japan and the war was suddenly over. He then decided to stay in school, but the Army had other ideas. He was drafted and trained as a surgical tech, serving at Army hospitals in Denver and San Francisco. After the Army, he re-enrolled at the University of Texas, earning a bachelor's degree in Geology in 1950. He was a proud Longhorn, and loved the fact that he, his mother, his son, and his granddaughter all earned their degrees from that institution.

After college, P.O.—as he was now known—spent a few years doodle-bugging (seismic prospecting for oil) in Texas, Louisiana, Venezuela, and Australia, but soon joined the United States Bureau of Reclamation as a hydrologist. About that time, he met the love of his life, Geraldine (Gerri) Jaye. They married on September 15, 1956. His son, James Travis Abbott, was born the day after P.O's 30th birthday in September 1957, and his daughter Laura Kathryn Abbott was born in June of 1962. In 1963 the family relocated to Pueblo, Colorado, where he spent his career at the US Bureau of Reclamation, US Geological Survey, and Colorado Division of Water Resources, becoming one of the foremost experts on water in southeastern Colorado. After retiring, he and Gerri travelled extensively, exploring their shared passion for nature and history. He moved back to Austin to be near family after Gerri's passing in 2012.

P.O. was preceded in death by his beloved wife Gerri Abbott, mother Agnes Weed Abbott, father Merlin C. Abbott, and an unnamed infant son. He is survived by son James Travis Abbott and his wife Susan Abbott of Austin, daughter Laura Kathryn Abbott and her husband Tim Wilson of Seattle, and his cherished grandchildren Samantha Abbott, Nick Abbott, and Tom Abbott of Austin and Alan Wilson of Seattle.

The family wishes to thank the personnel of Brookdale Hospice Austin, Brookdale Spicewood, the Conservatory at North Austin, and Halcyon Home Health for their loving care of P.O. in his final years and days.

There will be a private ceremony in Colorado at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the charity of your choice.

Condolence & Memory Journal


It saddens me deeply that I will no longer have P.O. Abbott present in his place of honor at my table during our large framily gatherings and game nights. I knew him to be knowledgeable about so many things not only as a well-read scholar, but also as a man who had lived a full and adventurous life. I revered his stories about old Austin, as once a sleepy little college town that came to be defined by its famous musicians, literary giants and rising politicians. We often talked about good books we had read or obscure movies we had seen. Conversations with P.O. always delighted and entertained me right up until this last year when his hearing began to fail. Still his ever-present sense of humor prevailed; he would burst out into contagious belly laughter if I repeated myself at a higher volume and at a closer distance. Write it down, he would say and often I did. As I'm writing this down today, I have blessed assurance P.O. that you hold a place for me as well as all of our framily members at our Father's table.

Posted by Donna Marie Miller - Austin, TX - Friend   March 10, 2019

PO was a wonderful person. Kind, intelligent, and witty. We will miss his presence at our family gatherings. Myles Miller and the Miller family.

Posted by Myles Miller - Family Friend   March 08, 2019

Family Album