Robert L. Slamal
(1951 - 2001)

Tyler Sanders and Wes Hansen
Wichita, Kansas

Contributed by Tyler Sanders

Robert (Bob) Slamal died tragically in a car accident February 9, 2001, at the age of 49.  he was a Wichita Petroleum geologist.  Prominent locally in the Kansas Geological Society and Library, his interest in the science of geology extended far beyond Kansas and his specialty of petroleum geology.

Bob's background included a bachelor's degree in business from Emporia State University and a master's of science degree in geology from Wichita State University.

He was a past president of the Kansas Geological Foundation.  His professional affiliations outside of the Kansas Geological Society and Foundation were diverse and too numerous to mention, but included memberships in organizations such AAPG, RMAG, KIOGA, SIPES, OCGS, HGS, GSA, EPM, and UGA.  He kept abreast of research in many areas of geology, and subscribed to a wide number of professional publications.

"Extraordinary" and "unique" are two words heard often in stories and fond remembrances being told and retold by his many friends since his death.  Bob was extraordinary in many ways.  His unrivaled passion and dedication to the science of geology and his profession were primary among them.

Also part of his personality was his kindness and simple honesty.  His gently and humble manner, rooted in his rural upbringing in Medicine Lodge, Kansas, at times seemed deceptively naive.  Most often, however his recommendations, and sometimes purposefully controversial statements were found to be grounded in perceptive truth.  They were always offered with the best of intentions.

Bob's unique compassion and eagerness to help others were also his trademarks.  He showed compassion in so many ways, whether it was to total strangers (as when he would tow people from snow drifts for no compensation other than a simple "Thank you"), to geology students in showing them the practical application of their science, or to fellow geologists in recommending research sources or alternative interpretations to geologic problems.

Rarely can someone be thought of as truly irreplaceable.  Bob's professional dedication, passion, and never-ending unselfish volunteerism given to Kansas Geological Society and Library will be his unique legacy.

If the measure of a person's wealth is based on lasting influence, inspiration and respect, then Bob Slamal died a very wealthy man.  He will be dearly missed by his friends, colleagues, and everyone else fortunate enough to have known him.

Contributed by Wes Hansen

Prior to starting his geologic studies, Bob returned to Medicine Lodge and ran a business that built fences for farmers and ranchers in the area.  Later on, Bob abandoned this venture and started work as a roustabout in the oil fields.  This job got Bob interested in the oil business and led him to start his masters in geology program at Wichita State University.  Bob finished his degree just in time to try to seek employment at the start of the downturn in the business in the early 1980's.  Bob struggled to earn a living as an independent, generally doing short term jobs and turning an occasional drilling deal.

Bob's approach to exploration was different than that of many geologist's working in a mature area.  He always sought the wilder stratigraphic deal with higher potential, never wanting to work the close-in or corner-shooting kind of deal.  Bob firmly believed that a geologist needed to cover the dry holes he or she was responsible for with enough good discoveries.  I will always believe that Bob was very close to that big discovery that we all hope to have in our careers.

Bob is survived by his parents. Arthur and Joann Slamal of Medicine Lodge: and sisters, Jeanne Robinson of Spring, Texas, and Betty Jo Swayden of Medicine Lodge.

Memorials have been established with the United Methodist Church, Medicine Lodge and the Kansas Geological Foundation, Wichita.

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