When it comes to the oil and petroleum industry in the Texas panhandle, there is one name that virtually everyone know - T. Boone Pickens. He passed away today, Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at the age of 91.

Although he was not born in Amarillo, his family moved here in the late 1930's from Holdenville, Oklahoma after the oil boom in Oklahoma had ended. He attended high school at Amarillo High, then went on to Texas A&M on a basketball scholarship. After a scholarship ending injury, he went on to study geology at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University).

After college, he worked in the oil fields and various positions in the industry before striking out on his own. He would end up back in Amarillo and headquartered his business, later know as Mesa Petroleum, downtown. Eventually Mesa would move to Dallas, however, Pickens maintained ties to the panhandle and kept his 100-square mile Mesa Vista ranch outside of Miami. Although he had the $250 million ranch up for sale the last few years, he didn't seem to concerned with selling it, as he was known to spend a lot of time there.

Pickens chaired the Board of Regents of West Texas State University (now West Texas A&M University) in Canyon and in 1987–1988 contributed to the restoration of the administration building known as "Old Main". He was also active in the Republican Party in Potter County. Pickens organized a campaign in the mid-1980s against the Amarillo Globe-News newspaper, for what he claimed was inaccurate reporting about his deals and Mesa. Although the newspaper owner, Morris Communications, replaced its publisher twice during the conflict, Pickens' attempts to have the paper change its editorial policy failed.

Pickens sold Mesa in 1996, and from that point onward, he aligned himself with investments and hedge funds. He became a big advocate for renewable energy, and when asked how an oil man can think of non-oil energy sources, he said he was just pro-energy. He was havily involved in politics which included a run for the presidency in 1988.

The long-time Dallas resident, who had battled back from a series of strokes and further head injuries sustained in a 2017 fall, died of natural causes surrounded by friends and family on September 11, 2019, according to spokesman Jay Rosser. Plans for memorial services in Dallas, TX, and Stillwater, OK, are pending. He is survived by his five children — Deborah Pickens Stovall, Pam Pickens Grace, Michael Pickens, Tom Pickens and Liz Pickens Cordia— and 11 grandchildren and an increasing number of great-grandchildren.

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