Paul M. Strunk, the 2017 recipient of the AAPG Foundation’s highest honor, the L. Austin Weeks Memorial Medal, passed away on June 17 at the age of 84.
He is being remembered by family, colleagues and fellow AAPG and AAPG Foundation members for a long and illustrious career as a successful explorationist and an ardent supporter of the Association, the Foundation and geoscience education.
“It was with great sorrow that I learned of Paul’s passing. We join his family and friends in remembering a remarkable man and a remarkable leader,” said AAPG Executive Director David Curtiss.
“I had the great fortune of working with him when he served as a Trustee of the AAPG Foundation. Paul was always positive, and even when making a serious point, was quick with a smile,” he added.
A Lifetime of Generosity
Paul and his wife Deana have been donors to the AAPG Foundation since 1994, when he joined the Trustee Associates, a distinguished group of donors who provide support for the Foundation’s fundraising efforts, as well as providing counsel and leadership to the Trustees.
Curtiss noted that, when the Foundation Trustees launched the Military Veterans Scholarship Program four years ago, “It grabbed Paul’s interest and attention, and he and his wife, Deana, provided the seed funds to launch this new endowment.”
In recognition of their generosity and dedication to the program, the Trustees last year renamed it the Deana and Paul Strunk Military Veterans Scholarship Program.
Strunk was selected as a member of the Foundation’s Members of the Corporation in 2000 and appointed as a Trustee to the AAPG Foundation in 2011. During his time as a Trustee, Strunk also served on the Foundation’s Audit Committee.
Strunk stepped down from the Board of Trustees in 2016 and became a Trustee Emeritus.
Strunk the Explorationist
Strunk was CEO of American Shoreline in Corpus Christi, Texas.
He received his bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University in 1956, and began his career as a geophysicist with Pan American Petroleum Corp. One year later he returned to KSU for his master’s degree.
He was then transferred to Corpus Christi, where he worked as a geologist for Pan American. In 1960 he joined Skelly Oil Company as an exploration geologist, and in 1964 he became an independent geologist. He and an associate, J.B. Clark, formed Fontana Oil and Gas in 1974. Fontana merged with Centura Inc. in 1976, and Strunk continued as president.
In 1978, he left Centura to start American Shoreline Inc., a successful oil and gas exploration company, which now includes Amshore US Wind, a pioneering independent Texas wind energy development firm.
During his career in oil and gas exploration, Strunk was involved in the discovery and development of more 36 oil and gas fields, most of which were in the Gulf Coast area of south Texas.
Service to AAPG
He has been an active Member of AAPG since 1960, serving on numerous committees and engaging in several leadership roles, including:
Served as a two-term delegate in the House of Delegates
Served on the Advisory Council
Served on the Insurance Committee, Twenty-First Century Committee, Committee on Committees, Environmental Geology Committee, Headquarters Management Committee and Committee on Investments (chair in 1993-97)
Held the office of AAPG treasurer (1988-90) and was a candidate for president (1994-95)
Was a founding member of the Division of Environmental Geosciences and a member of the Division of Professional Affairs
Received the AAPG Certificate of Merit in 1991 and the Distinguished Service Award in 1993
Strunk also has held numerous committee positions and offices for the Corpus Christi Geological Society and the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, American Institute of Professional Geologists and Society of Independent Professional Earth Sciences, and received the Don R. Boyd Medal for Excellence in Gulf Coast Geology in 2007.
Also, along with his generous support for the AAPG Foundation and its programs, Strunk also actively supported the geology program of his alma mater, KSU. Specifically, the Strunks contributed to the geoscience building program, the Strunk Geology Fellowship and other geology funds. He served on the KSU Advisory Council for the Department of Geology and was a member of the Presidents Club.
“He built a legacy in his professional life, and he built a legacy in his volunteer service, both for AAPG and the AAPG Foundation,” said Curtiss.
Strunk chose not to have a funeral. In lieu of flowers, Deana and the rest of his family ask that donations be made in his memory to the Deana and Paul Strunk Military Veterans Scholarship Program.
Editor’s note: Special thanks to Tamra Campbell for her contribution to this article.