Dec. 20, 1936-Feb. 18, 2023
Carl Schwenk, age 86, of Ridgway, was born in West Reading, PA on Dec. 20, 1936. He was the second son of the late Wayland G. and Elva B. (Gerhart) Schwenk, and was pre-deceased by his older brother George in 2017. Carl was a 1954 high school graduate from Boyertown, PA and earned B.S. degrees in both Geological and Geophysical Engineering from Michigan Technological University in Houghton.
Mr. Schwenk established a career in natural resources, initially in petroleum engineering and later via underground projects in both a silver and copper mine. He found a home in hard rock (igneous) exploration. In 1965 he was hired by Kennecott Copper to perform geophysical evaluations in the Precambrian lithology of the Great Lakes District and was credited with finding a high-grade copper-gold ore body which became known as the Flambeau Mine of Rusk County, Wl. Carl’s authored account of this discovery was published by both the Society of Mining Engineers and the journal “Geoscience Wisconsin.”
From 1972-76 he was employed on assignments throughout Brazil and Alaska, and then was offered a district manager position with Noranda Exploration (Canada) Inc. in the friendly environs of the Great Lakes – a position he held for 10 years. His accomplishments here included challenging the legality of Wisconsin’s geologic disclosure law where he won a 7-day landmark decision over the state – upheld by their own Supreme Court, 5-2.
Mr. Schwenk maintained an interest in his alma mater and established an endowed Faculty Fellow in Applied Geophysics in his name and contributed as well to two undergraduate infield training programs. He felt right at home in Michigan’s upper peninsula, since upon arrival he could already dance an acceptable polka.
Carl was well known in the running community in Western Colorado, participating in many regional events over the years. Since moving to Ridgway in 1995, he had been an avid mountain trail runner. Carl held two course-age records at the Pikes Peak Marathon, and served 17 years on the Imogene Pass Run, CO Board of Directors.
He is survived by stepdaughters, Diana Andrews of Florence, MT, and Donna Andrews of Walnut Creek, CA; and his faithful Akbash canine “Luke,” lovingly adopted by his ex-wife, Mary Ellen Andrews.
Mr. Schwenk’s request was that no memorial service be held. However, in lieu of flowers, donations to Hope West Hospice in his name are welcomed.