Frank E. Kottlowski was born in 1921 in Indianapolis, Indiana, where his father was a building contractor. During his formative years, he learned the value of hard work as a surveyor, timekeeper, and carpenter for his father. Upon graduation from high school, he entered Butler University to study accounting and business administration, but WW II intervened, and in 1942 he enlisted in the Army Air Corps.
He trained as a navigator and photo-interpreter and was assigned to the Eighth Air Force based in England, flying 30 missions over Europe and earning the Air Medal and five clusters. While in England, Frank was involved with geologists in the photo-reconnaissance group, and they took him along on field trips in the English countryside during breaks in action. He became convinced that someday he would like to learn more about geology.
After the war, he enrolled in Indiana University and took an “exploratory” course in physical geology. It fascinated him and he continued on at Indiana to earn B.A. and M.S. degrees, and in 1951, his Ph.D. His thesis advisor was Dr. Eugene Callaghan who left to accept the position of director of the New Mexico Bureau of Mines. Dr. Callaghan hired Frank to come to Socorro as an economic geologist with the Bureau. It was to become his home, with his wife Florence and their three daughters, for the rest of his life. In 1974, he became director of the Bureau.
Although his early interest was in the coals of Indiana, his position as an economic geologist with the Bureau in New Mexico led him to expand his interests to include petroleum and minerals, although his fascination with coal never waned.
Frank became active in AAPG, serving on the executive committee as Editor from 1971 to 1975 and was a founder of AAPG’s Energy Minerals Division, which he served as President in 1987-88. The Association honored him with its Distinguished Service Award in 1981 and Honorary Membership in 1985.
Frank E. Kottlowski died in Socorro, New Mexico on April 18, 2001.
The Frank E. Kottlowski Memorial Grant is awarded annually to a deserving graduate student through the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Foundation Grant-in-Aid program, and is endowed by contributions to the AAPG Foundation from generous contributions by his numerous friends and colleagues.