Ward, Travis

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January 29, 1922 - November 12, 2015

Ward, Travis

TRAVIS WARD,  PETROLEUM ENGINEER, PILOT,  WILDCATTER AND ENTREPRENEUR, PASSED AWAY IN DALLAS NOVEMBER 12.  HE WOULD HAVE BEEN 94 IN JANUARY.

HE WAS LAID TO REST EARLIER THIS WEEK IN JACKSONVILLE, TEXAS, WHERE HE WAS BORN. NAMED AFTER DR. TRAVIS, WHO DELIVERED HIM, TRAVIS WAS THE BABY OF 12 SIBLINGS, AND THE LAST TO SURVIVE.  HIS IS A TRUE STORY OF TEXAS, AND A STORY INDICATIVE OF OUR NATION’S PROGRESS DURING THOSE EARLY DECADES.

TRAVIS’ FATHER, J.A. WARD, MOVED THE FAMILY FROM EAST TO WEST TEXAS BY COVERED WAGONS, AND TRAVIS’ MOTHER, LOVIE SUMMERLIN DIED THERE WHEN TRAVIS WAS BARELY 4 YEARS OLD. HER WISH THAT THE FAMILY RETURN TO EAST TEXAS WAS GRANTED, AND THEY BROUGHT HER BACK TO BE BURIED IN THE FAMILY CEMETERY PLOT IN JACKSONVILLE.

DUE TO HIS FATHER’S NOMADIC NATURE, TRAVIS ATTENDED 11 SCHOOLS BY THE TIME HE REACHED 5TH GRADE IN CAYUGA, WHERE HE EXCELLED AS A STUDENT, AN ATHLETE, AND WAS SENIOR CLASS PRESIDENT.    IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, HE AND THE YOUNGER SIBLINGS HAD LIVED WITH THEIR FATHER IN A “16 X 20 TENT WITH A DIRT FLOOR, IN A POST OAK FLAT,” AND TRAVIS DID EVERYTHING FROM PICKING COTTON, SELLING PAPERS, TO STANDING ON A BOX IN A STORE, ANSWERING A PHONE AND RUNNING TO THE FIELD WITH MESSAGES FOR A ROUGHNECK…….ALL BEFORE HE WAS A TEENAGER. HIS MEAGER EARNINGS ALWAYS WENT TO HIS SISTERS SO THAT THEY COULD GET FABRIC TO MAKE DRESSES FOR SCHOOL, OR TO HIS FATHER, TO HELP FEED THE FAMILY.

HIS FATHER WAS A SEVERE AND STRICT MAN, KNOWN FOR HIS ABILITY AS A TRADER,  A  NATURAL MUSICIAN, WHOSE PRIMARY INSTRUMENT WAS THE VIOLIN.   HE WAS NOT ABLE TO PROVIDE A COMFORTABLE LIFE FOR THE YOUNGER SIBLINGS, AS HE HAD FOR THE OLDER ONES.  SO TRAVIS KNEW THE NEED TO HUSTLE HARDER THAN OTHERS, AND HE NEVER STOPPED. HE WAS DETERMINED THAT HIS CHILDREN WOULD HAVE THE ASSURANCE OF A BETTER LIFE WITHOUT THE STRUGGLES HE EXPERIENCED, AND THAT THEY WOULD BE WELL EDUCATED AND ABLE TO MAKE THEIR OWN SUCCESSES IN LIFE.  TRAVIS WAS THE FIRST OF HIS 12 SIBLINGS TO FINISH COLLEGE.

WHILE LEARNING EVERY POSITION AND EVERY JOB IN THE OILFIELD, WORLD WAR II BEGAN.  SOON, HE JOINED THE ARMY AIR CORPS  ( LATER ,U.S. AIR FORCE) AND, EVENTUALLY, WAS AT THE TOP OF HIS CADET CLASS.  IN  OCTOBER, 1945, TRAVIS WAS HONORABLY RELIEVED FROM ACTIVE DUTY WITH THE RANK OF SECOND LIEUTENANT, AND HE BEGAN TO CONCENTRATE ON FURTHERING HIS EDUCATION.  HE WORKED WHILE ATTENDING LSU AND FINALLY RECEIVED THE PETROLEUM ENGINEERING DEGREE HE SOUGHT.  BECAUSE OF HIS EDUCATION, HIS WORK ETHIC AND HIS EXPERIENCE, HE HAD OFFERS FROM MAJOR COMPANIES.  THAT WAS THE FORK IN HIS ROAD, AND HE DECIDED TO TAKE “THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED.”  HE BUILT MOBILE WELL SERVICE INTO A LARGE COMPANY WHICH, EVENTUALLY MERGED INTO THE POOL COMPANY.

IN JULY 1960, TRAVIS DRILLED THE DISCOVERY WELL FOR THE FAIRWAY JAMES LIME UNIT, WHICH BECAME ONE OF THE LARGEST OIL AND GAS FIELDS IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES. IT CONTINUES TO PRODUCE TODAY, 55 YEARS AFTER ITS DISCOVERY.

IN THE EARLY 80’S, TRAVIS WAS ONE OF THE LARGEST STOCKHOLDERS OF LONE STAR GAS, AND HE WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN THE PROCESS THAT LED TO ITS MERGER WITH ENSERCH. MORE THAN THE DEALS, OR FINANCIAL GAIN, OR RECOGNITION,  MR. WARD ENJOYED THE PLEASURE OF DEEP AND ABIDING FRIENDSHIPS WHICH RESULTED FROM HIS WORK.  ONE OF THOSE  SPECIAL FRIENDS SAYS  “HE WAS COMFORTABLE IN THE BOARD ROOM AND IN THE OILFIELDS; HE DEALT WITH PRESIDENTS, CEOs, BUSINESS MEN AND POLITICIANS WITH EQUAL EASE. TRAVIS HAS LIVED A FULL AND RICH LIFE, REACHING HEIGHTS VERY FEW INDIVIDUALS COULD EVEN DREAM OF.  HE WAS LARGER THAN LIFE, AND A LEGEND IN HIS RIGHT.”

IT IS UNNECESSARY, AND QUITE IMPOSSIBLE, TO LIST TRAVIS WARD’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AFFILIATIONS AND ACHIEVEMENTS. HIS INTERESTS WERE AS VARIED AS HIS COMPANIES INCLUDING OILFIELD SERVICE, AGRICULTURAL SEED, BANKING, CHARTER AVIATION, RANCHING, INTERNATIONAL OIL AND DRILLING AND EXPLORATION, AND FITNESS.  HIS ADVICE WAS SOUGHT BY RESPECTED INDUSTRIES, INDIVIDUALS AND GOVERNMENTS.

OVER THE COURSE OF NEARLY 94 YEARS, HE WAS KNOWN FOR HIS GENEROSITY OF RESOURCES, OF SPIRIT, TIME AND INTEREST.  HIS FRIENDS KNEW HIM TO BE LOYAL TO A FAULT, SOMETIMES TO HIS OWN DETRIMENT.  HE RECOGNIZED THE FLAWS IN HIMSELF AS READILY AS IN OTHERS, AND WAS A GREAT BELIEVER IN THE BASIC GOODNESS OF HUMANITY. TO THE END OF HIS DAYS, HE WAS QUICK WITH A WINK AND A SMILE, AND UNTIL 2 WEEKS AGO, WAS QUOTING POETRY, WHICH HE LOVED TO READ…AND TO HEAR READ ALOUD.

SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL AT FIRST CHURCH AND TO THE C.C.YOUNG COMMUNITY, DURING THESE LAST FEW MONTHS.  IN HIS OWN FAMILIAR WORDS…”THANK YOU, NOW!”

A CELEBRATION OF HIS LIFE WILL BE SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21, AT 2 P.M., IN THE SANCTUARY OF FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, DALLAS,  AT THE CORNER OF ROSS AND HARWOOD.  THE ADDRESS IS 1928 ROSS AVENUE.   THE FRONT DOOR IS ACROSS ROSS FROM THE  DALLAS MUSEUM OR ART.  

TRAVIS IS SURVIVED BY HIS WIFE OF 31 YEARS, PHYLLIS, ONE DAUGHTER, DEBRA PIERCE, 3 SONS, RANDY, MIKE AND JOHN, THEIR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN, NIECES AND NEPHEWS AND COUNTLESS WONDERFUL FRIENDS.

IF A MEMORIAL IS TO BE MADE, PLEASE CONSIDER THE “RISE FUND” AT FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, 1928 ROSS AVENUE, DALLAS 75201.  PHONE # 214-220-2727

Arrangements under the direction of:
ARIA Cremation Service & Funeral Home
10116 E. NW Highway
Dallas, TX 75238
214-340-8008

 

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James III and Sherry Powers

December 03, 2015 1:28PM

Mr. Ward lived such a full and productive life. What a blessing. Glory to GOD, no more pain, sickness, sadness - JESUS promised . Our love, prayers, and condolences to Phyllis and family during their time of sorrow and mourning.


Chase Morton

November 20, 2015 9:08PM

I always heard great things from my mother, who cut his over the years. He and his wife were always thoughtful and sent gifts for Christmases and for birthdays all throughout my adolescence.


Kristie Morton

November 20, 2015 8:35PM

i feel very fortunate to have met Travis and Phyllis 27 years ago . You two will always hold a special place in my heart . I will always remember all the stories he shared with me while cutting his hair . I learned so much about his younger years . We always had a few laughs and sometimes we got a little loud !
Thoughts and Prayers for the Ward Family


Bonita Fowler

November 20, 2015 5:38PM

Travis was a special man and a good friend. Love to Phyllis. Bonita Fowler