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William Henry LeRoy


1926 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
November 5, 1926 - August 30, 2015
William Henry LeRoy ('Bill") passed away peacefully on August 13, 2015 at the age of 88. Bill was born on November 5, 1926 in Crete, Nebraska and attended grammar school in Nebraska and Missouri and graduated from Southwest High in Kansas City, Missouri. He attended one year at the University of Kansas City, prior to joining the Navy. During World War II, he was stationed in the Pacific and was discharged from the Navy in 1946.
Upon his return, he married his high school sweetheart, Virginia Dell Planck. Deciding to major in Geology, he transferred to the University of Nebraska. In 1949, with a B.S. degree in Geology and Paleontology, he received an "Office of Naval Research Fellowship" as a research assistant on a monograph of North American fusilinids and began work towards his Masters degree. During this project, he proved the value of Sequential Analysis as applied to the study and correlation of fossils.
Upon completion of the Fellowship, he accepted a position as a Geology instructor at Texas A&M to finish his Masters and ultimately obtain a Doctorate degree. Bill was the youngest instructor at A&M and one of the best liked by his students "because he could still remember his own undergraduate days and sometimes acted accordingly."
In 1951, Bill caught the "Go West, Young Man" fever and left academia for the "Wild & Wooly Oil Business." He accepted a position as a field geologist for Standard Oil Company of California in their Bakersfield office. After a transfer to Salt Lake City for slightly less than a year and a return to Bakersfield, in 1954 Bill decided that he had enough of the major oil companies and decided to leave Standard Oil. He accepted a position as Exploration Geologist at a small, independent oil company, Reserve Oil and Gas. Over the next 11 years, while Reserve grew and went public, Bill was promoted to Vice President and, in 1965 was promoted again and moved to the corporate headquarters in Los Angeles.
In 1968, Virginia suddenly passed away. In 1971, Reserve moved its headquarters to Denver, CO and Bill moved with the company. In 1980, Reserve was purchased by Getty Oil and the Reserve corporate headquarters was closed. Bill then moved back to Los Angeles, becoming a Vice President for Pauley Petroleum. In 1986, Bill retired from Pauley and became an independent consultant. In 1990, Bill met and fell in love with Wendy Borcherdt and, two years later, they were married.
Bill, an Eagle Scout himself, was very active in Bakersfield as a Boy Scout leader. In Los Angeles, Bill was an active participant in the annual "High-Jinks" - performances given to raise money for the Pyles Boys Camp by the "Wildcats," an honorary group of top executives from the oil industry. Bill always played a lead role in the performances, acting in skits and singing solos on stage. (His talent as a singer had been established as a young man singing in the church choir.) Bill was very active in The Petroleum Club of Los Angeles, serving as president of the Club in 1982. Over his career, he was active in the American Institute of Petroleum Geologists in Southern California and gave several speeches over the years at its national conventions.
Bill is survived by his loving wife, Wendy, his son, Michael LeRoy, his daughter Beth Wiley, step-daughter Kimberley Bolt, step-son Rahr Borcherdt, 10 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.
The family is celebrating his life privately. Memorial donations may be made to the R. M. Pyles Boys Camp, 27211 Henry Mayo Drive, Valencia, CA 92355, 877-767-9537, http://www.pylescamp.com.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 30, 2015
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