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Obituaries, Dec. 2007 - Jan. 2008

Obituaries, Dec. 2007 - Jan. 2008


[Note: in cases where donations may be made to New Mexico Tech, the address is: Advancement Office, New Mexico Tech, 801 Leroy Place, Socorro, NM 87801.]

Robert O. Anderson passed away on Dec. 2, 2007, at his home in Roswell. He was a friend of New Mexico Tech and was awarded the degree of Honorary Doctor of Petroleum Engineering at Commencement ceremonies in 2000.
Born in Chicago on April 13, 1917, Robert Orville Anderson earned an impeccable reputation both domestically and internationally as a renowned petroleum executive, rancher, environmentalist, diplomat, and civic leader who has served the oil and gas industry, academia, and the community in various capacities over the past 40 years.

Mr. Anderson began his career in the oil industry shortly after obtaining his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Chicago in 1939. That same year he landed his first full-time job in the oil business with American Mineral Spirits Company, a subsidiary of Pure Oil Company in Chicago. In 1941, after acquiring a substantial interest in a small oil refinery in Artesia, New Mexico, he and his family moved to New Mexico. Over the next 15 years, he bought and expanded several refineries.

Mr. Anderson's long association with Atlantic Richfield Company has included 17 years as the company's Chief Executive Officer and 21 years as the Chairman of the Board. He retired from Atlantic Richfield in 1986, after 23 years on its board, to form Hondo Oil & Gas Company, an integrated independent oil company located in Roswell, New Mexico, of which he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer from September 1986 to February 1994.

Besides being active in the oil business, Mr. Anderson's other business interests over the past 55 years have included cattle raising and feeding operations, mining and milling, and general manufacturing. He has served on a number of boards of both private and non-profit organizations, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; Chase Manhattan Bank; Columbia Broadcasting System; Pan American Airlines; First National Bank of Chicago; Weyerhaeuser Company; and Carter Hawley Hale Stores, Inc.; the National Petroleum Council; and the University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management.

Robert O. Anderson served on the Board of Regents of New Mexico Tech from 1987 to 1992. Since 1994, he has held the position of Distinguished Professor of Petroleum Engineering at New Mexico Tech. He is a Life Trustee of the California Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago, and the International Institute for Environmental Development, London.

Mr. Anderson has received numerous awards for his tireless efforts in support of public, charitable, and political affairs. In 1978, he received the prestigious honor of being the first recipient of the Charles A. Lindbergh Award for Significant Achievement. A similar honor was bestowed upon him in 1989 as the first recipient of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Medal of Excellence. He has received many other significant honors and awards.

  • Doctor of Humane Letters, University of New Mexico, 1966
  • New Mexico "Man of the Year" Award, 1966
  • Doctor of Law, New Mexico State University, 1968
  • Recipient of the first Paul Horgan Award, Chaves County Historical Society, 1981
  • Lovelace Foundation Award of Appreciation: 20 Years Service as Chairman of the Board of Trustees, 1987
  • Paul Harris Fellowship Award, Roswell Rotary Club, 1997
  • International Executive of the Year Award, Brigham Young University, 1977
  • Swedish American of the Year Award, Stockholm, Sweden, 1978
  • Family of Man Award, New York, 1980
  • Roughneck Award, Independent Petroleum Association of America, 1981
  • American Petroleum Institute Gold Medal Award, 1986
  • Hearst Energy Award for Lifetime Achievement, 1996
  • Honorary Chairman of the Aspen Institute in Aspen, Colorado
  • Inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame

Lawrence Fisher, Class of 1937, passed away in the Fall of 2007 at his home in Fairview, Ill., following a long career in the mining industry.

Sarah Austin (Sallie) Smith, 91, passed away on Dec. 8, 2007, in Alhambra, Calif. She was a longtime member of the Tech and Socorro communities and widow of Prof. Clay T. Smith, longtime professor of geology.

Sallie's son, Dean Smith, reported that she was dressed up and sitting in a chair by the door, waiting for him to pick her up and take her someplace. When he arrived, she had quietly and peacefully passed away.

Commemorative donations may be made to the Clay T. and Sallie Smith Student Fund.

The following is reprinted with permission from the Mountain Mail.

Sallie was born in Bay City, Mich., on October 17, 1916, and moved with her family to Pasadena, Calif., in 1920. She attended South Pasadena High School, and Occidental College, where she majored in English, earned her teaching certificate, and graduated in 1938.

She worked as a teacher briefly before her marriage to Clay T. Smith of Glendale, Calif., in May 1940. The couple spent the next several years throughout the West as Dr. Smith, a graduate of Cal Tech and a geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey, performed survey work throughout Colorado, Utah and Nevada.

They moved to Socorro in 1947, where Dr. Smith became a professor of geology at the New Mexico School of Mines, which later became New Mexico Tech. Dr. Smith passed away in 2003, and Sallie remained in Socorro until April 2007, when she moved to Marguerite Gardens in Alhambra.

Sallie was active in many organizations in Socorro, including the Garden Club, the Socorro Presbyterian Church, PEO, the American Association of University Women and the Good Samaritan Village nursing home. Sallie was honored by the Socorro Public Library for 50 years of service to the Library Auxiliary, and was named a “Woman of the West

Known for her generous nature, unfailing willingness to help, and her love of entertaining, Sallie was a pillar of Socorro society, lending a hand in a wide variety of activities throughout the 60 years she lived in the city. She will be sorely missed.

Sallie is survived by her sister, Catherine Ross, of Pasadena, Calif., two sons, Dean, of Upland, Calif., and Stan, of Rancho Palos Verdes Calif.; her daughters-in-law, Pat James and Sheri Ulrich; grandchildren Kirsten Stephen of Houston, Texas, Derek Smith of Kansas City, Mo., and Caitlin and McKenna Ulrich-Smith of Rancho Palos Verdes.