Bascom Loran Mitchell

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Bascom Loran Mitchell passed away peacefully at his home with his family surrounding him on June 9, 2014. He will be remembered as an honorable gentleman, kind and loving father, and a successful independent oil man. Born in Cisco, Texas, on June 26, 1926, to Bascom Leonard Mitchell and Wildah Corley Mitchell, he grew up in central Texas, moving to Iredell in the 1930s, a small town set on the Bosque River where he and his brother, Donald, had a colorful and adventurous childhood. To the delight of his children and grandchildren, he often shared his stories of Iredell reminiscent of Mark Twain tales. Bascom worked in his parents' local grocery store. The Mitchells were known as helpful, contributing members of the tiny community during the Depression. Leaving Iredell as a young adult, Bascom attended Texas A & M and Tarleton State University before beginning work on seismic crews in Arkansas, Louisana, Texas, and New Mexico. This early work led him to make a career as a geophysicist following the completion of degrees in math and physics from Texas Christian University in 1955. It was in Fort Worth where he met and later married the love of his life, Margaret Anne Jones, in 1951. They had four children and shared a beautiful and long life together for sixty-three years. Bascom began work with Sinclair Oil Corporation in 1949 in Fort Worth. He, his wife, and two children moved to Midland in 1956 where he was district geophysicist for Sinclair. He was later promoted to district exploration manager after his interpretation of seismic data, furnished by Roden Oil Company and Sinclair, and with geological support from Joe N. Gifford, resulted in the discovery of the Crittendon field, in Winkler County, Texas. Not only has the field produced 250 billion cubic feet of gas and 4 million barrels of oil to date from ten different zones, it also had a notorious blowout. Following the explosion, the well fire continued to burn for forty-eight straight days and was visible in Midland over 70 miles away. Red Adair and Boots and Coots came from Houston to bring the well under control. Soon after the merger of Sinclair with Arco, Bascom left the company to form a partnership with Gifford as Gifford and Mitchell in 1969. A successful partnership, Gifford and Mitchell discovered and developed numerous fields principally in the Delaware Basin that they later consolidated into another partnership as GMW in the early 1970s. Following the dissolution of this partnership, he formed a brief partnership with Bryan Pollard. Ever a determined and tenacious optimist, he later continued to develop a significant number of oil and gas prospects on his own. He was also quite active as a member of the Midland community. He served as President of the Midland Arts Association, President of Las Manos in 1973, which is a volunteer organization of the Museum of the Southwest, and President of the Museum of the Southwest during which the Museum launched the first Septemberfest. Later, he served as President of the Midland-Odessa Symphony & Chorale. These organizations reflected his other passions in life - art and music. He painted avidly throughout his adult life and exhibited his work with the Midland Arts Association in the 1960s and 70s, winning awards multiple times, and selling his work in regional galleries. His commissions in Midland include works for the First Baptist Church, St. Luke's United Methodist Church, and a portrait of the rocket scientist, Robert H. Goddard, for the dedication ceremony of Goddard Junior High School in 1967. Also a musician, he played the piano, trumpet, drums, vibraharp, and the harmonica. During his years working on a seismic crew in the 1950s, he moonlighted in a jazz band, and frequently played for wedding receptions, notably at the historic Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells. Under Governor Bill Clements, from 1980 - 1982, he acted as Midland representative to the Friends of the Governor's Mansion for architectural preservation. He has also been a member of the Petroleum Club since 1978. Bascom is preceded in death by his granddaughter, Kelly Rogers. He is survived by his loving wife, Margaret Anne; and their four children, Leonard Mitchell and his wife, Karen, of Loch Lloyd, Missouri, Melissa Rogers and her husband, Bill, of Midland, David Mitchell and his wife, Joan, of Redwood City, California, and Beverly Mitchell of Dallas; his brother, Donald Mitchell of Fort Worth; his grandchildren, Sabrina Mitchell Zunker of Denver, Colorado, Curtis Mitchell and his wife, Danyel, of Burlingame, California, James Corley Mitchell of Nashville, Tennesee, and Katie Rogers of Dallas; and his great grandchildren, Zoe Ann Zunker and Canyon James Mitchell. A viewing is scheduled on Thursday, June 12, from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. at Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home, 3800 N. Big Spring Street, Midland, Texas. A memorial service will be held at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 3011 Kansas, on Friday, June 13, at 1:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to either the Museum of the Southwest, 1705 W Missouri Ave, or Midland-Odessa Symphony & Chorale, P.O. Box 60658, Midland, TX 79711. Arrangements are under the direction of Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home & Crematory of Midland. Online condolences may be made at http://www.npwelch.com.
Funeral Home
Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home
3800 N Big Spring St Midland, TX 79710
(432) 550-5800
Published in Midland Reporter-Telegram from June 11 to June 12, 2014
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