J. Elmer Thomas Past Presidents

Memorial grant
Grant 1907-1982

John Elmer Thomas was born in 1892 in Toledo, Ohio where he attended public schools. He then entered the University of Chicago where he won a departmental scholarship in geology, graduating in 1912 with a Bachelor of Science degree (with honors) in geology. He died in 1949 in Fort Worth, Texas.

His first job out of college was as a mining geologist in Mexico, but in 1914 he moved to Tulsa to begin a very successful career in petroleum geology. It was at this time that a massive lease play was underway on the Osage Indian reservation northeast of Tulsa. Geologists from around the United States and from Europe were doing surface work taking strikes and dips on Pennsylvanian sediments looking for flattening or better yet, east dips in the regionally westward dipping strata. There was no established forum for these explorers to share their ideas and insights.

On September 8, 1915, Thomas invited about 25 geologists to a dinner in Tulsa where he mentioned the idea of forming a national association of petroleum geologists. It was favorably received and Dr. Charles Taylor, a professor at the University of Oklahoma volunteered to host a conference in Norman in early 1916. The meeting was held and it was decided to meet again in Tulsa in 1917.

It was at the Tulsa meeting that the AAPG was founded and J. Elmer Thomas was elected first President. “Tommie” Thomas, as he was known to friends, stands as a symbol to honor all of the AAPG Presidents who succeeded him, carried forth his good works, and are now deceased.

In Memory of Past Presidents

Term Past-President

1917-18 J. Elmer Thomas
1918-19 Alexander Deussen
1919-20 I. C. White
1920-21 Wallace E. Pratt
1921-22 George C. Matson
1922-23 William E. Wrather
1923-24 Max W. Ball
1924-25 James H. Gardner
1925-26 E. L. DeGolyer
1926-27 Alex W. McCoy
1927-28 George C. Gester
1928-29 R. S. McFarland
1929-30 J. Y. Snyder
1930-31 Sidney Powers
1931-32 L. P. Garrett
1932-33 Frederic H. Lahee
1933-34 Frank R. Clark
1934-35 William B. Heroy, Sr.
1935-36 A. I. Levorsen
1936-37 Ralph D. Reed
1937-38 Herbert B. Fuqua
1938-39 Donald C. Barton
1939-40 Henry A. Ley
1940-41 Luther C. Snider
1941-42 Edgar W. Owen
1942-43 Fritz L. Aurin
1943-44 A. Rodger Denison
1944-45 Ira H. Cram, Sr.
1945-46 Monroe G. Cheney

Term Past-President

1946-47 Earl B. Noble
1947-48 C. E. Dobbin
1948-49 Paul Weaver
1949-50 C. W. Tomlinson
1950-51 Clarence L. Moody
1951-52 Frank A. Morgan
1952-53 Morgan J. Davis, Sr.
1953-54 John E. Adams
1954-55 Edward A. Koester
1955-56 G. Moses Knebel
1956-57 Theodore A. Link
1957-58 Graham B. Moody
1958-59 George S. Buchanan
1959-60 Lewis G. Weeks
1960-61 Ben H. Parker
1961-62 Mason L. Hill
1962-63 Robert E. Rettger
1963-64 John C. Sproule
1965-66 Orlo E. Childs
1967-68 J. Ben Carsey
1968-69 Frank B. Conselman
1969-70 Kenneth H. Crandall
1971-72 Sherman A. Wengerd
1974-75 Merrill W. Haas
1975-76 John E. Kilkenny
1976-77 John D. Moody
1977-78 Edd R. Turner
1986-87 Bernold M. “Bruno” Hanson
1988-89 Norman H. Foster

The J. Elmer Thomas Past Presidents Memorial Grant was established by an endowment gift from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in 1996 to memorialize all deceased past presidents. Each year the grant will be awarded to a deserving graduate student through the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Foundation Grants-in-Aid program, which is funded by the AAPG Foundation.