Louis F. Dellwig

Louis Field Dellwig, age 90, passed away April 30, 2012, at Bridge Haven Memory Care Residence in Lawrence. A celebration of Louis’s life will take place at the Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home on Monday, June 25, at 2:00 P.M.
Louis was born February 13, 1922 in Washington, D. C. to Louis A. Dellwig and Louise (Schul) Dellwig. His father operated a wholesale produce business where he sold and delivered fresh produce to most of the foreign embassies, the White House, and quality hotels and restaurants in the Washington D.C. area. Louis graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1939. During his high school years and his summers while in college he worked with his father in the family business.
Louis graduated from Lehigh University in 1943 with a degree in geology. He was in advanced ROTC in college when the U.S. entered World War II in 1941. He was automatically placed in the army enlisted reserve until his graduation in 1943. He was then sent to Officers Candidate School and subsequently sent to the European theater as a second lieutenant in the army infantry. He was wounded twice. After the second time, a gunshot wound during the Battle of the Bulge, he was sent back to a hospital in England and was there when the war in Europe ended in 1945. He was discharged honorably in 1946, having earned an American Theater Ribbon, European Theater Ribbon, Combat Infantry Badge, and a Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster.
In 1947, with help from the G.I. Bill, Louis returned to Lehigh University and completed a Master’s degree in geology in 1948. In June of 1948 he married Elizabeth Finck of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. That fall they moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan where Louis continued his graduate work and where their first two children, Bitsy and Robert, were born.
Louis earned a Ph.D in geology from the University of Michigan and was hired by the University of Kansas in 1953. He was a professor of geology at KU for the next 39 years before retiring in 1992. His primary area of research was in the study of evaporites. In 1963, 1971, and 1986 he received Fulbright grants to study salt deposits in Germany. His family went with him, and the children (now including the youngest, Debra) were enrolled in German schools. In 1964 Louis was involved in the beginning phases of the Remote Sensing Laboratory and the Center for Research at the University of Kansas. His research in remote sensing was devoted to the study of geologic interpretation of radar and other remote imagery. Louis’s research led to scholarly publications as well as consulting work.
Louis also enjoyed teaching at KU. He supervised dozens of masters theses and doctoral dissertations, as well as teaching both graduate and undergraduate courses, and served for several years as director of the KU Geology Field Camp in Colorado for undergraduate geology majors. During his later years of teaching Louis was asked to teach a class in gemstones. Always ready to learn something new, he signed up for a Gemological Institute of America course to add to his expertise in the subject. He started teaching one section of the gemstone class per year. By the time he retired he was teaching three and four sections per semester on campus, and one night class at the KU Regents Center in Overland Park.
In 1990, Louis and his wife, Bets, moved to Overland Park to spend their retirement years closer to their children and grandchildren, who were all in the area: Bitsy and her husband George Waterman in Overland Park, with their children Todd and Molly; Robert, also in Overland Park, with his three children, Becky, Emily, and Tim; and Debra and her husband David Stephens in Olathe, with Debra’s daughter, Megan. Sadly, after 49 years of marriage, Louis lost Bets to illness in 1997. Surrounded by his children and grandchildren to give aid and comfort, Louis was able to move forward with his life.
To keep himself busy Louis worked with Bitsy in her estate sale business. He priced any fine jewelry she had for sale and other items that required some degree of research to determine their value. In 1999 Louis had some photographic equipment to price, and he contacted Jim Busse, a photographer friend who had done work for him at the Center for Research. To thank him for his help with the pricing, Louis invited Jim and his wife, Megan Gannon, to dinner. Louis suggested they also bring Vera Sehon along. Vera had worked with Jim and Megan for many years before her retirement from the Center for Research in 1993, and Louis had originally hired Vera as a draftsman for the Remote Sensing Lab in 1972. This first dinner ultimately led to his marriage to Vera in 2000.
Louis and Vera’s time together was filled with love, happiness, family, friends, and travel. And travel. And more travel. Between 2000 and 2008, Louis and Vera spent well over a year of the time on the road or on the ocean on cruise ships. Beginning with a honeymoon cruise to Bermuda, they traveled by plane, ship, and van to destinations in Europe, the Caribbean, South America, Hawaii, and throughout the continental United States–especially to the northeast, where two of Vera’s sons lived (Ben in Saranac Lake, New York, and Scott and his children Hayden and Josephine in Brunswick, Maine) and where Louis’s sister, Louise lived in Harwich, Massachusetts with her husband Robert Endruschat.
When Louis and Vera were home in Overland Park they enjoyed time with Louis’s now expanded family. Bitsy, Robert, and Debra remained in the area, though two of the grandchildren moved to different parts of the country. Vera’s youngest son, Clark, lived only a few miles away with his wife Gina and their children, Stephany, Carter, and Gunnar. Ben and Scott and Scott’s children also made regular trips to Kansas, and Ben eventually moved back to Kansas. Louis now also had four sisters-in-law in Lawrence, and numerous grown nieces and nephews.
In his final year, Parkinson’s and dementia began to take their toll. But before this, Louis Dellwig was an outgoing, fun loving person always eager to learn something new and live life to the fullest. He enjoyed his work as a geologist and teacher, and he loved his family. He also loved fine food, a good bottle of wine, and travel. He will be sorely missed by all who were privileged to know him.
In lieu of flowers, his survivors invite contributions to the Louis F. and Bets Dellwig Field Camp Scholarship, wich was established in his honor when he retired from KU, or to a charity of your choice, and either may be sent c/o of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana St., Lawrence, KS 66044.

Messages & Condolences

From George Devries Klein...

Louis was my Master’s thesis advisor and clearly one of the best. He allowed me to pursue a topic of my choice, and provided the critical guidance to see the thesis through to completion. He set high standards not only for classwork, but in life and was, indeed, an exemplary teacher, advisor and friend. Yes, he will be missed.

Above all, Louis helped me explore my career options and goals and helped make it possible to go on and develop a geological career of my choice. He was there when things did not go well, and he was there to celebrate his students’ successes. He was a beacon of encouragement. For this I shall always be thankful.

There are few like Louis who cared for his students. And there were many students, including me, who benefited from his generosity of spirit, his zest for life, and his concern.

Rest in Peace, Louis. You earned that right.

And to his family, let me add one thing. Always remember the good things about Louis F. Dellwig. Be assured, I shall.

From Gwen Macpherson...

Louis was an icon in the Department of Geology, ever speaking out in defense of the students, always something nice to say. I was lucky to have had him for a colleague, if only for a short while, before he retired.

From Katie Roberts-Gilliam...

Louis F. Dellwig…what a character he was. I will never forget the years of working along side him at The Space Technology Center, his practical jokes, he ever infectious smile, and that laugh, oh that laugh. He was always there to lend an ear or a shoulder to cry on, and to give his oh so wise advice, always followed by cracking a joke. It is with very heartfelt joy knowing that two of the sweetest people I know, Louis & Vera, enjoyed each other’s company, love, and companionship for the little time they had. Louis F. Dellwing was truly an irreplaceable “Gem” of his own. May you rest in peace dear friend. Katie Roberts-Gilliam

From Megan Gannon...

Louie was one of the world’s truly unique individuals. Among his many traits, one I’ve always appreciated and envied is that no matter who he was dealing with or what the situation, he could be counted on to give you his honest — often unvarnished — opinion. His straight-forward way of dealing with life and facing the world head on can be a model for all of us.

I’ll always remember taking his “Rocks for Jocks” gemstone class the semester AFTER he’d been accused of if being an easy course. (It wasn’t!) And will treasure the memories of a more recent time when Jim and I took a trip to Branson with Vera and Louie.

My heartfelt sympathies and deepest condolences. His passing leaves a space that won’t be filled.

Megan Gannon

From Nancy Lee...

In such a very short time, I came to realize how very dear Louis was to his devoted wife Vera and their children. It was an honor to have spent the last day of his earthly life helping all of you say goodbye and assisting Louis as he departed. He left this world surrounding by the sweetest love anyone could’ve wished for. I’ll never forget him or all of you. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this most special time.
Nancy Lee, RN Grace Hospice

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