IssuesLocal NewsEnergy Tycoon T. Boone Pickens Dies at Age 91

Pickens put his money where his mouth was, even if things did not always pan out. He leaves behind a massive philanthropic legacy.
September 11, 2019
Energy magnate T. Boone Pickens passed away today at the age of 91.

Born in 1928, T. (Thomas) Boone Pickens had energy in his blood from the moment he took his first breath. His father, also named Thomas Boone Pickens, worked in the oil industry in Oklahoma during its oil boom.

His family moved to Amarillo towards the end of the next decade and the rest — as they say — is history.

Pickens graduated from Oklahoma State University (whose football stadium is named after Pickens) with a degree in geology and began what would become an illustrious career in the energy industry.

The oil magnate’s first company was Mesa Petroleum (called by another name at first). Since then, Pickens’ involvement in various parts of the energy industry exploded. He was a proponent of oil, natural gas, and renewable energy.

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In 2008, Pickens embarked on a mission to build the world’s largest wind farm. It was to be built in the Texas panhandle, but failed a couple of years later.

Pickens is one of many wealthy individuals who signed Bill Gates’ and Warren Buffet’s “Giving Pledge,” promising to give at least half of their fortune away to charity.

Politically, Pickens was a staunch Republican donor. He supported George W. Bush’s campaigns for governor and president, Rudy Giuliani in 2008, and Donald Trump in 2016.

In 2008, Pickens was awarded the Texas Legislative Conference’s “Texan of the Year” award “for his self-funded campaign to reduce the United States’ dependence on foreign oil.”

Pickens is estimated to be worth $3 billion and is known to have donated some $500 million to his alma mater Oklahoma State University.

Known for his witty remarks, Pickens stated in a 2012 TEDxTalk, “I always say, ‘Work eight hours, sleep eight hours. Be sure they’re not the same eight hours.’”

A memorial service is scheduled for next Thursday at Highland Park Methodist Church.


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.