Douglas William “Doug” Shakel

Douglas William “Doug” Shakel

Pocatello, Bannock County, Idaho, USA
Death 20 Nov 2012 (aged 74)
Tucson, Pima County, Arizona, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered, Specifically: Catalina State Park, Pima Co., Arizona
Memorial ID 101046272 · View Source
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Geologist, Teacher, Activist. He graduated from the Caltech in Pasadena, California in 1961. Known for his geology field trips, he was a former geology faculty member of Pima Community College. In the early 1970s, he worked with several civic and environmental groups to oppose the planned 4,300 acre Rancho Romero development on the flanks of the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. The area was later incorporated into the core portion of Catalina State Park. He served on the Executive Committee for the Arizona Geological Society as Vice President-Field Trips from 2009 through 2012.
Bio courtesy of Alison H. Jones, Published originally in the Arizona Geological Society Newsletter, December 2012
Douglas Shakel, AGS VP of Field Trips, retired Pima Community College geology faculty member, activist, world traveler, brother, uncle, friend, and student of life passed away on November 20, surrounded by some of the many people who loved him. They will all miss him dearly.

Doug loved science and learning for its own sake. Practical applications did not interest him as much as did the sheer joy that came in gaining a better understanding of the world. He was a scientist in the purest sense of the word. A self-described liberal with religious views that were "personal," Doug was a very social guy, with friends in many different circles. One of his favorite quotations was, "Anxiety is fear in search of a cause."

Doug grew up as an Army brat, graduated from Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn, NY, and then went to the California Institute of Technology, where he studied under Leon Silver and received a degree in geology in 1961. He was commissioned in the Air Force, serving as a flight test and radar navigator in B-52s, and was honorably discharged in 1967 after attaining the rank of Captain.
Doug made his way to Tucson and the University of Arizona where he received his M.S. in 1974 and studied toward a Ph.D. His thesis was titled, "The geology of layered gneisses in the Santa Catalina forerange."

Doug loved Tucson, and it was here that he would make his mark. He was instrumental in the creation of Catalina State Park, 5500 acres of foothills, canyons, and streams with magnificent saguaros and world-class birdwatching. During his 27 years of teaching at Pima Community College, he created a lasting legacy by inspiring countless students (many of whom had no idea what geology was when they entered his class) to major in geology and make it a career. Doug's annual field trips throughout the U.S. and to foreign destinations including Morocco, China, Tahiti, Thailand, and Turkey were often the highlight of his students' academic careers. He kept in touch with many of them until he died.

After retirement, Doug continued intellectual pursuits. As VP of Field Trips for AGS, he led many wonderful and well-organized trips and authored exceptional guidebooks. He led trips for the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, gave talks at the Tucson Audubon Society "Institute of Desert Ecology," and served on the Pima County Flood Control District Advisory Committee. In 2012, Doug took on the daunting task of organizing and writing guidebooks for all of the field trips for the 48th Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals. The organizers were amazed that one person could do it all, and do it so well.

Doug leaves behind an astounding number of friends, his sister and brother-in-law, Kay and Larry Cole, with whom Doug was very close, his nephews, Doug and David, and ex-wife and good friend, Carolyn Lee.

At Tohono Chul Park in Tucson, you can see a 55-foot long wall made up of several hundred rock specimens from more than two dozen geologic formations that make up Santa Catalina Mountains. Each rock was carefully selected and placed to tell the geologic history of the Santa Catalina Mountains, which rise up in the in the distance behind the wall. It is also a testament to the designer and builder of this wall, Doug Shakel, whose life's purpose, in my opinion, was to learn, teach, and be a friend. He was exceptionally good at all of these things.

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  • Created by: Cori H
  • Added: 20 Nov 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 101046272
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Douglas William “Doug” Shakel (29 Jan 1938–20 Nov 2012), Find a Grave Memorial no. 101046272, ; Maintained by Cori H (contributor 46481123) Cremated, Ashes scattered, who reports a Catalina State Park, Pima Co., Arizona.