Helmut was a good friend of mine. We talked often. I lost a good friend”. That is what everyone says. I never realized how much he touched our lives. He was an integral part of geology in California. Always bubbly and happy and always talking about his latest adventure in map making. He was Tom Dibblee’s mapping companion and also his best friend. He was the Editor and Project Director for the Dibblee Foundation and the ever-present friend. He was a friend to all of us. There to listen, there to analyze our ideas and there to tell us when we were off course.
Helmut E. Ehrenspeck was born on June 4, 1943 in Andechs, Germany which is located south of Munich, in the Bavarian foothills. He is survived by an older brother Gerhardt and a younger sister Eva. He gained an undying love for nature and geology as a small child. Some say that he never grew up at all. His family moved to Boston in 1953 when his father, a prominent research physicist and inventor came to work for the US Air Force.
Helmut went back to Germany to the University of Munich from 1963 to 1964 and studied geology. He returned to the United States and got his Bachelor’s Degree in Geology from the University of Massachusetts, (Amherst) in 1966. He moved to California and earned a Master’s Degree in Geology from UC Santa Barbara in 1972. His thesis was “Geology and Miocene Volcanism of the eastern Conejo Hills, Ventura County, California”.
During the summer of 1967 Helmut worked as a Junior Field Geologist for the USGS office in Denver on the Idaho National Wilderness Area. He spent the summer of 1968 as an Assistant Field Geologist for Pan American Petroleum Corp. of Denver doing reconnaissance mapping in Colorado, Utah and Nevada. From 1966 to 1969 he worked as a Teaching Assistant for the Dept. of Geological Sciences, UCSB. The second half of 1969 was spent working under a NASA Traineeship at UCSB on his thesis. From 1970 to 1972 he worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Dept. of Geology, Ohio State University, Columbus. During the same period Helmut worked as a Graduate Research Associate, Institute of Polar Studies at Ohio State. He went down to Antarctica to study the Permo-Triassic nonmarine stratigraphy in the Transantarctic Mountains! Because of his work there was a mountain named after him, Mount Ehrenspeck!
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