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71560obit: Dennis Leonard Halepeska

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  • Rosemary Ermis
    Aug 31, 2013
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      A chance decision to stop and check a gas well Wednesday near Cross Plains cost the life of an Abilene geologist and critically injured his companion.


      A ground-shaking gas blast killed Dennis Halepeska, 37, of 502 Lexington Ave., consultant in the geological firm of Halepeska & Vaughn here.  He was the father of four children.


      Halepeska’s body was found at short while later.  The fatal blast had blown him into a slush pit.


      The cause?  Callihan Interests wasn’t sure, but office manager David Bedford said the blast stripped the threads out of the well valve and blew the head off the “Christmas tree” apparatus on the wellhead.  It apparently wasn’t a case of gas accumulating and exploding outside the hole, he said.


      There is no rig or derrick over the hold, which was completed about a month ago.  The well had been under about 12,000 pounds of pressure.


      Halepeska’s body was taken by Higginbotham ambulance from Cross Plains to the Elliott Funeral Home here.


      Funeral will be held at 9:30 a.m. Friday at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church with the pastor, the Rev. E. J. Johnson, officiating. A rosary will be held Thursday  at 8 p.m. at Elliott’s Chapel of Memories.  The Rev. Johnson will officiate.

      Following services here Friday the body will be taken to Victoria where another service will be held Saturday morning at the St. Mary’s Catholic Church.  Burial will be in the Resurrection Cemetery in Victoria.


      Born Dennis Leonard Halepeska at Victoria on Dec. 27, 1920, he had lived in Abilene nine years.  He came here from Houston.  A Victoria High School graduate, he attended Victoria Junior College two years.  In 1942 he entered the Army Air Corps, serving till 1945.  He graduated from the University of Texas with a DS degree in geology.  Mr. Halepeska married the former Natalie Kmiec at Houston in 1947.


      A member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, he had coached a Little League team for the Knights of Columbus, taking the team into the city finals.


      Last March he had formed the geology partnership with Richard Vaughn, with offices in Crescendo Bldg.  Before then, Mr. Halepeska had been employed 1 ½ years by the Callihan Interests.


      Surviving are the wife; three sons, Gary 7, Robbie 5, and Mark 2; a daughter, Nancy 10; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Halepeska of Victoria; three sisters, Mrs. Alton Bundich of Victoria, Mrs. Lawrence Koautek [Kohutek?] of Ingleside and Mrs. Harry Long of Paris, France.


      Abilene Reporter-News, Thursday, December 18, 1958


      Submitted by Rosemary Ermis