L. Bruce Forney, 89, passed away in Houston, Texas, on the 11th of June 2014. He was born in Houston on the 28th of May 1925, the first child of Laurence Joseph Forney and Florence Ferguson Forney.
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Bruce, a third generation Houstonian, grew up in the Woodland Heights area of Houston and attended Reagan High. He graduated with a BS in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M College in 1948 (Class of '46), where he was a member of the Texas Aggie Band. His college education was interrupted by two years of honorable service (1944 - 1946) in the U.S. Navy Air Corp as an Aviation Radio Technician.
Upon graduation, Bruce began his professional career as a Field Engineer with Schlumberger Well Surveying Co. He subsequently attended the University of Houston and graduated in 1951 with a MS in Geology. He married the love of his life, Susan Calnon, on the 2nd of February of that same year, moved to Lafayette, Louisiana and began his family life and extraordinary career as an exploration geologist.
Career company affiliations include Sohio, P. R. Rutherford, Huffco, Williams Exploration, along with a few stints as an independent consultant. Bruce ultimately retired as President and CEO of Prairie Producing Company, after successfully building the company, taking it public and later selling to Union Oil of California in 1990. Bruce's accomplishments as an exploration geologist were highlighted by a wide array of significant oil and gas field discoveries in East Texas, onshore and offshore the Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coast, the Permian Basin, Colorado, Wyoming, Alaska, Canada, and most notably Indonesia. Bruce was a founding member of the Lafayette, Louisiana Geological Society and member of AAPG, TIPRO, IPAA, Houston Geological Society and Houston Petroleum Club.
Bruce spent his professional life in Houston, Texas, with the exception of four years (1950 - 1953) in Lafayette, Louisiana, and five years (1975 - 1980) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was an active civic leader, serving as Chairman of the Spring Branch Village Fire Department (1964 - 1972) and as a Bunker Hill Village City Councilmen (1967 - 1971). Bruce served on the Board of Stewards at Memorial Drive United Methodist Church during the 60s and early 70s, where he also volunteered as Boy Scout Leader and Sunday school teacher. Memberships included the Century Club of Texas A&M, Alumni Association of the University of Houston, Chapelwood United Methodist Church and Friends of the Spring Branch Memorial Library.
Bruce lived an active life filled with purposeful ventures and his recreational time was devoted to creative projects, the outdoors and his avid reading habits. Upon retirement, Bruce wrote two chronicles of his life experiences, traveled extensively domestically and internationally, supported community libraries through volunteer work and spent much of what he felt was most valuable - time - on his loving family. He is greatly missed by those that truly knew and loved him.
Bruce was preceded in death by his parents and eldest son Michael. He is survived by his wife, Susan; his sister, Bonnie Ahrens; five children, Steven, Tom, Larry, Kathleen and Julia; nine grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A memorial service is to be conducted at eleven o'clock in the morning on Sunday, the 13th of July, in the Jasek Chapel at Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive, in Houston.
Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception to be held at the office of Forney Construction, 8945 Long Point Road in Houston.
In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial contributions may be directed to Camp Aranzazu, 5420 Loop 1781, Rockport, TX 78382 (www.camparanzazu.org).
Published in Houston Chronicle from June 15 to June 18, 2014