Petroleum Pioneer: Chuck Earlougher 1914-2007
For more than 50 years, Robert Charles “Chuck” Earlougher ’36 was active as an internationally recognized leader in the oil and gas industry. He passed away Jan. 17, leaving a legacy of distinguished achievements in the petroleum industry and a history of philanthropic partnership with Colorado School of Mines. He was 92.
Earlougher was a preeminent engineer, entrepreneur and advocate for his profession. A pioneer in oil recovery by water injection, Earlougher applied his expertise all over the U.S. as well as abroad. For 35 years, he served as a consultant to the City of Long Beach, California, where his innovative work helped stop the subsidence of parts of the city caused by local oil production.
Earlougher drew great respect from his peers, for both his professional achievements and his engaging personality. Craig Van Kirk, longtime head of the Petroleum Engineering Department, knew Earlougher for almost 30 years. “When I first met Chuck, I already knew his name well because he was so remarkably accomplished and admired by those of us in industry,” Van Kirk said. “His sharp sense of humor and curiosity made Chuck fun to be around, and we enjoyed many a friendly debate.”
Earlougher was born in 1914 in Kansas, and he earned his petroleum engineering degree at Mines in 1936. He married Jeanne Storer in 1937, at which time he worked for Sloan & Zook Co. in Pennsylvania as a roustabout. Earlougher moved with his wife to Tulsa, OK, in 1938 to purchase Geologic Standards Co., which changed to Earlougher Engineering when he bought out his partner in 1945. In 1970, Stiles-Godsey Engineering Inc. bought the company, and in 1973 it became Godsey-Earlougher Inc. The company was later bought by Williams Brothers Engineering Company, for which Earlougher worked until 1988 when he reactivated and independently operated Earlougher Engineering. He was 86 before retiring completely.
In 1981, Earlougher and his wife established the Jeanne Storer and R.C. Earlougher Scholarship Fund to support non-resident Mines undergraduates majoring in petroleum engineering. As an endowment, this fund will continue to provide scholarships for promising Mines students for years to come.
Earlougher is survived by three children – Robert Charles Earlougher Jr. of Houston, Janet Hawkins of San Diego and Anne Malinowski of Morristown, NJ. His wife, Jeanne, died in 1996.
A lifelong advocate for Mines, Earlougher took pride in the School’s rigorous curriculum and high standards. He considered hard work and sacrifice to be the cornerstones of a good engineer, and his legacy of accomplishment is a testament to his personal commitment to excellence.
The Mines Fund Preserves Mines’ Reputation for
“By far the most important thing Mines gave us was each other,” say Jim ’99 and Louise (Jacobsen) ’99 Plutt, who met while attending Colorado School of Mines.
“But of course, Mines didn’t just seal the fate of our personal lives. In our careers, our Mines educations have helped us with time management and being able to work on multiple projects with short deadlines. We also feel that our problem solving skills and ability to work in teams are much stronger than graduates from other schools.”
The Plutts give to The Mines Fund because they are reminded daily of the value of their educations. And they are not the only ones: over 2,000 alumni give annually to the Fund, which received $1.2 million in unrestricted contributions last year.
“We have always been proud to tell people we are graduates of Mines, and the only way to keep this reputation intact is to ensure that future Mines graduates are as well prepared as we were. We give to The Mines Fund to make sure current and future students have the same opportunities we had,” Jim remarks.
The Fund helps preserve beloved traditions like E-Days and the M Climb, while providing unrestricted funding for academic departments and programs. “It’s important that alumni support the university to maintain its great reputation in the business community,” the Plutts point out. With state funding at an all-time low, these are timely words.
The Plutts also know that they once benefited from the generosity of others, and now they are in a position to reciprocate. “We hope other alumni will understand that philanthropic support helped them while they were in school, and that by supporting The Mines Fund, they can do the same for the next generation,” Louise says. “We also want to help ensure that the School’s reputation is maintained for our future children who might choose to carry on the Plutt tradition,” she adds.
To join the Plutts in support of The Mines Fund this year, please click here.
Noble Energy Pledges $500,000 for Marquez Hall;
Other Recent Gifts to Mines
Noble Energy, Inc. contributed $250,000 toward a $500,000 pledge to support the construction of Marquez Hall, a new, state-of-the-art petroleum engineering building at Mines.
Lonnie L. Abernethy established a charitable gift annuity—his second—with a gift of $100,000. The annuity residuum will be added to the Abernethy Fellowships in Ceramics.
Joseph R. Dunbar ’56 added $100,000 to the Wyoming Scholarship Fund—his third such gift to the fund.
Alcoa contributed $35,000 to support the research of Dr. Moneesh Upmanyu.
Bonanza Creek Oil Company, LLC contributed $25,000 to support the Petroleum Engineering Department.
BP Foundation, Inc. contributed gifts totaling $26,600 to SUMMET (Summer Minority Engineering Training Program), the Mines Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and the Chemical Engineering, Engineering and Petroleum Engineering Departments.
Bequest distributions of $32,488 were received from the estate of Richard J. Carlson ’69 for the Carlson Rugby Fund.
Jim Classen ’57 made a $51,596 gift to the Geology Department in honor of his 50th Reunion.
General Motors Corporation contributed $30,000 to support the Metallurgical & Materials Engineering Department.
Infiltrator Systems, Inc. continued their support of the research and educational activities of Dr. Robert L. Siegrist in the area of on-site and alternate wastewater technologies with recent gifts totaling $46,000.
Landmark Graphics contributed $60,000 to support a graduate fellowship in the Geophysics Department.
The Mikkelson Foundation contributed $30,000 to the Engineering and Applied Technology Program.
MPRL E&P Pte Ltd. contributed $30,000 to support the Petroleum Engineering Department.
St. Mary Land & Exploration Company contributed $25,000 toward their endowed scholarship for petroleum engineering students.
The Viola Vestal Coulter Foundation contributed gifts totaling $73,000 toward undergraduate and graduate scholarships and stipends, the William Jesse Coulter Instructorship in Mineral Economics, the Mineral Economics Professional Development Fund, the Viola Vestal Coulter Instructorship in Mineral Economics, the Coulter Chair in Mineral Economics, and the Mabel M. Coulter Student Health Center.