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James Butler

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Dr James H Butler III Houston and former Midland resident, Dr James H Butler III, 83, died 30 April 2012, in Houston.
He was buried on 3 May after services at the Madrasah Islamiah Centre in Houston.
Dr Butler was born 8 May 1928, in Montclair, New Jersey, to James H Butler Jr and Gertrude, the family residing in Norwood, Mass. for many years.
At the age of 18, Dr Butler served in the US Army engineers just after the end of World War II in the Philippines. Afterwards, he attended the Colorado School of Mines, graduating in 1952, and married Emma Lou Wilson, of Salina, Kansas, in 1952. He worked for the Magnolia Petroleum Company in Jackson, Miss. Dr Butler and family moved to Midland, Texas, in 1956, with the Magnolia Petroleum Company. In 1959, Dr Butler was instrumental in the discovery of the Bakke Field, in Andrews County, Texas. In 1967, he returned to Colorado School of Mines and received his PhD in geology in 1972. He worked in Mexico, returning to Midland in 1973. In conjunction with Gulf Oil, the No. 2 Emma Lou Unit well was drilled in 1977 in the Delaware Basin, achieving a record depth of 29,622 ft. Dr Butler was joined in business by his son James in 1977, and they started operating Permian Basin oil wells in 1980. In 1988, the family company Tri-Star Petroleum Company commenced exploration in Australia, completing in 1994 the first commercial Australian coal seam well, located in the Fairview Field in the state of Queensland, followed by years of development and currently planned conversion into LNG.
Dr Butler is survived by Emma Lou, his wife of 60 years, his son James, his son John, his sister Fay Greene of Boston, and six grandchildren.
The family requests that memorials benefit the .

Published in Houston Chronicle on May 13, 2012
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