Last month’s column discussed the brevity of life, inspired by Oliver Burkeman’s book, “Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals.”
Four thousand weeks is the number of weeks in an average lifetime today. The thrust of the book is that time is precious, we are mortal, and living life well is about choosing wisely what you work to accomplish, rather than simply trying to get more and more done.
Just as we were going to press with the January issue of EXPLORER we received news that past AAPG President Peter R. Rose had died.
Last Saturday I attended Pete’s memorial service in Austin, Texas. There, along with his family, friends and several AAPG past presidents and other leaders, we remembered a man who had a significant influence on many and left a legacy to our industry.
It will surprise no one that Pete was above average – he lived just shy of 4,564 weeks. As we filed to our seats in the sanctuary of Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church, we each received a small pamphlet of Rose’s Rules – maxims that Pete compiled and that were meaningful to him – and No. 78 stood out to me: “You’ll never get out of this world alive.”
A Memorable Meeting
I first met Pete, then AAPG president-elect, in Dallas, Texas. We met in the offices of AAPG President Pat Gratton together with Rick Fritz, executive director at the time. It was my job interview for the director role of AAPG’s newly established policy office in Washington, D.C.
Don Juckett, a veteran of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Senior Executive Service and before that Phillips Petroleum, and I were the two candidates brought to Dallas to meet with Pat, Pete and Rick. Don was asked to open the office and several months, later I joined him part-time to assist him, with the idea that I would take over the position several years later.
Early in his tenure as AAPG president, Pete visited Washington, D.C. to meet with policymakers and help establish AAPG’s presence as a resource to which they could turn for relevant scientific and industry information.
Based on what I believe was a recommendation from one of Pete’s acquaintances, he asked Don to arrange a meeting for him with then-Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.). It turned out to be a memorable meeting. Pete – never at a loss for words – was rendered silent as Rep. Bartlett unleashed a volley on the real dangers facing the nation because of peak oil, his staff scurrying to pull large posters filled with charts and graphs out of his office closet to illustrate his points.
“I’ve never experienced anything like that,” I said as we left the meeting. Rep. Bartlett had been going full-bore, well beyond our allotted time, and the only reason the meeting concluded was because he was called to the House floor for a vote.
Pete looked at me, and then he looked at Don, “I seem to recall you recommending that I not take this meeting, and that I instructed you to make it happen.”
“That’s right,” Don replied.
“I should have listened to you. I will next time,” Pete said, shaking his head and smiling as we walked down the hallway.
In 2007, Pete co-chaired the Reserves Symposium that AAPG and SPE, along with other endorsing organizations of the Petroleum Resources Management System, held in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was beginning the process of review and revision of its reserves reporting rules and ended up doing so in 2008.
The issue of ethics in reserves reporting was a topic that Pete revisited regularly during the committee’s work on the program delivered in Washington, D.C. As he put it in Rose’s Rules No. 107: “If you honor what’s ethical, chances are you won’t have to worry about what’s legal.”
The topic of ethics continued to interest him, and in 2015-17 he was named AAPG’s Distinguished Ethics Lecturer, presenting a talk entitled, “Cognitive Bias, the ‘Elephant in the Living Room’ of Science and Professionalism.”
An avid reader and writer, Pete was interested in many topics. He ended his AAPG presidential columns with a book recommendation each month. I recall one being “The Skeptical Environmentalist,” by Bjorn Lomborg, which broadened my perspective on how to view complex issues.
He remained professionally active, too. Peter Carragher, managing director of Rose & Associates, LLP, called in early December to tell me that Pete was in failing health but had been hard at work on a paper for an upcoming meeting.
The Final Rule
In her homily, Rev. Stacy Ikard touched on Pete’s reading and analytical mind. As he faced the end of his life, he had many questions and problems that he was working through. She was there with him, as he probed and wondered.
What a blessing it was for him to have this time to prepare for the end, she said to me after the service. She is so right. Would that we all have that opportunity.
Meticulous to the end, Pete crafted his own memorial service, selecting the Bible verses to be read, and by whom, the hymns that would be sung, compiling Rose’s Rules. He was reviewing the order of service with Rev. Ikard – the last time she saw him – and his parting words to her brought to my mind such a vivid image of Pete Rose:
I cannot tell you how many times at an AAPG function Pete would grab me for a “chat,” and no matter whether the message was an atta-boy or a correction, there would be a smile playing around his lips, his eyebrows would be pulsing up, as he looked over his glasses at me to emphasize his point, and there would be a twinkle in his eyes.
When he was done, he’d pat me on the back, encourage me to keep persisting, smile and stroll away into the crowd.
That’s the image in my mind as I hear him tell Rev. Ikard, “Stacy, keep it light! Life is such a gift!”
Life is such a gift – it didn’t make his printed list, but I’m adding that as Rose’s Rule No. 112.