Detlef Warnke Passes Away at 80

  • October 27, 2008

Detlef "Dietz" Warnke, a professor of geology at Cal State East Bay for the past 35 years, died of cancer Friday, Oct. 24. He had continued doing research through the Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP) since 2006. He was 80.

Funeral services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 30) at Skylawn Memorial Park, Highway 92 at Skyline Blvd., San Mateo.

Warnke, a previous chair of the Geology Department, served on numerous committees and on the governing board of the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.

"Dietz was a world-renowned researcher in paleoceanography and paleoclimatology," said Jeffery Seitz, chair of Cal State East Bay's Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. "When Dietz announced that he was retiring, we were relieved that he would continue to FERP. We - faculty and students in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences - continued to benefit from his wisdom, institutional memory and commitment to research."

Born in Germany, the longtime faculty member was recipient of numerous grants and author and co-author of more than 50 publications. Warnke convened and organized sessions at national and international scientific meetings and conducted research that took him around the world, including Antarctica, on eight research cruises.

"Dietz's achievements in research are paralleled by his accomplishments in instruction," Seitz said. "He was highly regarded by his undergraduate and graduate students for his knowledge, insight and his emphasis of research in education. Dietz has been the primary thesis advisor for a dozen graduate students and served as an examination committee member for many more.

"Most recently, one of his graduate students was awarded the Mary Harrington Thesis Award at CSUEB in 2007. That award recognizes the outstanding university thesis."

Warnke is survived by his wife Holly; sons, Erik and Chris; daughter-in-law, Sue; and grandchildren, Erik, Lia, Amber and Kane.

His family requests donations be made in memory of Warnke to the Geology Program at Cal State East Bay for providing student scholarships. A video tribute to Warnke is posted at Friends, former colleagues, and students are encouraged to share memories of Warnke at an online obituary site dedicated to him at


  • Print This Page
  • Bookmark and Share