Jack E. Earnest died on Friday, the 9th of November 2012, after enduring nine years of COPD (emphysema/bronchitis). He was married to his wife Billie Jo (B.J.) for 56 years until her death in 2009. He is survived by his daughter Laura Earnest Prescott, her husband Melvin E. Prescott, Jr., his son Jack E. Earnest, Jr. (Jay), his wife Jessica and three grandchildren, Ellen Mae Prescott, Melvin E. Prescott III and Jack E. Earnest III.|
He was born in Dallas, Texas, on the 18th of June 1928, and grew up in Oak Cliff during the Great Depression, living with his divorced mother, great grandmother, sister and brother. He delivered newspapers and sold magazines door to door (Liberty, Saturday Evening Post), then had a stock clerk job at the local Wyatt food store, worked at the Starlight Operetta as an usher, served as a temporary mail clerk at the Terminal Annex after school and held summer jobs at the Internal Revenue Service. He attended James Bowie and Adamson High, graduated at age 15, and received a Founder's Scholarship at Vanderbilt University. While at Vanderbilt, he participated in freshman football and baseball, intramural sports, was a member of the Vanderbilt Band and played bass fiddle in his own dance band. He was also a member of Kappa Alpha fraternity, Student Honor Council, Ace Club, and worked on the staffs of the campus newspaper and yearbook. After two years he returned to Dallas and went to work at Magnolia Petroleum Company (now Exxon-Mobil). At age 18 he graduated from Dallas College (S.M.U.) and then attended S.M.U. Law School.
He enlisted in the United States Army Reserve in 1948 and served as an enlisted man in various units attaining the rank of Master Sergeant, was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in September, 1953 and assigned to the 847th CIC Detachment. In June 1956, he was assigned to the 488th Strategic Intelligence Detachment until 1962, achieving the rank of Captain. This latter assignment was primarily concerned with providing intelligence on Russian and other countries' status in exploration and production of oil and natural gas for use with other intelligence units in preparing and updating National Intelligence Summaries.
He was admitted to practice before state courts in Texas and New York, a number of Federal District Courts and Circuit Courts of Appeal, the U.S. Court of Military Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. He has been a member of Hella Temple Shrine of Dallas, Royal Order of Jesters, Dallas, WeeBurn Country Club of Darien, Connecticut, Lakeside Country Club, Houston, Ramada Club, Houston, Houston City Club, Kappa Alpha fraternity, University Club of Houston (Board of Governors), Southern Gas Association and Interstate Natural Gas Association (Director), Natural Gas Supply Association (former Chairman), American Bar, Federal Energy Bar, Texas, Dallas, Houston and New York State Bar Associations, and was a Director of Destec Energy, Inc.
During his long career in energy matters, he worked a) with the offshore operator committee during the early days of offshore drilling, the shutdown and reopening, legislation and regulatory effects; b) oil shale matters in Colorado's Piceance Basin, such as securing water rights and rock disposal areas, and regulatory matters at the Rifle Colorado experimental plant and mine; c) the Trans-Alaska Pipeline project to move oil from the North Slope to Valdez, mainly attempting to secure rights of way and legislative support for the pipeline; d) congressional hearings and drafting of significant portions of the Natural Gas Policy Act and many of the FERC matters flowing therefrom. During his 33 year career with Mobil, he served as Associate General Counsel with responsibility for legal matters affecting exploration, production and pipelines in the U.S. and Canada and as Vice President - natural gas for the U.S. and Canada and worldwide. In 1979, he became President of Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company and in 1981 became General Counsel of Texas Eastern Corporation. Since 1983, Mr. Earnest served as counsel for various clients, as a mediator or arbitrator, and as an expert witness and consultant in energy matters.
He has been an avid tennis and golf participant throughout his lifetime, although after age 70 he quit playing much tennis and concentrated on golf. He was very proud of having shot his age for every year starting with age 71 through age 79 and his four holes in one. Jack and B.J. are now together, playing the back nine at Lakeside Country Club.
In Houston, friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from five o'clock in the afternoon until seven o'clock in the evening on Thursday, the 15th of November, in the parlor and grand foyer of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive.
A funeral service is to be conducted at one o'clock in the afternoon on Friday, the 16th of November, in the chapel of Chapelwood United Methodist Church, 11140 Greenbay. Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception at a venue to be announced during the service.
In Dallas, a funeral service is to be conducted at two o'clock in the afternoon on Saturday, the 17th of November, in the Abbey Chapel of Restland Cemetery, 13005 Greenville Avenue, where the graveside service is to immediately follow.
In lieu of customary remembrances, contributions in Jack's memory may be directed to the Shriners Hospital for Children, 815 Market St., Galveston, TX, 77550-2725.
Published in Houston Chronicle from Nov. 11 to Nov. 14, 2012