The Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists
AAPG Bulletin: Volume 26, Issue 6, Part I, Pages 1175 – 1179
(This copy is verbatim of what The AAPG Bulletin reads)
Memorial: Roy James Metcalf (1889 – 1941)
The geologic profession lost one of its most ardent followers, and The Ohio Oil Company a loyal and capable geologist, when Roy J. Metcalf passed away at Houston, Texas, on October 6, 1941. From the time he entered petroleum geology as an employee of the Indian Territory Illuminating Oil Company, April 15, 1917, until his death, he never wavered in his course. Geology was the absorbing interest in his life.
His character and success in no small part are due to his family background and the sterling character of his ancestors.
Michael Metcalf, the first of the Metcalf clan in America, came from England in 1637 and settled at Dedham, Massachusetts. Michael taught the first school to be established at that place, where he was honored by his townsmen for his intellect and integrity. (Family history information was completely wrong due to insufficient research)
Roy's great-grandfather Metcalf was a lieutenant in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. The family moved from North Carolina to….. (This fact they got right though)
….. Greenville, Illinois, where Roy's father, Henry Hill Metcalf, was born on May 28, 1843. Roy's father volunteered for service in the Union Army at the age of seventeen and served throughout the Civil War. Following the war he secured as much education as the local academy offered and became a teacher in the rural schools of Bond County, Illinois.
On September 26 1866, Henry Hill Metcalf married Ellen Sarah Hilliard, a native of Bond County, Illinois. Her father had emigrated to Illinois from Rutland, Vermont, where his father had served in the army of his cousin, Ethan Allen, during the Revolutionary War.
Henry Hill Metcalf, with his family, went west in 1877, and settled near Fort Collins, Colorado, where Roy J. Metcalf, the tenth child in a family of eleven children, was born, July 8, 1889. When Roy was six years old the family moved to Horatio, Arkansas, where the father resumed his work as a school teacher, serving for many years as principal of the Norwoodville School.
Roy J. Metcalf secured his elementary education at Norwoodville. His first teacher, Miss Carrie Dickinson, was a college woman who for many years was a real inspiration to the youth of the community. Roy never attended high school, but being well grounded in the old-fashioned fundamentals taught by his father and Miss Dickinson; he entered the preparatory school of the University of Arkansas, and was graduated in five years with a degree of Bachelor of Science, with a major in geology, in 1913. He like many other young men was undecided what course of study to pursue. The inspiration and counsel of Dr. Drake, then professor of geology at the University, were responsible for Roy's decision to make geology his life's work.
Immediately following his graduation from the University, he accepted a position in the United States Government Schools in the Philippine Islands where he taught for three years, the last two of which he served as superintendent of the schools on the Island of Romblou. His mental alertness and eagerness for knowledge, displayed constantly throughout his professional life, were manifest early, as evidenced by the fact that while in the East he spent his vacations in China and Japan, making the most of his opportunity to acquire first-hand knowledge of these countries.
Still thirsting for a better foundation and background in his chosen profession, he entered the graduate school of geology of the University of Chicago upon his return from the East in 1916, with the intention of securing a master's degree in geology for the purpose of teaching in this field. After several months, however, he gave up the idea of teaching, and on April 15, 1917, he accepted employment in the geological department of the Indian Territory Illuminating Oil Company at Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
On October 5, 1917, he enlisted in the United States Army; was made a Sergeant on June 8, 1918; and was commissioned Second Lieutenant on August 18, 1918.
August 29, 1918, he married Nina Lydia Hamilton at Fayetteville, Arkansas. Their only son, Hugh Edward Metcalf, Sr., was born at Fayetteville, October 4, 1919.
Roy received his honorable discharge from the Army in 1919 and returned to employment with the Indian Territory Illuminating Oil Company, where he remained until February 28 1926. Most of his efforts with the Indian Territory Illuminating Oil Company were in the field geology in Oklahoma. He spent much time in what is now the greater Seminole oil-producing province, doing reconnaissance and detailed surface geology. Even in this early period of his professional career he showed ability to recognize the significance field observations. He was an excellent reconnaissance geologist, and with his broader outlook he was able to fill in the necessary details with skill and dispatch. He was directly responsible for the location of the Indian Territory Illuminating Oil Company's discovery well that opened the Seminole field and started the development that resulted in one of the richest oil-producing areas in the United States.
He resigned his position with the Indian Territory Illuminating Oil…..
….. Company and accepted a position as division geologist under Ray. V. Hennen, chief geologist for the Transcontinental Oil Company in February, 1926. He held this position and exercised direct supervision over the geologic work in Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Colorado until August, 1930. He was located in Forth Worth, Texas, where subsurface studies were carried on under his supervision. In the field he supervised the work of several surface plane-table parties and was well liked by the men under him as well as by those employed him and worked with him. Ray V. Hennen says of him that his sterling qualities, both as a geologist and as a man, were recognized by all who knew him well. He further says, "I made frequent long trips with Roy in the field, checking up on the work of the parties under him, and always looked forward to these trips. He was a little slow to get acquainted with, but once you did so, you found a real friend, and I found he had exceptional ability in his chosen profession, and in addition to that was a very hard and conscientious worker, ever keeping in mind the best interests of the company employing him."
He was elected to membership in Association in 1926.
In August, 1930, the Transcontinental Oil Company was merged with The Ohio Oil Company and Roy was employed as district geologist by the latter company with headquarters at Fort Worth, Texas.
In October, 1931, he was sent to make a reconnaissance study of the oil possibilities of Cuba. After several months there he submitted a comprehensive reconnaissance report on the geology of that island.
In January, 1934, he was transferred to San Antonio as district geologist to study the surface and subsurface geology of that province. In January, 1936, he was sent to Houston as district geologist to cover the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana, in which capacity he was serving at the time of his death. As time went on, those who came in contact with him and his work realized more and more his keen insight into geologic problems and processes and his sterling character and steadfastness of purpose and loyalty to his employer, his friends, and his profession.
He was quiet and retiring by natures but held steadfastly to his well formulated geologic opinions despite the fact that others may have entertained different views.
He was a real friend, a kind father, and a devoted husband. He will be sorely missed by his family, his friends, and his colleagues.
He is survived by his wife, Nina Lydia Metcalf, a son, Hugh E. Metcalf, both of San Antonio, Texas; one sister, Mrs. Nellie Hill of Horatio, Arkansas, who is an honor graduate of the University of Arkansas, and now holds the position of superintendent of schools of Horatio, Arkansas; three brothers, Clyde H. Metcalf, Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps, and recently made Chief of Staff at Quantico, Virginia, Jerry Metcalf, a lumberman in a state of Washington, and Harry Metcalf, of Oklahoma.
His devotion and loyalty to his employers gave little time to publish the results of his geologic study and conclusions, but his article, "Deposition of Lissie and Beaumont Formations of Gulf Coast of Texas," bears witness of his interest in and his comprehension of the problems of deposition. He thoroughly believed that the occurrence of oil was related to the history and environment of deposition. He was also co-author with Ray V. Hennen on a paper on the Yates Field, Pecos County, Texas.
Grateful thanks are extended for all assistance rendered in compiling the subject matter here presented, and especially to Mrs. Nellie Hill, W. C. McMahan, Nina Metcalf, and Ray V. Hennen.
Bibliography of Roy J. Metcalf
1929—"Yates Oil Pool, Pecos County, Texas" (with Ray V. Hennen), The Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Volume 13, Issue 12, Pages 1509 – 1548.
1940—"Deposition of Lissie and Beaumont Formations of Gulf Coast of Texas," The Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Volume 24, Issue 4, Pages 693 – 700.
Frank Rinker Clark
April 6, 1942
Nina Lydia Hamilton Metcalf
1889–1977 (m. 1918)
Hugh Edward Metcalf
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