John M. Houchin, 93, retired chairman of the board of Phillips Petroleum Co. and former University of Oklahoma regent, died Thursday at his residence.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Monday in the sanctuary of the First Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Bob Bogue officiating under the direction of Neekamp Funeral Home.Houchin
was known at Phillips as "Gentleman John," retired executive vice president W.A. "Bob" Roberts explained at Houchin's retirement in 1974.Houchin
never raised his
voice, but he
had a way of explaining his
viewpoint and getting his
position across in a way that people accepted.Houchin
was born Jan. 11, 1909 in Jackson, Miss., the son of John C. and Alah (Chamblin) Houchin
, and moved with his
family to Muskogee when he
was a child.He
graduated from high school in Muskogee in 1927.
...While earning his degree in petroleum engineering, Houchin, in 1933 began working for Phillips Petroleum Co. in the oil fields around Oklahoma City.He continued his career with the company after earning his degree.He served Phillips as superintendent and engineer in a number of company's producing districts before being named as assistant general superintendent in Bartlesville.During a 43-year career with Phillips, Houchin held various positions in the production and executive departments before being elected president of Phillips Petroleum Co. on Sept. 9, 1968.Before retiring, he held the position of chairman of the Board of Directors.Houchin
helped organize the American Independent Oil Co.
, formed in 1947 to explore in the Neutral Zone between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.He
also helped put into production Phillips' first oil fields in Venezuela.Houchin was an OU regent from 1963 to 1969, was one of the first three inductees into the OU College of Engineering Hall of Fame and led the fund-raising campaign for the Lloyd Noble Center.
In 1972, he
was awarded the Distinguished Service Citation, the highest honor given by the university.He was a member of the board of directors of the OU Foundation and was a founding member of the Oklahoma Eye Foundation and the Dean McGee Eye Institute.He
was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1973.He also served as president of the Bartlesville Chamber of Commerce, president of Hillcrest Country Club, director of both the First National Bank of Bartlesville and the First National Bank of Tulsa, vice president of the Oklahoma Heritage Association, and president and trustee of the Bartlesville Boys Club.He was an honorary life member of the American Petroleum Institute Board of Directors and had been a member of the Executive Committee of the Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association.He was elected president of the International Petroleum Exposition in 1978. Houchin was a 33rd degree Mason and a member of the Royal Order of Jesters for 40 years.Houchin
is survived by a daughter and son-in-law, Jane and Lee Gammil of Ross, Calif.; two sons and daughters-in-law, John M. Jr.
and Suellen Houchin of Asheville, N.C., and Larry C. and Jola Houchin of Tulsa; a sister, Virginia Corriell, of Columbus, Ohio; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.