finder John Masters had this to say about Lawrence W. Funkhouser,
the 2004 Sidney Powers Medalist:
geologist, a man of vision and imagination and a leader characterized
by both decisiveness, aggressiveness and good judgment."
words were joined by a host of fellow nominators who nominated and
supported Funkhouser for consideration as the recipient of AAPG's
"a geologist's geologist" appear at least a half-dozen times from
the individual nominators.
recurring theme among the nominations was, as Robert Hackler wrote,
"Larry created within Chevron an atmosphere very conducive to successful
oil and gas exploration throughout the world."
a lion of the profession, Funkhouser got the start of an internationally
recognized career by taking heed of the advice given by other lions
— and he credits AAPG for much of his success.
will receive the Powers Medal on April 18 during the Opening Session
at the AAPG Annual Meeting in Dallas.
in the science began when his older brother (by six years) Harold
would bring home fossils and maps from the University of Miami (Ohio)
and talk about his studies when Larry was still in high school.
after graduating with a master's and launching an also-impressive
career, immediately went to work for Gulf Oil in Venezuela for renowned
geologist Hollis Hedberg.
would come by the house and visit the family," Funkhouser recalled.
"He took personal interest in the people who worked for him."
interest piqued, graduated with a degree in geology from Oberlin
College, where he met his future wife Jean, whom he married after
three years service in the U.S. Air Force.
the Air Force, Funkhouser knew he wanted to proceed with a career
in the science he loved and in the profession with which he was
enamored. He wrote to Hedberg, still his brother's boss, and asked
is only one place to go," Hedberg wrote. "Stanford. The dean is
A.I. Levorsen, and he is the best petroleum geologist in the world."
was an exceptional man — he was one of the most exciting lecturers
I've ever heard," Funkhouser said. "He was intuitive, upbeat, optimistic
and always challenging us to do better."
These are the same phrases nominators also used to describe Funkhouser).
graduation from Stanford and considering his options, he again asked
for the advice of a lion of the profession — this time, Levorsen.
gave specific counsel: Go with the Standard Oil of California, but
with the California Co., its Gulf Coast subsidiary.
thought it to be the best place in that company to be because of
its aggressive exploration attitude, Funkhouser recalled, and because
it was populated with geologists who were making their mark in the
profession — including vice president Ken Crandall, who himself
later became a Powers Medalist and president of AAPG.
was starting his career with the California Co. in New Orleans when
he met and became friends with another lion — Michel T. Halbouty.
always looking for farm-outs, and he'd wrestle prospects out of
me," Funkhouser laughed. "It was Halbouty who pushed me forward
to get more involved with AAPG."
AAPG in 1954.
me on some committees and I got to know a lot of people," Funkhouser
said. "Then I knew only one or two Powers medalists. After a while
I knew about 20 others."
career went into overdrive.
he was appointed vice president-exploration for Standard Oil Co.
of Texas in Houston.
Funkhouser was appointed vice president-exploration for Western
Operations Inc., Chevron's West Coast operating subsidiary, in San
Francisco. He assumed the position of corporate vice president-exploration
in 1968 and was elected a director of Standard Oil Co. of California
named director and vice president-exploration and production, for
Chevron Corp. in 1976, where he guided Chevron's worldwide upstream
activities until his retirement. Funkhouser was responsible for
the multi-million-dollar commitments and manpower deployment that
makes a major oil company a major oil company.
Al Martini and Jim Baroffio, a trio of Chevron superstar explorationists,
had this to say about their boss:
Chevron geologists to seek long-range exploratory opportunities
that could lead to field discoveries. From this program Chevron
discovered and opened up the Overthrust trend in Wyoming, Deep Tuscaloosa
trend of Louisiana, Deep Norphlet trend offshore Mississippi, the
giant Hibernia field and Pembina Fields of Canada and the numerous
oil field discoveries of the Sudan."
that list the Point Arguello Field off California (see EXPLORER
A Century Special Issue).
not only his colleagues who wrote nominations. It was also his competitors.
was vice president of Shell in the Gulf Coast, we were in leasing
competition with Larry's company," fellow Powers medalist and past
AAPG president James E. Wilson wrote. "I think the greatest compliment
that I can give Larry is that he was an extremely able but honorable
that sentiment, following retirement, Jack C. Threet, now chairman
of the AAPG Foundation, wrote "Funkhouser was the consummate competitor
against my alma mater, Shell Oil Company," where Threet was executive
vice president of exploration.
after retirement, Funkhouser and some former EVPs of exploration,
all past competitors, formed an exploration company. While the company
has ceased, they still are known to "do deals" together.
retired from Chevron in 1986 — and became AAPG president in 1987-88.
credits AAPG for a lot of Chevron's successes.
Director Emeritus Fred A. Dix recalls that "when John Kilkenny was
coming in as president (1975-76), he was in Tulsa working on committee
appointments and we were reviewing committee chairmen.
realized that about eight were with Chevron," Dix said, "including
the general chair for the next annual meeting. Fearing that Larry
might feel that this was too much of a burden on the company, John
and I called him.
was refreshing," Dix continued: "That's no problem," Funkhouser
said. "I'm just glad to see our people rise to the top like that!"
counsel to young geologists remains the same as to the others he
has mentored and led over the years: "Get involved with AAPG, learn
about other's successes, attend meetings, keep learning. Use AAPG
as your base. AAPG is the place to get started and to continue your
education and expand your horizons."
said, "Early in my career I had some excellent role models. They
were all AAPG members."
remains active in the AAPG Foundation, having served as its chairman
from 1991-01. He received Honorary Membership in 1984.
remains active at the meetings. John Masters also wrote in his nomination,
"You can find Funkhouser at a meeting by the crowd around him. It
reminds me of (legendary geologist) Wallace Pratt."
Funkhouser remains a lion in the science and the profession of petroleum
the annual meeting in Houston during his AAPG presidency, he was
politely insistent there be some time left vacant in his over-packed
schedule, for a good reason:
are some papers I want to catch."