Horick Jr., Paul Joseph
Paul Joseph Horick Jr., 90, of Iowa City, passed away peacefully on Wednesday Jan. 30, 2013 at Hallmark Care Center in Mount Vernon. A Celebration of the Christian Faith and the life of Paul will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, at Zion Lutheran Church, Iowa City. The Rev. Dr. Mark Pries will officiate. Visitation will be Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Lensing Funeral Service in Iowa City. Burial will be at Oakland Cemetery.
Paul was born May 6, 1922, in LaGrange, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, about 12 miles west of the downtown loop. Other westside villages in this area, where he spent his youth, are Riverside, Brookfield, LaGrange Park, and Western Springs, Hinsdale, Downers Grove, Lisle, Naperville and Aurora, all connected by the CB&QRR and Highway 6. The terrain is more or less flat to rolling farmland with wooded groves along the Des Plaines River and Salt Creek, ideal for development of small towns and golf courses and light industry. Paul and his father often walked through these woods by his grandmother’s home. Paul attended grammar school and secondary school in Brookfield and Riverside. This was during the years of the Great Depression and life was hard for many people.
In 1933, Paul, at age 11, had the misfortune of being stricken by meningitis that left him with total hearing loss and partial blindness. Although severely handicapped, Paul attended normal public schools and his parents and school administration felt he could handle college as well. The problem was where and the cost. His father found employment in Rock Island in the business community so the family moved there.
Since they were in Rock Island they inquired at Augustana College and were delighted to learn the state of Illinois would pay his tuition for both undergrad and graduate degrees in a special rehab program. That’s how Paul encountered geology studies and received an invitation to the University of Iowa graduate program while working part time at the Iowa Geological Survey beginning in fall of 1945 under the direction of Dr. A.C. Trowbridge. Paul’s Master of Science thesis was titled, “Geology of the Warm Spring Area Wind River Mountains, Wyoming.” Trowbridge resigned the following year and was succeeded by Dr. H. Garland Hershey who hired Paul full time in August 1948.
Dr. Hershey quickly got the Iowa drilling contractors to agree to save drill hole samples to give a better understanding of the bedrock formations. Paul’s principal function was to prepare these rock cuttings for study. As he learned more about Iowa geology he was given more responsibility to write reports for municipalities, engineering consultants, industries, other state agencies, water well contractors, recreational organizations, farmers and homeowners on groundwater availability and quality at specific locations around the state. This was supplemented by research and publication of detailed reports and maps on the various aquifers. This brought considerable recognition and respect to the Survey. All told Paul created about 40 publications between 1973 and 1992, including an Educational Series report “The Minerals of Iowa” and a symposium on “The Water Resources of Iowa” for the Iowa Academy of Science, the first of its kind.
In 1982, Paul joined the National Groundwater Association and volunteered to help organize the various state groundwater regulatory officials. With the aid of Christine Reimer in the NGWA office he set up a program for the next convention in Las Vegas. This was successful and he continued the progress in Baltimore and Kansas City in following years. The Association of Groundwater Scientists and Engineers awarded him a recognition plaque at the Minneapolis convention in 1986 for his dedication in promoting the role of regulatory officials and the groundwater community.
In 1984, Paul contacted numerous key engineers and hydrologists and founded the Iowa Ground Water Association. The timing was right and this proved to be a banner achievement. He appointed Professor Jerald Schnoor of the University of Iowa Engineering College as president. The organization grew to more than 300 members and several corporations. The stated purpose was communication, education and research. Paul started a quarterly newsletter and took on the role of editor, which he continued for eight years. The organization has been a real boon for the state and helped formulate state laws and regulations governing groundwater. He received certificates of merit from governors Robert Ray and Terry Branstad.
Paul enjoyed the relationship with the water well contractors and pump installers, and when he retired in 1992, he took up freelance writing and did interviews and stories on them in the Water Well Journal, men like Art Bruinekool, Sylvan Ames, Gary Shawver, Bob Gage, Jim Schumacher, Roger Banks, Jeff Joslyn, Jerry Rewerts, Jim Sass, Dave Schlitzer and Roger Wagner. In 1987, the Iowa Water Well Association gave Paul the Ber Zander Award as the person who had done the most for the industry and the people of Iowa that year. In 1986, the Water Well Journal did a story about Paul’s life and contributions to the industry. Paul continued full time work at the Iowa Geological Survey until age 70, serving 47 years under five state geologists, Trowbridge, Hershey, Tuthill, Grant and Koch.
Over the years the Iowa Geological Survey has been blessed with a strong staff of researchers whose investigations have greatly benefited the state. Paul felt he was fortunate to have a career associated with such a quality organization that reported on Iowa’s natural resources, including groundwater, which supplies about 70 percent of Iowa’s water use.
Outside of his work Paul enjoyed activities with the Iowa City Kiwanis Club, serving as president in 1988 and traveling to the national convention in Seattle. He and his wife, Claudia, traveled to Europe three times to check out their roots in Scotland and Switzerland. When their family was young they toured the country by tent camping in national parks for vacations. His family has always been his greatest pleasure in seeing the grandchildren succeed academically and employed. He also volunteered on the board of the Shelter House for a few years. “That keeps one humble,” he said. Paul was a member of Zion Lutheran Church in Iowa City for many years and participated in the men’s Bible study group affectionately nicknamed “The Lost Boys. He expressed his gratitude for the educational and inspirational Christian fellowship of the pastors and members of the church.
Paul is survived by his beloved wife, Claudia (Ringgenberg) Horick, of more than 54 years; daughter, Joan (Horick) Rasmussen and son-in-law Jon Rasmussen of Mount Vernon; son, Jonathan P. Horick and daughter-in-law Susan (Haedt) Horick, and granddaughter, Jessica Horick, of Minneapolis; grandson, Luke Rasmussen and wife Lesley of Minnetrista, Minn.; grandson, Grant Rasmussen and wife Whitney of Cedar Rapids; granddaughter, Elizabeth (Rasmussen) Grandon and husband Jon of Fargo, N.D.; and sister, Margaret Eileen (Horick) Savage of Pacific Palisades, Calif. A number of cousins are scattered around the country, including Douglas R. Faulds of Edmonds, Wash., Jeannine (Rottschalk) McCullagh of San Diego, Calif., Marianne and John Spedoski of Stanwood, Mich.; and brother in-law, Don Ringgenberg and wife Lana of Pella, Iowa and their children’s families living in Des Moines, Pella and Wichita.
Paul was preceded in death by his parents, Paul J. Horick Sr. and Margaret Carr (Faulds) Horick.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in honor of Paul have been established and may be sent to Eastern Iowa Lutheran Bible Camp (EWALU) in Strawberry Point, University of Iowa Foundation: Ophthalmology Department or Zion Lutheran Church in Iowa City.
The family is deeply grateful to Dr. Jamie Wallace, the staff at Hallmark Care Center and Cherry Ridge Assisted Living for their loving care.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.lensingfuneral.com.
Published Feb. 1, 2013 in The Gazette