In Loving Memory
Richard Lee O’Shields, 87, passed away Thursday, February 13, 2014, at his home in Kerrville, TX, after a year-long battle with congestive heart failure. He was born August 12, 1926, in Ozark, AK, and grew up in Okmulgee, OK. He received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Oklahoma in 1949 and an M.S. in petroleum engineering from Louisiana State University in 1951. O'Shields is a retired chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Panhandle Eastern Corporation. He served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II.
While at OU, O'Shields met Shirley Isabelle Washington of Holdenville, OK, whom he married in 1947. They spent a wonderful 63 years together until Shirley’s death in 2011. They had three children, all surviving: Sharon Boles of Del Rio, TX; Carolyn O’Shields of Kerrville, TX; and Rick O’Shields of Phoenix, AZ. In addition, O’Shields is survived by five grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his beloved in-laws: Martha & Joe Lucas of Holdenville, OK and Bettye & Todd Dooly of Houston, TX. He was preceded in death by his parents and three brothers.
O’Shields had a phenomenal career in the oil and gas industry. In July 1953 he joined Salt Water Control, Inc. (SWATCO) as chief engineer and vice president. While at SWATCO, he helped perfect the development of the Mud D-Gasser, the first cascade vacuum device for continuously removing entrained gases from drilling fluids,. In 1955, he developed the first liquid cyclone de-sander to continuously separate sand and grit from drilling muds. O'Shields also developed and patented a liquid cyclone system to remove drilled solids and reclaim barite from weighted drilling muds. All of these systems are in general use on drilling rigs worldwide.
In 1960, he joined Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line (PEPL) Company in Liberal as manager of drilling and production. Part of his duties in this position included heading negotiation teams on producing-property acquisitions. One such acquisition led to the formation of a Panhandle subsidiary, Anadarko Production Company, where he served as vice president. He was named president in 1966, all the while overseeing Anadarko Production Company’s expansion into all of the U.S. and Western Canada.
O’Shields was elected executive vice president of PEPL in 1968 in charge of its Kansas City, MO, operating headquarters. During this period, he conceived and directed the expansion of the Panhandle Eastern supply base from the Anadarko Basin into the Rocky Mountain region. O'Shields became a director in 1969 and the following year he transferred to the executive headquarters in Houston when he became president and CEO of the company. He was named chairman in 1979, stepped down as CEO in 1983, continued as chairman of the board and member of a two-man office of the chief executive until retiring as an active officer on January 1, 1988. During his tenure as CEO, assets grew to over $4 billion and new income increased six-fold. In later years O’Shields continued to serve as a board member on several companies and his local church.
O'Shields served as director of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) for 18 years and chairman for two years. He also served as the director of the American Gas Association, director and chairman of the Gas Research Institute, director of the Southern Gas Association, director of the American Petroleum Institute, director of the Texas Research Institute, and a member of the National Petroleum Council.
During his term as chairman of the INGAA, the group developed gas industry recommendations to cope with the acute natural gas shortage in the winter of 1976-77, from which Congress enacted the Natural Gas Emergency Act of 1977. Several honorary societies have included him among their membership including: Tau Beta Pi, Pi Tau Sigma, and PE-ET (University of Oklahoma).
During his years in Liberal, O’Shields was active in many civic organizations and clubs as well as professional organizations. He and his family were active members of The First Baptist Church. O’Shields referred to his years in Liberal as a pivotal time in his career and family life. Lasting friendships were made and he often shared Pancake Day stories. He returned to Liberal frequently for business and civic functions serving as speaker at several events. His fondness for the community deepened as daughter Sharon Boles lived most of her adult life in Liberal. O’Shields delighted in attending functions throughout the community as his grandchildren Amy and Annie Boles were born and grew to adulthood in Liberal. He was an enthusiastic hunter and enjoyed pheasant hunting with his son-in-law, Stan Boles, on the family farm.
Some of the many accolades O’Shields received included being named a 1989-1990 inductee into LSU’s Engineering Hall of Distinction; he became a member of OU’s Engineering Distinguished Graduates Society in 1992. As a person from humble beginnings, O’Shields endowed engineering scholarships at both universities to give deserving students a leg up in the pursuit of their career goals. In 2005, Richard & Shirley O’Shields were honored with membership in OU’s Seed Sower Society. The Seed Sower Society includes donors whose cumulative gifts to OU total $1 million.
o A memorial service for Mr. O’Shields will be held March 1, 2014, at 11 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Kerrville, TX. Arrangements are through Grimes Funeral Chapels, Kerrville. Flowers are welcome or you are invited to make memorial donations to the Engineering Departments of either University of Oklahoma or Louisiana State University. Condolences for the family and/or personal memories of Mr. O’Shields may be submitted to the Grimes Funeral Chapels Web site: www.grimesfuneral chapels.com.