Hal G. Kuntz passed away from natural causes on Monday, the 18th of August 2014, at the age of 76, and, as he stated so many times, "died a very happy man who enjoyed a full and complete life". |
Mr. Kuntz was born in San Antonio, Texas, in 1937, and was educated at Catholic, private and public schools in San Antonio through high school. He was elected captain of the baseball team while in grade school, played on the football team in junior high school, and was the number one player on the high school golf team. He skipped a grade in junior high school, and as he told it, "my parents thought I wasn't applying myself adequately to my studies, so they decided to make it more challenging". He also had a "paper route" (in the early mornings and mid-afternoons) from junior high school through high school. In addition, at age 17 and while still in high school, he won the 1955 "Texas Junior Amateur Golf Championship", a tournament for all golfers in Texas under the age of 21. Mr. Kuntz was first in the long history of that tournament to win the Title and also the fully paid trip to the Hearst National Junior Amateur Championship in Los Angeles.
Mr. Kuntz, when he was not playing golf in San Antonio and other Texas cities in invitational amateur golf tournaments, spent his summers on his family ranches in Texas and Mexico working cattle with the cowboys on the ranches. For one month in the summer, from the age of 10 through 14, Mr. Kuntz accompanied his parents to Colorado to the Chautauqua Resort just outside of Boulder, Colorado. There he learned to climb rock cliffs and played a considerable amount of tennis and golf.
His further education included a year at The Lawrenceville Prep School in New Jersey, where he was a member of the wrestling and golf teams. While at Lawrenceville, he won the individual title in the 1956 Eastern Intercollegiate Golf Tournament in Greenwich, Connecticut, a tournament for all prep schools in the East.
Mr. Kuntz graduated from Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1960, with a B.S.E. in Geological Engineering, and was immediately drafted into the U.S. Army. While in the Army, he had the opportunity to spend a year in Korea, and also at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, in the 101st Airborne during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and then Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. At Ft. Sill, he found that he could join the Army golf team, and he won the Fourth Army Championship in his last months of his military service, which also qualified him to play in the Interservice Championship in New Jersey. The individual who came in second in the Fourth Army Championship, two strokes behind Mr. Kuntz, was Orville Moody, who four years later turned professional and won the PGA U.S. Open Championship.
After Mr. Kuntz's military service, he joined Mobil Oil Corporation as a geophysicist and was stationed in Oklahoma City, Wichita, Dallas, Corpus Christi, and New Orleans. While with Mobil Oil, he received his MBA in Finance at night school, and also earned his Private Pilots License and Commercial Pilots License.
In New Orleans in 1974, with two other individuals from Mobil Oil, Mr. Kuntz started his own corporation, and nurtured it to become one of the most successful small oil and natural gas exploration and production companies on the Gulf Coast. Mr. Kuntz was mentioned in a 1980 article in Fortune Magazine, as well as in several oil and gas books written about success stories in the industry, including "Black Gold", and "The New Orleans History of Oil and Gas Companies". In 1977, Mr. Kuntz expanded his company to Houston, Texas, and built up an additional office in the "Oil Capital of the World".
He retired from his oil and natural gas company in 2002 at the age of 65, and immediately began working the 50,000 acre ranch in Mexico and the 12,600 acre ranch in Texas, which he had acquired while with his petroleum exploration and production company. He also acquired a Cessna airplane to fly back and forth from his home in Houston to the two ranches.
He is known for his honor, and dedication, and generosity, and great sense of humor. He served as a member of many organizations within the petroleum industry, and served as a director of two banks, a savings and loan company, and the Houston Grand Opera.
One of Mr. Kuntz's favorite enjoyments has been his bird shooting, which has frequently taken him to England to shoot driven pheasants, to Spain to shoot driven red-legged partridge, and to Argentina many, many times to shoot dove. On many of these trips, he has taken members of his family to join him in this great sport.
Mr. Kuntz is survived by his beloved wife, Annette and her children and grandchildren, and his son, Hal II and his children, Hallie Jean and James Wolfgang, and son, Michael, and daughter, Vestita.
Mr. Kuntz's main wish was that he be remembered with the kind thoughts that he had for all his family and friends, and that no sadness comes with his passing.
A celebration of Mr. Kuntz's life will be conducted at two o'clock in the afternoon, on Monday the 25th of August 2014, in the Jasek Chapel of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston. Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception to be held in the adjacent grand foyer.
In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial contributions may be directed to the Hal G. Kuntz Memorial Fund to provide scholarships to young musicians in the American Festival for the Arts. Please make donations payable to the AFA with a notation that it is for Hal G. Kuntz Memorial Fund at www.AFAtexas.org, by phone to 713-522-9699, or to the AFA, 1718A Lubbock Street, Houston, Texas 77007.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Aug. 24, 2014