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T. Boone Pickens (1928–2019), legendary oil tycoon

by Kirk Fox

Colorful Texas businessman was a generous philanthropist.

T. Boone Pickens was a legendary oil tycoon known for his colorful personality and generous donations to worthy causes. Born in a small town in Oklahoma, he spent most of his adult life in Texas. He founded Mesa Petroleuem, which became one of the largest independent oil and gas companies in America. The 1980s corporate raider became an advocate for energy independence. He gave away more than $1 billion to philanthropic and educational causes including his alma mater Oklahoma State University, Meals on Wheels, hospitals, medical centers, kids at risk programs, and the military.

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Died: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 (Who else died on September 11?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 91 from natural causes.


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Why he gave away so much of his money: “I like making money. I like giving money away. Giving money is not as fun as making it, but it’s a close second.” —Pickens, per the Dallas Morning News

What they said about him: “T. Boone Pickens became a household name across the country because he was bold, imaginative, and daring. He was successful — and more importantly, he generously shared his success with institutions and communities across Texas and Oklahoma. He loved the outdoors, his country, and his friends and family, and Laura and I send our condolences.” —Statement from former president George W. Bush.

“Boone was always going some place where there was no path. He left trails all of his life. Many of us had the good fortune of being able to follow along with him.” —Alan White, retired banker and close friend

“An incredible loss for the nation today. T. Boone Pickens was a dedicated supporter of the community throughout his life. Encouraging Americans to honor his legacy by supporting the principles of the #PickensPlan for energy independence.” —George P. Bush

Full obituary: The Dallas Morning News

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