A memorial service for Donald Dean Schaake, 86, will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, April 19, 2014 at the Warren McElwain Mortuary. Burial will follow at Oak Hill Cemetery. Don died Saturday, April 5, 2014 of natural causes at home with family.
Don was born December 5, 1927 in Lawrence, son of Clarence H. and Hazel Dell (Wiggins) Schaake. He graduated from Liberty (Lawrence) Memorial High School in 1945 and was reportably a proud member of the notorious BOGI Society using the alias Benswanger Drench. This group of fun-loving pranksters often wore bib overalls and red bowties, clothing that was later banned from school grounds. During his high school years, Don worked at the former C. Schaake and Sons grain elevator and mill representing the third generation of the family to work in the business.
His plans to attend college at the University of Kansas (KU) after high school were interrrupted by a draft notice. He subsequently served in the U.S.Army for two years beginning in 1946 where he was member of the Second Infantry Division, 38th Regimental Combat Team stationed at Camp Carson and Camp Hale, CO. As a mountain and winter warfare instructor, he taught technical mountain climbing and military skiing, leading to a lifetime interest in the Rocky Mountains. Don later admitted that he entered the Army as a reluctant draftee, but emerged a proud man with experiences and personal growth that helped shape the rest of his life.
Following his military obligation, Don returned to Lawrence and enrolled at KU to pursue a degree in architecture. At KU he pledged Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and was a founding member of the KU Mountain Club. In 1952, Don graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture with a planning option.
After college, Don began his career as an architect working the early years in Wichita, Salina and Cascade, Colorado before returning to Lawrence permanently. His early work in Lawrence began with designing and building affordable prairie style homes with his father, Clarence. Later in his career, he worked with several State agencies as a design architect and consultant. Perhaps the most noted mark he left on his hometown was as the first Urban Renewal Director for the City of Lawrence where he lead the team responsible for the redevelopment and modernization of downtown Lawrence in the 1970’s.
An avid reader and researcher throughout his life, Don amassed a huge book collection focusing on western history, art, architecture, mountaineering, exploration and early aviation that evolved into a second career and book business named, Jayhawker Special Collections. This business has served specialty book collectors across the country and internationally.
A noted local history buff and collector of Western Americana, Don was a life member of the Kansas Historical Society, past president of the Douglas County Historical Society, executive board member of the Douglas County American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, program development director for the Douglas County Historic Landmark Survey, past Sheriff of the Kaw Valley Corral and Kansas City Posse member of the Westerners, Watkins Museum board, and Civil War Roundtable. He was also a past president of the Kiwanis Club and member of the National Rifle Association and Philatelic Society.
Don was proud to be a constitutional conservative and studied the framers of our Constitution and early leaders of our country throughout his life. He was a strong supporter of our second amendment and limited government. He was thankful for living in a country where he was a free citizen and not a subject.
Don married Patricia Ruth (Barron) Schaake on September 1, 1949 in Wichita, Kansas who proceeded him in death. Together, they had three sons. Survirors include John Christian of Ester, Alaska and James Kurt, of Lawrence. One son, Thomas Barron, of Benedict, Kansas, proceeded him in death. Other Survivors include four grandchildren spread between Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii and Kansas.
The family suggests memorials in his name be sent to the Douglas County Historical Society and may be sent in care of the Warren McElwain Mortuary.