Oilfield Innovator Curtis D. Kelly Jr. Has Died, Son of Oilfield Trailblazer

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January 4, 2019


The family of longtime Monsanto field production manager Curtis D. Kelly Jr. says the innovative petroleum engineer died in November after a long association with football kingpin Bud Adams.

Kelly was known for helping guide several oil companies through the oil exploration process before and after working with Monsanto.

More recently, Kelly was a special consultant to Bud Adams, the longtime owner of the Houston Oilers and Tennessee Titans football teams.

After Adams died in 2013, Kelly retired to his home in Houston and later Mansfield, Texas.

He was known for the development of techniques and hardware in the 1960s and ’70s for increasing efficiency in oil field production.

Kelly was the son of another oilfield innovator, Curtis D. Kelly Sr., who in the late 1940s utilized wheels and tires from junked World War II bomber planes, fastened to harnesses, as a way of moving oil derricks among drilling sites rather than deconstructing the derricks for movement between wells.

The senior Kelly retired after building the Curtis Kelly Company in Houston (now Curtis Kelly Inc., a division of Spitzer Industries), a metal fabricator focused on creation of oil and gas tanks, which he sold in 1969.

Curtis Kelly Jr. is survived by his wife Marilyn, two sons and a daughter and several grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, a brother and sister-in-law, nieces and nephews.

He was 87.