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Harold Maynard Lian

1922 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Harold Maynard Lian Obituary
December 25, 1922 - February 22, 2017 Harold Maynard Lian, 94 years, died on February 22, 2017 in Thousand Oaks, California. He was born December 25, 1922 in Fairdale, North Dakota. His parents, George Elling Lian and Christina Anderson, were Norwegian immigrants who tended a subsistence dairy farm in Roseau, Minnesota during Harold's childhood. Harold graduated from Roseau High School in 1939. After a year working for the Agricultural Adjustment Agency he attended college in Pomona, California. When the United States entered WWII he joined the FBI, and was stationed in Philadelphia and then South America. He then enlisted in the US Army, eventually serving as technical sergeant on the staff of Brig. Gen. Edgar E. Hume, Commander of Allied Military Government, Fifth Army in Florence, Italy and Salzburg, Austria. He was awarded the Legion of Merit and the Italian Cross of Merit for his services to the Fifth Army and to the people of Italy. After the war he enrolled at UCLA, ultimately completing a PhD in Geology. At UCLA he also met Lois Johnston, and they were married in 1953. They remained committed Bruins throughout their lives. Upon completion of his degree he joined the Union Oil Company (now Unocal) as a field geologist. He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 1954 and was a guest professor for one year at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. In 1958 he was sent to Alaska to explore for oil and gas. He and his young family lived in Anchorage where he became manager of Union Oil's new Alaska district. After the Great Alaska Earthquake in 1964 he returned to Los Angeles where he became manager of exploration for Union Oil's International division. In 1974 he became president of the International Oil Division where he led worldwide exploration and development and oversaw significant oil and gas discoveries in the North Sea, Indonesia, and in Thailand. In 1983 he became President and COO of Unocal Thailand and he and Lois moved to Bangkok. In 1987 he was awarded Commander of the Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand by King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He retired from Unocal in 1988 and kept busy with writing, travel, and work on advisory boards including as director of the Circum-Pacific Council for Energy and Mineral Resources. He loved to entertain family and friends with stories gleaned from his experiences and he put this talent to use in his writing projects. He authored an account of coming of age during the Great Depression and World War II (Defining Events), two memoirs based on his work and life experiences (Runnin' High and Looking Good, My Cup Runneth Over) and an account of Unocal's history in Thailand (A Promise Fulfilled). During his time in Austria Harold became an avid skier and shared his love of the sport with his family; 3 of his 4 children became accomplished ski racers. He served as president of the Far West Ski Association and helped found the Squaw Valley Athletic Association to promote ski racing. Harold was supportive of all of his family's interests, including skiing, horseback riding, political activism, and music. He was easily recognized driving around Westwood in his 1960 Volkswagon, Fritz. In 1998 Lois died of cancer. In 1999 Harold married Henrietta Lopez Knapp of Malibu, California. She shared his love of travel and adventure, and together they explored the world both near and far. They moved to University Village in Thousand Oaks in 2010 where he remained active in the community until his death. Preceded in death by his wife Lois Johnston Lian; siblings Ernest Lian and Mildred Lian; and nephew Carl Lian. He is survived by his wife Henrietta Knapp Lian; his children George Lian, Liv Gibbons, Ann Marquino and Leslie Lian; his sister Delna Jacobs; his half brother Maynard Gross. He will be greatly missed by his 9 grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and extended family in both the US and Norway. Special thanks to the staff at Oak View Skilled Nursing and Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks. Funeral services will occur June 26, 2017 at 3 pm at Skylawn Memorial Park in San Mateo, CA.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Mar. 8 to Mar. 12, 2017
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