Lawrence (Larry) Funkhouser is a petroleum geologist, internationally recognized for his contributions to finding new sources of oil and gas, an achievement to which he has dedicated over a half century of his life. Thirty-eight of those years were spent with Chevron Corporation, where his major goal was the integration of all relevant fields of study – geology, geophysics, geochemistry, paleontology – into a cohesive whole. Born in Napoleon, Ohio in 1921, the young Funkhouser’s interest in geology was sparked by the rock and fossil collection of his older brother, Harold.
This early interest culminated in geologic degrees from Oberlin College in 1943 and from Stanford University in 1948. Funkhouser was also granted an Honorary Doctor of Science degree by Oberlin in 1948. Larry joined Chevron in its New Orleans office in 1948 and rapidly moved through the ranks before being named Chevron’s Vice- President of Exploration in 1969. He was elected a Chevron Director in 1973 and continued as Vice-President Exploration and Production until his retirement in 1986.
Interestingly, some of Funkhouser’s success may stem from an old-fashioned sibling rivalry; his brother joined Gulf Oil Corporation in 1938, eventually becoming the U.S. exploration manager for that organization, while Larry was responsible for similar activities at Chevron. Larry’s career was also boosted by the tutelage of A.I. Levorsen at Stanford (recipient of the AAPG’s third Powers Medal) Funkhouser acknowledges Levorsen’s “passion for finding new reserves” which instilled in him the sense that “exploration was a fascinating treasure hunt, one that could lead to discovery of new energy sources as well as a rewarding and unusually interesting life’s work.’
After retiring from Chevron, Funkhouser was elected President of AAPG in 1987- 88. He later served as Chairman of the AAPG Foundation from 1990 to 2000. He was awarded the Power Medal, AAPG’s highest honor, in 2004. In addition to the Funkhouser Named Grant, he established the Jean G. Funkhouser Memorial Grant in tribute to his late wife.