Charles W. Steincamp
(1924 - 1999)

Robert Cowdery
Wichita, Kansas
Information contributed by
Danny Biggs and Robert Parrish
No Picture 

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 committee.

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."

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