James William “Jim” Milliken was born February 21, 1938 in Kaufman, Texas, and died February 26, 2001 in Houston, Texas, after a lengthy fight with cancer.
Jim grew up in the Dallas area and graduated in the last senior class of Mt. Pleasant High School in 1956. He entered Texas A&M in 1956, joined the Corps of Cadets, was a member of the Ross Volunteers, and graduated in 1960 with a BS in Geological Engineering. Jim entered the U.S. Air Force as a 2nd Lieutenant and was sent to France until his honorable discharge in 1963.
After returning to the U.S., he entered the profession that he loved – exploration geophysicist – with Humble (Exxon) Oil Company in Corpus Christi. Jim joined the industry with all the qualities essential to success in his chosen profession: he was smart, inquisitive, innovative, optimistic, determined and schooled in the technical skills of the trade.
After working in Humble’s Houston office for several years, he was transferred to Sydney, Australia, where he explored the many basins of that continent. By 1970 he was ready for other challenges and advancements, and was transferred back to Houston to the research department of Exxon.
In 1973 Jim went to work for Pennzoil as a geologist. Seeing Jim’s potential, Pennzoil moved him forward into new areas of responsibility, training (he was sent to Stanford in 1984 for an MBA), and promotions.
As vice president of exploration, he led the exploration efforts of Pennzoil into deeper and deeper waters of the Gulf of Mexico and into the many emerging international basins of the world until he retired in 1991 as Pennzoil’s Senior Executive Vice President of Exploration and Production.
In 1976 Jim joined AAPG, with three of his Pennzoil colleagues sponsoring him. He served one term as a member of the AAPG Corporate Advisory Committee, and attained 25-year AAPG member status just prior to his death.
Jim is survived by his wife, Louise, and two children – a daughter, Gina Rafferty, and a son, Jeffrey, who inherited his father’s love of the geosciences. Jeffrey works for Marathon Oil and is also an AAPG member.
Jim and Louise traveled the world together and loved to cruise. Between all the travels – foreign and stateside – Jim and Louise found a wonderful safe haven among the pine trees of East Texas where they had a beautiful home on a lake and golf course. Jim loved to golf, fish, play bridge, watch sports of any kind, and hunt birds. Later he became an accomplished artist, using both oils and watercolors. Jim loved his family, friends, pets and last, but not least, the Aggies.
The James W. Milliken Memorial Grant is awarded annually through the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Foundation Grants-in-Aid program to a studying at Texas A&M University. This grant is endowed by the AAPG Foundation through generous contributions from his family and friends.