John Teagle was born on March 10, 1907, at home, at 8418 Euclid Avenue, in Cleveland, Ohio. His life was saved by a brilliant young doctor, Harvey Cushing, after it was discovered the infant had a serious brain injury. He was only two or three days old when Dr. Cushing, fearing that he could not be moved and would soon die, operated on him at home. Against all odds, the operation was a success.
He was named for his grandfather, John Teagle, an English immigrant who had become a leader in the vibrant oil industry then centered in Cleveland. His great-grandfather, Maurice B. Clark, was also a key figure in the Cleveland oil business, having been a partner for six years of John D. Rockefeller in the firm's Clark, Rockefeller and Andrews.
Ironically, the elder Teagle, having married Clark's daughter, was partner in an oil firm that competed with Standard Oil and was eventually forced out of the business and absorbed my Mr. Rockefeller. John's uncle, Walter Teagle (son of the man who had been forced out of business), became president of the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey.
John was one of the earliest students at Hawken School in Cleveland, which began meeting in a rudimentary form in his grandfather’s barn. He graduated from Shaw High School in East Cleveland, Ohio, and from Cornell University in 1929 with a Bachelor of Science degree in geology. At Cornell he was a member of Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, and many other student organizations. He received a Master’s degree in geology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1933, and almost immediately went to work as a geologist for Humble Oil. Later in his career, he was an independent consulting geologist, a vocation which he pursued until the end of his life.
Like most exploration geologists, John’s life was one of travel, primarily in the Gulf Coastal Plain from the Rio Grande to the Florida Everglades. His field work, and there was plenty of it, consisted of the surface mapping for various outcrops, running core-drilling programs, sitting on wildcat wells, and correlating logs in the mapping of subsurface reservoirs within the limits of the Gulf Coast geosyncline.
John was married twice, first to Clara Roby in 1932, and later to Elizabeth Shallcross in 1950. He had a life-long fascination with all aspects of geology, especially petroleum geology. He died in San Antonio on July 17, 1982.
The John Teagle Memorial Grant is awarded annually to a deserving graduate student through the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Foundation Grants-in-Aid program, and is endowed through a generous bequest to the AAPG Foundation, from his widow, Elizabeth Teagle.