Larry Bartell

Lawrence "Larry" Denny Bartell

It is with a deeply saddened heart that we bring to you notice that long time HGS member, officer, and fellow geologist, Lawrence "Larry" Denny Bartell passed away January 23, 2021. He was born November 10, 1956 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, but his family moved to Houston, Texas shortly after. Larry went to high school at the Tilton School in Tilton, New Hampshire. He greatly enjoyed his time at the Tilton School and made lifelong friends He loved to play lacrosse, and became an avid skier. He was affectionately known by others there as "Tex" and wore his cowboy boots proudly. After high school, Larry attended Texas Tech University where he met his wife, Patty Grube. They were married August 2, 1980 in her hometown of Freer, Texas. Once married, Larry and Patty moved to Norman, Oklahoma, where Larry earned his Bachelors of Science Degree from the University of Oklahoma. They welcomed their first son, James Denny and moved to Houston where Larry began working at Bartell Exploration as a partner and geologist with his father. Larry and Patty soon welcomed daughters Ashley Ann and Heather Leigh. Their fourth child, David Howard, was born in 1995.

Throughout his career, Larry was active in professional geoscience organizations. He has a long and distinguished record of serving the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies (GCAGS), the Houston Geological Society (HGS), and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG). One of the great attributes of Larry’s style as a leader is to quietly complete the task, without great fanfare or attempting to gain the spotlight or solicit personal recognition.

In 2002, Larry and his father, Denny Bartell formed Legends Exploration LP, joining forces with AAPG Past President John Amoruso.

The Legends team received the prestigious AAPG Outstanding Explorer Award in 2011 for the play-opening discovery of Amoruso Field in the Bossier Trend of Robertson Co., Texas. Receiving this award is truly significant in our profession and is a rare and distinguished honor.

Throughout his career Larry Bartell set a great example and is a role model for our profession. As a successful, truly independent prospector, Larry was consistently willing to give back to the profession of petroleum geology during good and bad times.

Larry was General Chair of the very successful 2015 GCAGS Convention with the theme “Technology…Education…Leadership…Discovery”. It was a great convention, with high attendance and new features such as a significant emphasis on participation by students and young professionals. All this in the face of the dramatic decline in the price of oil and increasing stress in our industry.

The 2015 GCAGS Convention was Larry’s “second rodeo” and many HGS members had the pleasure of working closely with Larry when he chaired his first “rodeo”, the 2000 GCAGS Convention in Houston. It too was a very successful and fun event organized around the theme of  “Remember  the Past…Visualize the Future”.  Larry used his experience as GCAGS Treasurer when Dan Smith and Chuck Noll, co-chaired the 1991 Convention. He was an active member of the Convention Committee from 1991 through 1994 and later served on other ad-hoc GCAGS committees.

Larry first worked on a major convention during the 1988 AAPG Convention in Houston, hosted by HGS. Maybe that was the launch pad, as Larry began his active role in HGS in 1989 serving as Treasurer, then was elected to the HGS Board from 1994 to 1996 and followed that with election as Secretary from 1996 to 1997.

HGS recognized him with a President’s Award in 1996, an HGS Special Recognition Award in 2001 and an HGS Distinguished Service Award in 2004.

Larry served as a Delegate to the AAPG House of Delegates for several terms and he was active in the Society of Independent Professional Earth Scientists (SIPES) Houston chapter.

Larry’s commitment to his family and friends was special. He would often coach his children's sports teams, or be cheering loudly in the stands. He was known as the life of the party, and you could hear his famous cackle laugh for miles. He was happiest when surrounded by friends and family whether he was in Houston, at the family's Frio River Ranch in Concan, Texas, or spending time in Crested Butte, Colorado. Larry had so many friends from all areas of his life, and never met a stranger.

Larry is survived by his wife, Patty Bartell, son James Bartell and daughter-in-law Mallory Nelson Bartell, daughter Ashley Bartell, daughter Heather Bartell Roberts and son-in-law Jonathan Roberts, son David Bartell and his fiancé Elyse Ross, his four precious grandchildren Harris and Blair Bartell and Reagan and Patrick Roberts, father, James Denny Bartell, sister Ellen Bartell, brother-in-law, James Grube, and wife Rachel and their children. He was preceded in death by his mother, Dixie Deupree Bartell, father-in-law, Howard Herschel Grube, and mother-in-law, Eloise Grube.

He will be greatly missed.

-Jeff Lund