SCHENK, Brian William
July 29, 1938 – July 19, 2015
With great sadness the family and friends of Brian William Schenk announce that he died peacefully on July 19, 2015 in Austin, Texas after battling significantly declining health for the past 2 years. Brian was 76 years old. Brian was born July 29, 1938 in Union New Jersey and after the war, ultimately relocated to Texas to attend college and pursue his teaching career. Always a dedicated and excellent student, Brian completed a B. S. Ed and M. Ed, (Texas ‘59, Texas ‘60) with 45 hours on a doctorate.
Brian also loved the Boy Scouts of America and was a boy scout, eventually achieving the distinctive rank of Eagle Scout, which he was extremely proud of.
As a young man he fell in love with everything involving railroads and trains and continued his passion for the railroad throughout his life. He volunteered as a brakeman on the Texas Hill Country Flyer for over a decade. He volunteered the last years of his life as an archival worker and tour guide at the Railroad & Heritage Museum in Temple, Texas, riding Amtrak to and from the museum in Temple two days a week.
Brian Schenk served 37 years as a Social Studies and Government Teacher in the Austin Independent School District, 8 years of which were at John H. Reagan High School. Brian sponsored the Student Council, inspiring hundreds of his students to become future leaders of high character and great integrity. Brian founded the Reagan High School Gymnastics Club at the urging of several talented athletes at the school. It was a sport he would be involved in the rest of his life.
Brian was also one of the founding leaders of the Gymnastics Association of Texas. Brian served that organization as its President, Board Member, Executive Director, and advisory member from1966 until 1994. Brian was honored by the organization as a Life Member in 1992.
The last 23 years of his teaching career, Brian taught Social Studies courses at Austin High School. He and librarian Kay Braziel started the Archives at Austin High, which is now known as the Brian W. Schenk Archive Collection at Austin High. He and four students were co-founders of the Austin High Hall of Honor and Dedication Day, a school-wide celebration which is now a cherished tradition. He served as sponsor for student council, for Hall of Honor, for Junior Historians, and served as gymnastics coach.
He maintained an eager and deeply caring interest in the lives and careers of many of his former students, dozens of whom became life-long friends. In short, Brian Schenk helped more than two generations of Texans truly engage with life, and for that, there are no sufficient words of gratitude. He was and remains beloved, and he will be dearly missed.
Brian is survived by his loving sister, JoAnne Schenk Phillips, and long-time friend, Dianne Luke, of Fort Myers, Florida; Niece Kelli (Phillips) Bechtel, husband Gregory, great-niece Samantha and great-nephew Ian, Nephew David Phillips, wife Christine, great-nephew Dustin and great-nieces Mercedes and Meranda, Nephew Andrew Phillips, great-nephew Dylan and great-niece Kennedy, Nephew Perry Phillips, wife Michelle, great-niece Amber, great-nephews Matthew and Joshua, great-great-nephew (Amber’s son) Owen.
A memorial service for Brian will be held in September in Austin. Plans will be announced through social media and by close family and friends as they are developed. Next week, a memorial website will be posted by the Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Homes of Austin. That site will offer Memorial Service information and provide family and friends the opportunity to read more about Brian and all his interests and life achievements Friends are encouraged to share pictures and memories of their times with him and offer tributes to his impact on their lives. That site can be accessed at: www.wcfish.com
In lieu of flowers, Brian strongly requested that memorial donations be made in his name to the Railroad & Heritage Museum in Temple, TX. If anyone would like to make a donation in Brian’s name please send your donation to:
Railroad & Heritage Museum, (254) 298-5190 Archives, (254) 298-5172 Museum, www.rrhm.org
Craig Ordner, Archivist
Fred M. and Dale M. Springer Archives – SFRH&MS Temple Collection
315 W. Ave B
Temple, TX, 76501
Published in Austin American-Statesman from July 26 to July 27, 2015