In Passing: Dale Beeks (1951 – 2023)

Dale Beeks, the prolific collector, researcher, and dealer of early American surveying equipment, of Mt. Vernon, Iowa died in late 2023.


Recognized and respected as an authority on early surveying equipment, Dale also collected microscopes, telescopes, medical devices and other philosophical equipment.  Dale was an encyclopedia, always available to share his vast knowledge.


A man of many talents, Dale was also an accomplished musician, playing several instruments. He was a member (and welcome stand-in) of several eastern Iowa musical groups.


A celebration of Dale’s eclectic life was recently held in Mt. Vernon. Several musical groups that Dale played with were featured. The Celebration was attended by several hundred of Dale’s family, friends, and admirers. Among those in attendance from around the United States were several noted collectors, researchers, and dealers of early American surveying equipment.

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In the photo (l to r) are Dr. Richard Elgin (MO), Bob Heggan (FL), Mickey Shackelford (OH), Rich Leu (IA), Dave Ingram (VA) and Russ Uzes (CA). In addition to attending Dale’s Celebration and reflecting on his lifetime contribution to surveying history, the group spent the weekend discussing their respective areas of expertise related to early American surveying equipment, telling equipment and collecting stories and toasting their late friend, Dale.


About the Author

Dr. Richard L. Elgin, PS, PE

Dr. Richard Elgin, PS, PE is a surveying practitioner, educator, researcher, collector and author. He codeveloped the “ASTRO” software products and coauthored the Lietz/Sokkia ephemeris. He wrote The U.S. Public Land Survey System for Missouri and Riparian Boundaries for Arkansas and Shoulda Played the Flute (a memoir of his year flying helicopters in Vietnam) and Riparian Boundaries for Missouri (in press). He owns a large collection of early American surveying equipment, rides a Moots bicycle and drives an Alfa Romeo 1600 GT Junior. Dick’s articles have appeared in “American Surveyor” for many years. He may be reached at: