Charlie's family lost a
loving husband, father, and grandfather. The community of Great Bend
lost one of it's outstanding citizens. The geological profession
lost a dedicated professional, and the industry lost one of it's strongest
advocates. The Republican party lost a major supporter, and many
of us suffered the loss of a true friend.
His life's journey commenced in
Ripley, Oklahoma where he was raised with his sister Lillian and brother
Harold, known to many a "Cug." With his father's activity in the
drilling segment of the industry, Charlie's early education involved a
number of locations in Kansas and Oklahoma before he completed his junior
and senior years at Great Bend high School in 1942.
After graduation he enrolled at
Oklahoma A&M for one semester. He then was an aircraft inspector
for three years before enrolling at Kansas State in 1946 as a geology major.
In 1946 a relationship was commenced
that was to continue for the rest of Charlie's life. Charlie was
one of the institution's strongest supporters. This support involved
both his time and resources. He served on numerous boards and committees
and raised funds for essential projects.
While at K State, Charlie continued
to "roughneck" in the summer. Danny Biggs recalls that just recently
Charlie mentioned how much help and knowledge he gained from his contacts
with wellsite geologists. Two that he mentioned previously were Dr.
Bob Walters and K.T. Woodman both deceased.
After graduation in 1950, Charlie
returned to Great Bend to commence his career as a professional geologist.
This included working with John Trimmell. In 1952 Charlie and Jim
McWilliams formed a partnership which later resulted in the establishment
of Strata Drilling in 1955. Strata Drilling existed for 26 years
until 1981 when the last rig was sold to Beredco. In 1957 Charlie,
Swede Nelson, Jim McWilliams, and Schmerhorn Oil formed Chase Well Service.
In 1959 Charlie married Helen Dietz
of Great Bend. To this union was born one son. Charlie was
extremely proud of Chris now a geologist/attorney in Wichita. Recently
there was a new grandson, Sam, and Danny Biggs says "Charlie would grin
from ear to ear when his name was mentioned."
Professionally Charlie was very
successful as an explorationist. He was either responsible for or
involved in the discovery and development of the Great Bend Airport Field,
Great Bend Township, and the SE Petersille Field.
All the time that he was busy with
his career, this many faceted man was engaged in so many other activities.
One that he devoted considerable time and effort to was the Independent
Producers Association of America. After serving as Vice President
and Director he took on the difficult task of chairman of the membership
Robert Parrish who Charlie served
with on the Great Bend Council recalls in particular his service to the
Republican party. Parrish says "he raised more money for the Republican
party and Republican candidates both state and national than any other
person in Barton County. He served for many years as Barton County
Republican Central Committeeman for his precinct." Parrish describes
Charlie as partisan in his approach to politics while Charlie described
himself as a "conservative thinker". He believed it was his duty
to see that conservative politicians were elected to office.
Perhaps one of Charlie's biggest
contributions to his industry and community was his work in the founding
of the Kansas Oil and Gas Museum and Hall of Fame. He was one of
the first inductees into the Hall of Fame and continued to serve the Museum
Foundation as it's Treasurer.
After he retired from public office,
Charlie made it his mission to see that the citizens of Great Bend were
protected from floods. He eventually got a bond issue passed that
provided flood protection to them.
So many more things could be said
about Charlie, but perhaps Danny Biggs says it best. "My friend,
Charlie Steincamp, was a person of great integrity, character, compassion,
and a man, whom I along with many friends, respected very much. Charlie,
we will miss you, but you cannot be taken from our memories. May
Gold Bless and be with him always."