Somehow I do not know just
how one starts to write a memorial to a longtime friend. Being one
of the "younger' crowd in the Wichita oil community, I fortunately have
not been faced with this problem too many times.
Many of us in downtown Wichita lost
a good friend with the passing of Dean Schaake on March 31, 2000.
Dean had battled pancreatic cancer for several months prior to his death.
Thanks to the efforts of others, many of us were able to share some time
with Dean on the occasion of his 43rd birthday celebration that was held
on February 27, 2000. I was especially thankful for that opportunity.
Dean C. Schaake was born February
23, 1957 in Topeka, Kansas. He was raised in Topeka and graduated
from Topeka high School. After high school, he enrolled at the University
of Kansas where he received a BS in Geology. Dean spent most of his
career as a geologist being self employed. He was an independent
petroleum geologist; General Manager of Clovis Minerals (a gold mining
partnership) and a very talented CAD and computer graphics consultant.
Dean met and married his wife Sherri
in topeka. He is survived By Sherri and his Two daughters, Kate and
Hannah. These ladies were the treasures of his life. I know
this fact all too well as myself and others could never seem to get Dean
to go out after work for a beer. Ted Jochems related on this subject,
"Dean preferred to be at home with Sherri, Katy and Hannah. We missed
a lot of great geologizing and humor because of that. However the
time was much better spent with his family. Those couple hours a
day added up to a lot of time over the years. The cumulative effect
was a rich experience for the girls. That time was much better spent
with them than with a bunch of belching geologists." I know now that
the reason Dean would never go wa that his responsibilities to his family
were his highest priority in his life. Dean is also survived by his
parents, his brother, and his sister.
Dean was very well read. He
seemed to possess knowledge, extremely detailed knowledge, on many subjects,
especially meteorology, physics and military hardware. Aircraft in
general, but especially military aircraft, were a passion with Dean.
He seldom missed an air show with driving distance. Stan Wisdom,
the owner of Landmark Square where Dean had his office, and Dan Reynolds,
a fellow geologist, made arrangements for Dean to go out to McConnell AFB
to use the B-1 bomber flight simulator. Colonel Brad Link mentioned
that Dean was more knowledgeable than many of his pilots about aircraft.
Dean was too weak to climb up into the aircraft itself, but enjoyed
the simulator experience immensely. Colonel Link provided the B-1
flyover at Dean's memorial service.
One of Dean's hobbies was building
plastic models of cars and aircraft. He was very good at it, entering
some models in competition. He was very good at it, entering some
models in competition. I recall one zany story involving modeling.
Dave Barker, a friend and fellow geologist, drives an old beat up pickup
truck (the year and make elude me). dean found the exact model in
a toy store. After putting the model together, Dean made scale versions
of the 2 by 4's and other junk Dave carried in the truck bed and placed
them in the truck. he added rust on the fenders and doors to make
an exact replica of Barker's truck. The crowning glory of the model
was a scanned photo )scale of course) of Dave Barker that was trimmed and
placed in the driver's seat. I don't know anyone else who would take
that much time and care to make a friend laugh.
As a geologist, Dean was very detail
oriented. Dave Goldak wrote of Dean, "His ideas and interpretations
included much detail, however, these details were always incorporated within
the 'big picture,' which is so important in any science." Ted Jochems,
a close friend and partner in Clovis Minerals, wrote, "Dean Schaake was
a true scientist. He was quite knowledgeable in most areas of geology.
He was able to think in three dimensions and to extrapolate local geology
into a broader regional perspective. at the same time, he had a keen
eye for minute detail." Ted and Dean worked together in Wyoming on
a gold mining venture. Ted further commented, "Sometimes field geology
can be discouraging. Rain, snow, wind, dust, oppressive heat, excessive
bugs, steep slopes, deep woods and a great many other annoyances can combine
to demoralize even the hardiest field geologist. But not Dean.
He was great to have around at such times. He was always upbeat and
his enthusiasm was contagious. The humor flowed constantly and was
loud enough to enjoyed on the next hill. Dean had a great many talents
which lent themselves well to his geologic pursuits. When dangerous
mine shafts need to be mapped and sampled, Dean's rock climbing expertise
allowed his to organize and direct the project."
Brad Rine related that he had only
really gotten to know Dean when he entered the consulting business about
5 years ago. "First, on a professional basis, I used Dean for several
"computer aided' geological drafting and presentation projects" Brad commented.
"Working with him was very satisfying with his careful attention to detail
and his craftmanship. These exhibits in various reports and studies
I worked for clients were definitely highlights of the presentations."
Brad has been a regular at the Landmark Square 'coffee group' along with
many others. "I can't offer any interesting stories, other than when
Dean was no longer able to attend the morning coffee the sessions were
not nearly so interesting. Even now, when I go to coffee I can't
help but miss him," Brad said.
As another member of the "coffee
crowd," I fondly recall that Dean referred to the older and retired members
of the group as the "blue hairs." This group of coffee drinkers ranges
in age from early 40's to late 70's in age. Dean was probably near
the youngest of the Wichita oil community's male membership. Dean's
booming voice could often be heard as I approached the coffee lounge on
the 5th floor. The silence now is deafening.
Bob Slamal remarked that "when there
was a geologic question that I could not find the answer to, there were
two people I could ask to get the answer. Those two people were Dr.
Robert Walters and Dean Schaake." Bob also said, "Dean always enjoyed
The crowd at Dean's memorial service
had a large number of students from Wichita Collegiate School in attendance.
Those students were there not only for Sherri, who teaches there, and the
girls, but out of respect for Dean for the volunteer work he did with Collegiate.
Ted Jochems summed it up pretty
well when he related to me "Dean had life figured out pretty well.
We'll miss him."
A memorial has been established
with Wichita Collegiate School and the Kansas Geological Foundation.