Marta S. Weeks-Wulf, a longtime AAPG Foundation Trustee Associate who embodied legendary civic promotion as well as historic philanthropic support to the AAPG Foundation, died Sept. 1 at Hobe Sound, Fla. She was 93.
The daughter of a petroleum geologist and the wife and daughter-in-law of world-renowned petroleum geologists, Marta generously and continuously supported the AAPG Foundation as well as a host of other cultural and humanitarian causes around the world.
Marta Weeks had many careers (often publicly praised as a “Renaissance Woman”) and remained active and passionate about her roles well after the usual retirement age – she was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1992 – directly impacting thousands of lives through her involvement with a host of groups and organizations.
The world knew of her great and lasting work; friends and those close knew that she was, in the words of past Foundation Trustee Chairman William L. Fisher, “as modest as she is generous.”
With AAPG, she had been a Foundation Trustee Associate since 1976. For her, philanthropic engagement with AAPG was her opportunity of “giving back,” she said, and it was a lifetime pleasure.
“I give to AAPG to honor my father, my husband and my father-in-law,’ she said, “all of whom were involved in petroleum geology.”
For Marta, advancing opportunities in education for new generations of geoscientists was an especially significant part of her life.
Her most recent gift to the Foundation was bequeathed just last year – a $5 million annuity that will be distributed through 2029, impacting geoscientists for decades to come.
Indeed, she and her family made many donations to the AAPG Foundation throughout its history, including a $10 million bequest in 2006, the largest gift ever received by AAPG.
At the time, Marta said she hoped her gift would be “an impetus for the Foundation to set its goals high, and that this be a prelude to new horizons and even greater achievements.”
Other gifts of note that she provided include funding for:
- The Foundation’s L. Austin Weeks Undergraduate Grant program, which annually awards undergraduate geoscience students and student-led geoscience associations
- AAPG’s Grants-in-Aid Program, which provides financial assistance to graduate students whose studies have application to the search for and development of petroleum and energy-mineral resources and/or environmental geology issues
The most recent figures show that those two programs in one year provided nearly $400,000 to 258 students and 44 student organizations.
“Marta Weeks was synonymous with kindness and charity – a woman willing and eager to make the world a better place,” Foundation Trustee Chair Jim McGhay said of her passing. “We’ve lost a special and unique friend.
“Marta’s enormous impact on the AAPG Foundation, geosciences and the world beyond are the stories of legend,” he added. “In fact, it is literally impossible to tell our story without focusing on her continuous support through the years, be it emotional, philanthropic or, especially in challenging times, spiritual in nature.
“We were a better Foundation because of her,” McGhay added.
AAPG President Claudia Hackbarth noted about Marta “the successes made possible (and) the lives she influenced through her dedicated work with our Foundation.
“She and her legacy will be remembered and celebrated for generations to come,” Hackbarth continued. “She was, simply and accurately, among the most beloved and effective heroines our profession has ever known.”
A Life of Excellence
Marta Joan Sutton Weeks was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where her father Fredrick Sutton worked as a petroleum geologist. She was raised in both North and South America, and petroleum geology was a constant in her life.
Her first job – at age 13, while residing with her family in Maracaibo, Venezuela – came as she started a small popcorn business for the outdoor oil camp moviegoers.
She attended high school in Salt Lake City, Utah before attending Beloit College in Wisconsin, then graduated with a degree in political science from Stanford University.
Her career then started with summers spent teaching English for the Mene Grande Oil Co. and the Centro-Venezolano Americano in Caracas, Venezuela. Again, the oil business was a regular part of her life.
She then married petroleum geologist Lewis Austin Weeks in 1951, who was the son of famed petroleum geologist Lewis Weeks (see accompanying story), and subsequently resided with him in Utah, Colorado, California and Maryland before moving to Miami, Fla., in 1967.
In 1988 she returned to graduate school in Austin, Texas, earned a master’s degree in theology and in 1992 was ordained an Episcopal priest. Her ministry included chaplaincies at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Panama, the Bahamas, the American Cathedral in Paris, France, and ultimately the Diocese of Southern Florida.
In 2008 she was the first recipient of the L. Austin Weeks Memorial Medal, intended to recognize “extraordinary philanthropy and service directed to advance the mission of the AAPG Foundation.”
In addition to the geosciences, she was passionate in her support of the University of Miami, where she was an advocate for academics, the arts, health care and research.
A complete listing of all her connections, honors and activities would be exhaustive, but a partial listing includes:
- Director of Weeks Petroleum Ltd., Omni-Lift Corp. and the Weeks Air Museum
- University of Miami Board of Trustees (their first woman chairperson, 2007-09)
- Founding member and president of the Stanford Club of Florida
- A member of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church Foundation, board member of the SE Episcopal Foundation and a trustee of Beloit College and Bishop Gray Inns
- A member of the National Advisory Council-University of Utah and the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (both as a chaplain and a Dame)
- Supporter of the Center for Sexuality and Religion
- Her name graces the YMCA building in Miami, a music school building at the University of Miami and the center at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest
- Chairs and scholarships are named for her and exist because of her generosity at numerous schools
And Foundation TAs know very well of her passion for golf and active participation at TA annual meetings – a plethora of stories of her exploits on the links will keep that part of her legacy alive for years to come. In addition to being a legendary philanthropist and woman of vision, she was a friend.
After Lewis Austin Weeks passed in 2005, Marta married Karleton Wulf in 2009. Wulf passed in 2020, and Marta spent her final years residing with her daughter, Leslie Anne Davies, on Jupiter Island.
In addition to her daughter, Marta is survived by her son, Kermit Austin Weeks; granddaughter, Katie Weeks; and grandsons, Bryce and Cole Davies.