In Memoriam: Michael Schoenecke


Michael Schoenecke

Former PCA-ACA Executive Director and cofounder of the Southwest PCA-ACA Michael Keith Schoenecke died December 16, 2020, following a long illness.  Mike was born March 17, 1949, in Oklahoma City.  He received a B.A. (1971) and an M.A. (1974) in English from Central State University in Edmond, Oklahoma (now the University of Central Oklahoma).  He received his Ph.D. in American Studies from Oklahoma State University in 1979.

Mike taught in the English Department at Texas Tech University from 1981 until his retirement in 2014.  He founded the Department’s Film and Media Studies program.  He received the Texas Tech President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1996 and became an inaugural member of the Texas Tech University Teaching Academy in 1997.

Mike was a key figure in the history of the Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association.  Most notably he served as Executive Director from 2002 to 2007 and again in 2012.  He guided the Associations through their moment of greatest vulnerability following the retirements of Ray and Pat Browne and provided crucial continuity and stability.  Mike also served as PCA Endowment Director from 2007 to 2011.  He was a Vice President of PCA from 1989 to 1990 and a member of the ACA Board from 2001 to 2002.  He was a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Popular Culture.  In his honor, the PCA Endowment provides numerous Michael Schoenecke Travel Grants every year to support attendance of graduate students at the annual PCA national conference.

Mike was a cofounder in 1978 of the Southwest and Texas Popular Culture Association (now the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association).  He served that organization for many years as Executive Director, Program Chair, Vice President, Sports Area Chair, and Film Area Chair.  To honor Mike’s landmark contributions to SWPACA, in 2015 the organization welcomed the first class of Fellows in the newly established Michael K. Schoenecke Leadership Institute, a two-year training program to prepare SWPACA members for future leadership roles in the organization.

Mike published extensively on film, sports, music, and other topics.  His books include Film and Literature: A Comparative Approach to Adaptation (edited with Wendell Aycock) (Texas Tech University Press, 1988); The Greenwood Encyclopedia of World Popular Culture [Volume 1]: North America (editor) (Greenwood Press, 2007) (the Encyclopedia received the 2008 PCA Ray and Pat Browne Award for Best Reference/Primary Source Work); and All-Stars & Movie History: Sports in Film & History (edited with Ron Briley and Deborah A. Carmichael) (University Press of Kentucky, 2008).  Mike’s articles and book chapters include “William S. Hart: Authenticity and the West” (in Shooting Stars: Heroes and Heroines of Western Film, edited by Archie P. McDonald) (Indiana University Press, 1987); “Harry Chapin and American Culture” (Popular Music and Society, 1988); “James M. Stewart: An American Original” (in Back in the Saddle: Essays on Western Film and Television Actors, edited by Gary A. Yoggy) (McFarland, 1998); and “Bobby Jones, Golf, and His Instructional Reels” (Film & History, 2005).

Mike married Deborah Joan Cole on June 20, 1970, in Oklahoma City.  He is survived by Debby, their daughters Heather Disarro (and her husband Nate) and Salah Gibbons (and her husband Brett), four grandchildren, his sister Jan Baccus (and her husband Garrett), and numerous nieces and nephews.  Mike lived in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Stillwater.  View the video of Mike’s memorial service.

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