2017-07-27 / Obituaries

B. Ray Holifield

Funeral services for Ray Holifield, 79, of Giddings, Texas, were held on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 at Phillips and Luckey Funeral Home in Giddings with Doug Tipps officiating. .

Billy Ray Holifield, passed away on Thursday, July 20, 2017 in Giddings after an extended illness with cancer.

Ray was owner of Holifield Oil, which had its base in Giddings, even though he had oil activities all over the US and foreign countries.

Ray was born in Piggott, Arkansas on October 6, 1937 to Raymond and Hazel Throgmorton Holifield. Ray graduated from Gideon High School in Missouri in 1955, and completed his BS in Education in 1959 at the University of Missouri, and his Masters from the School of Geology in 1964. He and his first wife, Maryanne, had three children: Shirley, Mark and Stephen, who all currently reside near Dallas.

Ray’s highly successful professional life in the oil business is summarized in the book, Gamble in the Devil’s Chalk (written by Caleb Pirtle III), where he is described as an innovative genius of a geologist who was blessed with unbridled optimism.

His hobbies, social life and daily activities centered 24-7 around oil during his entire professional life.

Ray formed Ray Holifield and Associates in 1979, changed the name to Holifield Companies in 1984 and then to Holifield Oil in 1996. At one time he employed over 25 engineers and geologists, with a total staff around 70. At one time, he had several oilfields in Russia. He was a leader in both of the oil booms (1976 &1985) experienced in the Austin Chalk and was known as the “genius of the Giddings field”. He had planned to be around for the third. The second boom was made possible after he and a partner formed BecField Horizontal Drilling Service. Ray developed the tools now used to re-enter medium-radius horizontal wells.

The total production from all wells for which he selected the locations, has exceeded 200,000,000 barrels of oil. He was recognized as one of the best oil finders in the world. He had an ability to identify oil locations where other geologists could not. He was hampered only by the continuous drop in value of a barrel of crude oil, cancer, and chronic back pain.

At one time he was chairman of the University of Missouri Development Board, received the Distinguished Alumus Award, recognized by the U of M College Arts and Science for his service in geological science, and also received the Faculty Alumnus Award from that university. Some of the recognitions were received as a result of the knowledge he passed on to his peers in the many articles and speeches that he provided early in his career.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Gideon High School Alumni Association in Missouri, the University of Missouri Alumni Association, the American Cancer Society or Hospice Brazos Valley in LaGrange, which provided assistance to Pamela Albrecht and Sharon Proske in the last 16 months of his life and helped grant his wish to die at home and not in a nursing home.

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