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Samuel P. Ellison, Jr.

OWEN, EDGAR WESLEY (1896–1981). Edgar Wesley Owen, petroleum geologist, was born on June 20, 1896, in Huntsville, Arkansas, to Oscar D. and Elizabeth (Thornley) Owen. His father, a college history teacher, lost his eyesight, and Ed learned much by reading his father's course material to him at their home in Oregon. Owen obtained his bachelor's degree from Denison University (Ohio) in 1915 and his master's degree in geology from the University of Missouri in 1916. He then joined the Empire Gas and Fuel Company of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. He was employed by the Greenwood Company in 1917 and, after serving in the United States Army briefly in 1918 and 1919, worked for John S. Keys Oil Company, Lawton, Oklahoma, from June 1919 to February 1927. In March 1927 he began an association with Lew H. Wentz Oil Interests and later with the Lew H. Wentz estate that, except for military service from 1942 to 1946, continued until 1955. He was chief geologist, superintendent of land and geology, and superintendent of sales during the liquidation of the Wentz estate. He then served as consulting geologist to Southern Minerals Company and other companies. From 1952 to 1970 he commuted from San Antonio to Austin to serve as special lecturer ("professor without pay") in geology at the University of Texas. He continued to lecture until 1979. He helped to organize the Geology Foundation Councilors for the university and was described in 1959 as the "man who has done more than any other to inspire true excellence in geological education at the University of Texas." His Trek of the Oil Finders (1975) is an invaluable contribution to the study of petroleum geology. Owen was active in many professional organizations and was granted numerous honors, among them an honorary doctor's degree from Denison University (1961) and the Sidney Powers Medal from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (1964), an organization that he had served as secretary-treasurer (1939–41) and president (1941–42). He also had a distinguished military career in World War II, during which he won many honors, including the Legion of Honor medal. Owen was married to Ollie Spencer of McAlester, Oklahoma, in September 1919; they had no children. Mrs. Owen died in 1979, and Owen died in San Antonio on February 24, 1981.

R. H. Dott, Sr., "Edgar Wesley Owen," Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists 65 (September 1981). Samuel P. Ellison, Jr., "Ed Owen, Professor without Pay," University of Texas Geology Department Newsletter 8 (July 1959). J. A. Wilson, "Edgar Wesley Owen," University of Texas Department of Geological Sciences Newsletter 30 (1981).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Samuel P. Ellison, Jr., "OWEN, EDGAR WESLEY," accessed May 19, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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