COS mourns loss of biology instructor
By Nancy Shepard
A public memorial service will be held by College of the
Siskiyous for biology instructor Neil Schanker this Saturday,
August 19th, in the Life Science Building at 4:30
Schanker, who taught at COS since 1994, died in a
fall while hiking in Oregon on August 1st.
Washington DC, Schanker grew up in Kansas and earned his BS
and MS degrees in Biology Education from Kansas State
He taught science to younger children in a
variety of settings before beginning his college teaching
career at William Rainey Harper College in Palatine, IL. He
joined the COS faculty in 1994.
At COS, Schanker taught
popular classes in biology, microbiology, ecology, and
zoology. As a teacher, he was well-organized and enthusiastic,
had an openness and easy rapport with students, and brought a
positive attitude and a willingness to help.
member and former student Andy Duclos remembers the infectious
enthusiasm Neil brought to his subject matter and his genuine
delight at being in the classroom.
Ken Beatty, who
continues to teach part time after retiring from the full-time
position Schanker filled, said Neil often accompanied him on
class field trips “and added a lot to every trip he came
Neil was an avid outdoorsman, and spent his
weekends and summers hiking, gold panning, bird watching, and
collecting specimens throughout the region.
He created an extensive photographic collection of plants,
wildlife, historic sites, and landscapes.
wide-ranging interest in the sciences led him to document the
places he visited and the natural life he saw. He was always
happy to share this material and his experiences with
“Neil was always contributing new information
and wonderful photographs to the Mount Shasta collection,”
said COS library director Dennis Freeman. “His enthusiasm was
contagious and his friendship will be greatly missed,” he
Neil Schanker is survived by his parents, Lewis
and Joyce Schanker of Grants Pass, OR, and by his sister, Lynn
Dreese and her family, of Plymouth, Minnesota.
friends, and colleagues plan to establish an endowment in his
name to provide scholarships for transferring biology
Information will be posted as it becomes
available on the COS biology web page:
biology/. Or you can contact
Dave Clarke at 530-938-5250.
Neil's friends will also
gather for a potluck brunch in his memory on Saturday, August
26th at 9:30 a.m. at Carrick Park in Weed.
information about the brunch, contact Gaylin Rezek or Jeff
Anderson at 938-1754, or check the Siskiyou Wanderers' website
the college at 530-938-5555 for more information.
Nancy Shepard is a telecommunications specialist in the
Distance Learning Lab at College of the Siskiyous. She and her
husband, geology instructor Bill Hirt, are good friends of
Neil Schanker and are acting as contacts between the college