Air Force
Remember
Air Force Memorial Sites | Image Source: Flickr Creative Commons/smaedli

Edward "Coots" Matthews Obituary


HOUSTON (AP) - Edward "Coots" Matthews, a famed oil well firefighter and part of a trio who inspired the 1968 movie "Hellfighters" starring John Wayne, has died. He was 86.

Matthews and Asger "Boots" Hansen co-founded Houston-based Boots & Coots International Well Control Inc. in 1978, after a 20-year career fighting oil well fires alongside counterpart - and later rival - Red Adair. Boots & Coots said Matthews died Wednesday.

"We owe a tremendous debt to Mr. Matthews for the vision he and Boots Hansen shared when they formed this company and the culture they developed that helped the company endure the hard times as well as the good," Jerry Winchester, the company's president and CEO, said in a statement Thursday. "His imprint on this industry will live forever."

Matthews began his career with Halliburton in 1947 after serving as a U.S. Air Force tail gunner on a B-17 during World War II.

Matthews and Hansen then joined forces with Adair, fighting some of the best known oil well flares, including the "Devil's Cigarette Lighter" in Algeria in 1961. The geyser was so great, astronaut John Glenn reported seeing it from space as he passed over the Algerian desert.

After Iraq's 1991 invasion of Kuwait, Matthews was again called to service, flying to the Persian Gulf to help extinguish some 700 fires in Kuwaiti oil fields.

Matthews retired in 1994 and Boots & Coots was sold to employees.


Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press
Read Full Obituary for Edward Matthews

Guest Book Highlights

If you need help finding the right words, view our Suggested Entries
 

Other obituaries

Published in Houston Chronicle from April 4 to April 6, 2010
EDWARD OWEN MATTHEWS better known to the world as "Coots," one-half of the oil well firefighting team of Boots and Coots, passed away peacefully on March 31, 2010 in the company of his loving... Read Obituary

Search Memorials

- ADVERTISEMENT -

About This Site: Air Force Memorials

This U.S. Air Force memorial site includes obituaries and Guest Books from the Legacy.com network of newspaper and funeral home affiliates.

- ADVERTISEMENT -
- ADVERTISEMENT -