Dean C. Schaake
(1957 - 2000)

Wes Hansen
Wichita, Kansas
Information contributed by various authors
especially David Goldak and Ted Jochems 
No Picture 

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 discussing geology."

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.

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