Samuel T. Pees Keeper of the Flame Award

“Recognizing individuals who have devoted their efforts to preserving the heritage of the oil and gas industry and bringing before the public the heritage and history of the oil and gas industry”

2011 Neil J. McElwee Oil City, Pennsylvania
2011 William L. Huber Oil City, Pennsylvania
2010 Kathy J. Flaherty Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2010 Thomas Fulton Houston, Texas
2009 Susan Beates Titusville, Pennsylvania
2009 Marilyn Black Cochranton, Pennsylvania
2009 Bruce Wells Washington, D.C.
2009 William Wingo Centerville, Pennsylvania
2009 Barbara Zolli Titusville, Pennsylvania
2008 Charles Oliver Fairbank, III Petrolia, Ontario
2008 Earle Gray Lindsay, Ontario
2008 Lois McElwee Oil City, Pennsylvania
2007 JoAnn Cowans Fullerton, California
2007 Jack Rider Brea, California
2006 Clifford W. Stone El Dorado, Kansas
2005 David L. McKain Parkersburg, West Virginia
2003 Samuel T. Pees Meadville, Pennsylvania
2001 Ellsworth “Pete” Sparks Pleasantville, Pennsylvania


Kathy J. Flaherty, 2010

Kathy J. FlahertyKathy J. Flaherty

Kathy J. Flaherty is the current editor of Oilfield Journal, published by Friends of Drake Well, and a member of the Editorial Board of Oil-Industry History. She is a member of PHI and Friends of Drake Well. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geology from S.U.N.Y. Binghamton and a J.D. from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. Ms. Flaherty is employed as a petroleum geologist for ABARTA Oil & Gas Company in Pittsburgh, PA. Oil history is her hobby and she is often found roaming the hills of western Pennsylvania, accompanied by her husband Tom, searching for artifacts from our petroleum past. Ms. Flaherty has contributed many articles and poems to this journal and other publications devoted to the history of the oil and gas industry.


Thomas Fulton, 2010

Thomas FultonThomas Fulton

Tom Fulton began his geophysical career after receiving a BS in Physics from the University of North Texas in 1951. Following seismic work in Venezuela, he completed a MS in 1955. His professional experience spanned technology changes from 8 trace split spread marine paper records to specification of digital processing and finally to 3-D processing quality control. His employers included GSI, Amoco, King Resources, Gulf, and Chevron. Tom also started Seismic Solutions, Inc. to provide seismic processing services to the industry. Tom was a member of the Geophysical Society of Houston from 1972 until his death in 2009, and his service included Chairperson of the Museum Committee, Luncheon Speakers Coordinator, Chairperson of the Data Processing Special Interest Group, 2nd Vice President, First President-Elect and President. He was a 55-year member of the Society of Exploration Geologists (SEG) and his service included work with the Technical Standards Committee (Polarity), Program Chairman for the Second Annual Gulf Coast Meeting and Chairman and longtime-member of the SEG Program Committee of the Offshore Technology Conference. Tom was also the principal organizer of the Living Legends event featured at yearly SEG Conventions. He was a frequent contributor to Oil-Industry History, and often provided very interesting displays of early geophysical equipment at the annual PHI symposia. Tom Fulton died in 2009.


Susan Beates, 2009

Susan BeatesSusan Beates

PHI is pleased to recognize the many contributions to the maintenance and preservation of the oil and gas heritage that, Susan Beates, has made as Historian/Curator II at the Drake Well Museum Archive. Ms. Beates received her degrees in history from West Virginia University and part of her work their included an internship at the Drake Well Museum. She spent one summer conducting an industrial archaeological survey of the Windy City Air Lease outside of Kane, Pennsylvania, documenting the use of steam engines on those leases. After several years of employment with the West Virginia Regional & History Collect at WVU and the Erie County Historical Society (Erie, Pennsylvania), she returned to the Pennsylvania oil region in 1998. Since then she has re-immersed herself in oil history documenting and cataloging the thousands of items in the Drake Well Museum & Park collections. She is the author of numerous articles related to rural life in northwestern Pennsylvania and the early oil industry there. She enjoys rediscovering the many treasures of the Pennsylvania oil patch.


Marilyn Black, 2009

Marilyn BlackMarilyn Black

Marilyn Black is the Vice-President for Heritage Development for the Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry and Tourism (Oil City, Pennsylvania) where she administers the Oil Region National Heritage Area. She earned a B. A. in education and sociology from the University of Pennsylvania, and she has an MBA from the Pennsylvania State University. She and her husband, Darl Black, resided in Cochranton in Crawford County.


Bruce Wells, 2009

Bruce WellsBruce Wells

Bruce Wells is the Executive Director of the American Oil & Gas Historical Society (AOGHS), a non-profit organization founded in 2003. He accomplishes the Society’s educational mission by publishing a quarterly newsletter, The Petroleum Age, reviving the name of a monthly oil industry publication of the 1880s. Mr. Wells also maintains the Society’s web site, is a sought after speaker on early oil history for industry gatherings and community events. The Society also hosts conferences and fieldtrips which focus on oil and gas museums and their contributions to the preservation of the oil and gas heritage of our nation and educating the public of that heritage.


William Wingo, 2009

Will WingoWill Wingo

Will Wingo is the Director of the Oil 150 Committee for the Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry and Tourism. He is charged with fostering the discovery and appreciation of our nation’s oil heritage and its roots in the Oil Region National Heritage Area; specifically leading up to and through the 150th anniversary of the Drake Well which is celebrated in 2009. Mr. Wingo received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Alfred University, Alfred, New York, and was formerly employed by KBR/Halliburton in Iraq. He also was employed at the Titusville Hospital and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. His hobbies include rebuilding and restoring vintage Mack Trucks and gas engines, like the Reid Engines, that were used in the oil fields of Pennsylvania.


Barbara Zolli, 2009

Barbara ZolliBarbara Zolli

Barbara Zolli is the Director, Drake Well Museum & Park, the Commonwealth site where Edwin Drake’s well launched the modern petroleum industry in 1859. In addition she also oversees the Pithole Visitor Center and the McClintock Oil Well #1 for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The McClintock Well #1 is the world’s oldest continuously pumped oil well. Ms. Zolli earned her undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston and completed the Cooperstown Graduate Program in Museum Studies requirements toward a Master’s degree from the State University of New York. She resides on the grounds of the Drake Well Museum & Park near Titusville, Pennsylvania.


Charles Oliver Fairbank, III, 2008

Charles Oliver Fairbank, IIICharles Oliver Fairbank, III

Charles Oliver Fairbank, III is the fourth generation to work the family oil fields near Petrolia, Ontario. Although he did not start out to be in the oil business, after taking a degree in biology (University of Western Ontario) and studying history at Concordia University in Montreal, in 1969 Charlie decided to return to the Fairbank oil field. Once there, he was hooked, even though his father, Charlie, Jr. warned him that he needed to find some other way of spending his life. Heeding his father’s advice, young Charles obtained a teaching certificate and taught secondary school for several years, but the draw of the oil fields was too great, and with the oil embargo of 1873, he returned home. According to the Fairbank story (The Story of Fairbank Oil…, by Patricia McGee [Charlie’s wife]), he is the first Fairbank in a while to actually work in the fields, and he has maintained, rebuilt, refurbished, and no doubt cussed at, the old equipment, some of which was put in place by his great-grandfather, John Henry Fairbank. Charlie still pumps oil with jerker-rod systems and central powers; about the only change are the electric motor in the place of the old Reid, Franklin, or similar gas engines. He has allowed the Canada Oil Museum to treat his property as a living museum, which it is, and he has been a very active supporter of the Museum.

The Petroleum History Institute is pleased to recognize the efforts of CHARLES OLIVER FAIRBANK III with the 2008 SAMUEL T. PEES KEEPER OF THE FLAME AWARD for maintaining the heritage of Fairbank Oil operating into the fourth generation and for allowing his property to be a living museum of oil heritage for the many visitors to the area.


Earle Gray, 2008

Earle GrayEarle Gray

Earle Gray was editor of Oilweek magazine in Calgary for nearly 20 years. In the 1970s he was director of public affairs for Canadian Arctic Gas, a consortium of major oil and gas companies that planned and researched a multi-billion dollar gas pipeline from Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay and the Mackenzie River delta and Beaufort Sea in the Canadian Arctic. He is a former publisher, editorial consultant and speechwriter. He is the recipient of numerous business writing awards, including a lifetime achievement award from the Petroleum History Society (Canada). He is the author of eight books about the energy industry: The Great Canadian Oil Patch (1970), The Impact of Oil, The Great Uranium Cartel, Wildcatters, Super Pipe, and Forty Years in the Public Interest, a history of the National Energy Board, as well as editor of and lead contributor to Free Trade, Free Canada. The second edition of The Great Canadian Oil Patch: The Petroleum Era from Birth to Peak, was published in 2005. Ontario’s Petroleum Legacy: The birth, evolution and challenge of a global industry (2008)tells how it was Canada that gave birth to today’s petroleum industry, relates its the growth in Canada, and outlines the challenge that confronts the industry in the era of global warming.

The Petroleum History Institute is pleased to award EARLE GRAY the 2008 SAMUEL T. PEES KEEPER OF THE FLAME AWARD in recognition of his efforts to keep the history of the Canadian oil industry alive and in the public eye.


Lois McElwee, 2008

Lois McElweeLois McElwee

Lois McElwee, formerly with the Oil Region Alliance for Business, Industry & Tourism (Oil City, PA) and former Sesquicentennial Coordinator for the Drake Well 150th Anniversary. As director of the OIL 150 Committee she provided contract services for the Oil 150 project that creates awareness of the 150th anniversary of the Drake Well and the birth of the oil industry. Her functions included representing Oil 150 throughout the nation, managing the development of the awareness plan, the feasibility study, the logo, fundraising campaign, and the website. Functions include writing grants, communicating with potential donors and the public, organizing meetings and agendas, building community support, publicly representing the Oil 150, coordinating and motivating volunteers, and creation of collateral materials and publicity.

She developed and implemented a Master Plan, worked with advertising and marketing firm to develop a national awareness plan and marketing plan. She participated in the feasibility study and the funding campaign plan development for the Oil 150, and successfully solicited donations to help fund the Committee’s activities. And she was involved with development of the educational website and administering the website. Among her successful grant applications was one for the creation of a documentary film, due for completion in early 2009, devoted to early oil history of the region.

She has promoted the Oi150 celebration nationally through press releases, on the Internet, presentations at conferences and conventions, and formal press conferences; made presentations to energy education leaders, oil industry businessmen, government representatives, and general public. Oil 150, through her leadership, has participated at the Petroleum History Institute Symposia, The American Oil & Gas Association’s Energy Education Conference, and the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities. She has arranged for articles about Oil 150 to appear in the Petroleum Age, the American Association of Petroleum Geologist’s Explorer magazine, Online Oil, and on

The Petroleum History Institute presents the 2008 SAMUEL T. PEES KEEPER OF THE FLAME AWARD to LOIS McELWEE for her efforts to promote the 150th anniversary of the Drake Well and the subsequent development of the modern oil industry in the United States and the world. The award was presented at the May meeting of the Oil 150 Committee in May 2008 by William Brice, Editor of Oil-Industry History.


JoAnn Cowans, 2007

JoAnn CowansJoAnn Cowans

JoAnn Cowans’ work covers a wide range of subjects and techniques.  She is best known for her oil field paintings.  A B.A. degree in art from Barton College was followed by post graduate work at University of North Carolina School of Design, UCLA, Otis Art Institute and extensive study with Carlo Buonora in classical portraiture and painting techniques.  In the early 60s she painted the Venice, California oil fields as they were being dismantled during the construction of Marina del Rey.  Her show, By The Speedway’s End, documented the passing of old Venice and Playa del Rey.  The presentation was a smashing success.  Most of these paintings are now in private collections.  In 1993 she moved to Orange County in California.  Her home there overlooked another oil field.  Bastanchury Oilfields is a view from her studio window.  Later, when the bulldozers came to clear the field of pumps and equipment, she moved again.  This time it was close to the Brea oil fields.  Here she paints the last derricks in southern California.  A retrospective exhibit of her oil field paintings opened July10, 2003 at the Muckenthaler Museum and Cultural Center in Fullerton, California.  That show was extended twice, by popular demand, to run through the end of the year.  Here work is in many corporate and museum collections and has been written about in The Wall Street Journal, Upstream Oil and Gas Newspaper, The American Oil and Gas Historical Society, Petroleum Age and The Los Angeles Times.  JoAnn reproduces her paintings in Giclée prints.  These may be seen on her website,  Future plans include an exhibit of oilfield paintings and tracking down the paintings of the Venice field sold to private collectors for a retrospective show and book.


Jack Rider, 2007

Jack RiderJack Rider

Jack Rider was the owner and publisher of Pacific Oil World magazine, established as California Oil World in 1908 in Bakersfield.  During this time Jack served as Director of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Petroleum Institute (API), honorary life member of Phi Epsilon Tau, National Petroleum Engineering Honor Society, Director of Los Angeles Business Marketing Association and Chairman of the Southern California Magazine Representatives Association.  He remains active as a longtime Director of Pyles Boys Camp, a year round program for under privileged boys 12-14 years in age, in oil producing areas, an organization started by an oilman in 149 and primarily funded and ran by volunteers from the oil industry.  In 1993 President George Bush visited the camp to make it one of “the high “Points of Life”.  Jack is a member of the Wildcat Committee in its 83rd year of producing the HI-Jinx Show, an oil industry spoof, to raise funds for Pyles Camp.  Jack is also Chairman of the ”OL” oiltooller Advertisers.  Jack is a Californian raised in Delano near the oil boom town of Bakersfield and a 43 year resident of Brea, the site of the old time Brea-Olinda oil field.  Jack is a graduate of Bakersfield Junior College and the University of Southern California, and a United States Army Veteran.


Clifford W. Stone, 2006

Clifford W. StoneClifford W. Stone

Clifford W. Stone has distinguished himself as a strong civic leader not only in his community but also to the Kansas Oil Museum. As Board of Directors Vice President of the Butler County History Center and Kansas Oil Museum, he has been of primary importance in preserving the heritage of the oil industry in Kansas. In 1962, Clarence Rice, Vice President of Marketing for El Dorado Refining Company (El Reco), told Stone: “There ought to be an oil museum at El Dorado, it’s the logical place, and you young fellows will have to do it.” Stone actively pursued that vision. This led to the creation of the Kansas Oil Museum, featuring 10 acres of exhibits devoted to Kansas’ early oil industry and “Our Kansas Oil & Gas Legacy Gallery” honoring individuals who have been significant in the petroleum industry. Through his financial support and personal time, Stone has single-handedly helped the Kansas Oil Museum pursue excellence and growth. With a goal of making the Kansas Oil Museum one of the finest educational facilities in the nation, Stone hopes to advance Kansas’ significant and historical role in the petroleum industry. Clifford Stone’s diligent service, boundless energy and enthusiasm for his community and the petroleum industry is a worthy example and inspiration to others, and has earned him the 2006 Keeper of the Flame Award.

Clifford W. Stone was born in El Dorado, Butler County, Kansas in 1918, the son of Wilber Ernest and Olive Clifford Stone. William Emanuel Stone, Clifford’s grandfather, came to Butler County from Berlin, Germany in 1879 and became one of El Dorado’s wealthiest citizens. Clifford attended El Dorado schools and graduated high school cum laude. Stone attended Kansas State College at Manhattan and graduated with honors in 1939 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture. The year following graduation, he returned to El Dorado upon the death of his father to become a partner with his mother in the operation of the Stone farms in Butler, McPherson and Finney counties. Later, the mother/son team would purchase and operate the Walnut Valley State Bank in El Dorado. Mrs. Olive Clifford Stone believed that happiness lay in serving others and she imparted this philosophy to her son.

Clifford married Sara (Sally) Lou Connell, of El Dorado, on December 10, 1941 and several months later, in  April 1942, he enlisted as an aviation cadet with the U. S. Army Air Corps. The nation had been at war only four months. Stone, a young man in his early twenties, served as a B-24 pilot with the 763rd Squadron of the 460th Heavy Bombardment Group of the 55th Wing of the 15th Air Force in the European theater of operations in Italy. While participating in his 50th credited bombing mission, his B-24 was shot down. He was captured by the Germans and spent the remainder of World War II at Stalag I prisoner-of-war camp. His military decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters. At the time of his separation from active duty, he was a captain, but he later attained the rank of major in the U. S. Air Force Reserves. Clifford and Sally have two children, Samuel C., a practicing attorney in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Sue Hunter of Kansas City, Missouri.

After the war, Stone became the Managing Director of Saco Oil Company and the Yuma Oil Company, positions he held for the next 26 years. Both companies had been owned since 1934 by Stone’s father-in-law, O. J. Connell. Saco and Yuma had producing leases in Butler, Marion, Russell and Sedgwick counties, Kansas as well as interests in Texas and Oklahoma. Adhering to his belief in the importance of being a good corporate citizen, he saw to it that both oil companies actively supported all civic and county endeavors in addition to furnishing labor and supplying resources whenever they were needed. Clifford Stone not only managed Saco’s and Yuma’s oil leases, he also pursued a 42-year banking career as C.E.O. of the Walnut Valley Bank and Trust in El Dorado, Kansas; serving as “Banker to the Oil Patch.” Today, Clifford W. Stone is still providing invaluable leadership in the field of community betterment.


Samuel T. Pees, 2003

Degrees in geology from:

Allegheny College (BS)
Syracuse University (MS)
Advanced geological studies Colorado College and University of Tulsa.

Professional affiliations:
Certified Petroleum Geologist (American Association of Petroleum Geologists, AAPG)
Senior Fellow of Geological Society of America (GSA)
Licensed Professional Geologist, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Professional offices:
Past Chairman GSA History of Geology Division
Past President of Drake Well Foundation
Past Founding Chairman of the AAPG Standing Committee on The History of Petroleum Geology

Distinguished Alumni Award from Syracuse University College of Arts and Sciences
Public Service Awards and the John T. Galey Memorial Award from AAPG
Gold Citation, Allegheny College
Emeritus and John Mather Award from The Colonel Inc. (Drake Well Museum)

Professional Experiences:
Worked as a petroleum geologist in South America, Caribbean, South Pacific, Australia, S.E. Asia, Indonesia and the United States for oil companies.
Established the firm of Samuel T. Pees and Associates in Meadville, Pennsylvania, for oil and gas consulting in the Appalachian Basin.
Frequent lecturer. Author of over 70 scientific and historical publications treating on oil and gas, the latest in 2002.


Ellsworth “Pete” Sparks, 2001

Ellsworth “Pete” Sparks has “oil in his blood.” Early in his career, Pete worked in the oil fields of Pennsylvania-the fourth generation of his family to do so. Although his current business interests are in other ventures, Pete still satiates his love of oil field history, legend and lore through his volunteer work with The Drake Well Foundation, The Drake Well Museum, and The Colonel, Inc. Pete has a truly amazing, encyclopedic person knowledge of the history of many old leases and oil workings throughout Oil Creek Valley and he is always willing to share his knowledge and expertise with others. Over the years, he has carried out extensive field research and prepared early oil industry artifacts and sites for scores of field excursions throughout Oil Creek Valley. It is for his extraordinary expertise, enthusiasm and volunteerism that he is recognized with this special award.

adminKeeper of the Flame