Born on February 10, 1904 in Spencer, Iowa, Kenneth H. Crandall graduated from Stanford University with distinction in 1924 and that same year accepted a job with the U.S. Bureau of Mines in Wyoming as a junior petroleum engineer.
In 1925, he began a 44-year career as an exploration geologist with Standard Oil of California (now Chevron) and its subsidiaries. During the ensuing decade Crandall was assigned surface geologic mapping and stratigraphic projects across Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, the Texas Panhandle, West Texas and southeast New Mexico.
In his career publishing debut, Crandall’s paper, “Permian Stratigraphy of Southwestern New Mexico and the Adjacent Parts of West Texas,” published in the BULLETIN in 1929 was the first to present clearly the Capitan reef’s off-reef and back-reef facies to explain the area’s stratigraphy.
In 1941, Crandall was appointed superintendent of exploration for Standard of California’s Gulf Coast subsidiary, The California Company. In that role, he became an early advocate for merging geological and geophysical data to obtain the best interpretations possible. This pioneering recognition of the benefits of teamwork in exploration led to many significant discoveries in Mississippi and Louisiana.
In 1950, Crandall was named Vice-President, Exploration, for Standard of California and was elected to the Company’s Board of Directors in 1962. He was responsible for Standard’s worldwide exploration program for 19 years until his retirement in 1969.
Following his retirement, Crandall became a part-time geology professor at Stanford University and a consultant. In the late 1960s and the 1970s he was especially active in AAPG affairs, serving as AAPG’s 53rd president. He later became a Foundation Trustee and played a key role in the growth of the AAPG Foundation during his 10 years in that capacity. Kenneth H. Crandall was honored with AAPG’s highest award, the Sidney Powers Memorial Medal, in 1978. He died in 1987 at the age of 83.