Stephen Whitaker

Profile Updated: February 13, 2023
Residing In: Casper, WY USA
Spouse/Partner: Teri; married Dec 30, 1976
Occupation: Geologist with the Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute in Casper, WY
Children: Laura, b. 1979; Daniel, b. 1982; Christopher, b. 1987

Grandchildren: Thomas, b. 1999; Emmalynne, More…b. 2009; Adelae, b. 2011; Serena b. 2012; Tegan b. 2015; Kamdynne b. 2018

After SPHS I attended USC, lettered in Crew (the long boats with 8 oarsmen), and got a BS in geology. College was an absolute blast; full of great adventures, pranks, sports, fun, a bit of sadness, and even a little scholarly education. I wouldn't trade that time for anything.

I then decided for a change of scenery and headed to the University of Colorado, Boulder to get an MS in geology. Being so far from the people I knew, however, got pretty lonely and eventually drove me to marriage. I married a girl I had met at USC and she joined me for life's adventures starting in Colorado. I helped finance my education by working part-time with the United States Geological Survey in Golden, which required much time in the field mapping geology in northern Montana.

After getting out of grad school, I got hired by Texaco and began my career as an oil and gas exploration geologist. Through the years I found I was actually pretty good at finding oil and I left Texaco for some smaller, more aggressive companies. During this time we had two wonderful children, Laura (1979) and Daniel (1982) who made life even more thrilling than it already was.

I had some very successful years in the oil business then, and that, combined with living in Colorado and being able to run around the west camping, hiking, offroading, and enjoying the outdoors, made for a pretty idyllic life. When things are going that well you can usually count on something coming along to screw it all up and it did - - in the form of the collapse in oil prices. Despite the successes I had been experiencing finding new oil fields, the President of the company for which I was working decided to close down the Denver office in 1985 - thus giving me the joyful experience of joining the other few hundred thousand oil and gas professionals who found themselves suddenly unemployed. I managed to have a modicum of success on my own, at least enough to keep some revenue coming into my little family, but the remainder of 1985 was a very tough time.

In January, 1986 I landed a job as an oil and gas geologist in, of all places, Champaign Illinois with the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS). There were over 300 applicants for that one job so I was indeed fortunate to get it. I figured I'd work there for a couple of years and then get back west where I wished to be. God had other plans, though.

Through the ISGS I authored several publications, lectured, helped the public with matters dealing with oil and gas, and generally made a nuisance of myself by constantly challenging the status quo as established by the PhDs who thought they ran the place. During this time we had our third child, Christopher, who was, and is, an immensely fun, talented fellow.

I was getting my belly-full of government bureaucracy by the early 1990s but the economic climate in the oil industry was still pretty grim. Fortunately, a growing number of oil and gas professionals in the Illinois Basin grew to appreciate my input, so much so that in late 1992 I decided to quit the ISGS and form my own oil and gas company, IBEX (Illinois Basin Exploration).

So, yet another chapter of my life began, that of the head of a small oil and gas company. For the next 16 years I employed a few people, generated prospects, authored some articles, lectured at some conferences, drilled some wells, and was appointed by the governor of Illinois to join the Illinois Petroleum Resources Board. I was also lucky enough to own and operate 24 oil wells during this time which provided some funding for sending kids to college and putting meat on the table.

My kids were growing up through all this time and my wife, Teri, and I attended countless school concerts, plays, band performances, soccer matches, and the usual litany of functions that go along with raising kids. All three are uniquely talented, with Christopher rising to be the best high school French Hornist in the state. We frequently went out west on some big vacations, mostly camping, and I tried to infect my entire family with the same love and awe of the outdoors that I had. I still owned the old, 1961 Land Rover, Monst, that I had bought from my folks in 1970 and we used it on several of our western trips.

My daughter got married in 1998 and in 1999 I became a grandfather (how the heck can I be a grandfather at only 45 years old??). Thomas was another blessing and Teri and I helped to raise him since his mom worked and his dad joined the Marines (just prior to 9/11). With his dad deployed in the war in Iraq, we grew to think of Thomas as one of our own children. It was tough giving him back to his parents a few years later.

By 2008, with oil prices spiking and my kids grown and out of the nest, I was talked into selling my oil properties and joining a small oil company. I did not mind giving up being an officer in a company any longer (LOTS of paperwork and L-O-N-G hours) so I accepted a position as their geological manager.

In 2009 my son Daniel got married and eventually had three daughters of his own. They moved quite a bit chasing teaching jobs, which lead them from Champaign, Illinois to Marion, Alabama to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to Denver, Colorado (where he was born), to Tucson Arizona, and finally to the little town of Bemidji, Minnesota, which is a far cry from Tucson! He now has 3 adorable little girls, who will ultimately drive him insane, I am sure.

In 2011 Devon Energy made me a very generous offer to come work for them in Oklahoma City (not Denver, but at least it's on the proper side of the Mississippi River) so I accepted. Teri and I found a very nice house in the semi-country with 3 acres about 25 minutes east of downtown and moved there in December 2011. Once there I experienced dust storms, ice storms, snow storms, wind storms, hail storms, droughts, floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes; the only things missing were volcanoes and tsunamis.

Our daughter, Laura, moved to a town 2 hours north of there so we got to visit her family often. We just love getting together with her kids; Emmalynne (b. 2009) is the cutest, sweetest little girl I have ever seen and Thomas got straight A's all through high school while also starring in track and being in several school play productions. He got a full scholarship to a small college in western Oklahoma specializing in Pharmacy (For crying out loud! I've got a grandkid in college!!)

I sure hope his experiences after high school are every bit as thrilling as mine were - maybe without some of the pain, but with all of the excitement.

Another oil industry downturn in 2016 caused Devon to lay off almost all of their workers over 60 (not too smart of them) and, not wishing to retire, I decided to take a job with the Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute in Casper, Wyoming. Casper is the 2nd largest city in Wyoming, and boasts a population of 58,000! The entire state has few people than in Oklahoma City. I LOVE it! I have deer in my back yard sometimes, have a nice view of the mountains, and within a 5 minute drive from my house I am out in wilderness areas with awesome cliffs of red rock, mountains, pretty rivers, and hills covered with antelope, deer, and even a few buffalo. Life is grand!

School Story:

The theme for Grad Night in 1971 was "Pirates of the Caribbean" and I was told by Glenn Ehlig that, "Everyone is going to be dressed up like a pirate. Do you have your costume yet?" So, like a rube I rushed out and rented a pretty cool pirate costume with sword and a pirate pistol that shot cork balls (try and do that today... by the way, there are several interesting stories about that toy pistol, but that is for another time). When I boarded the train to head to San Diego that evening there were exactly TWO people with pirate costumes - - Glenn and me. You'd think I would have known better. Still, it was a great night and I had a great time!

Stephen's Latest Interactions

Hide Comments
Apr 08, 2024 at 3:28 PM

Happy 71st my old friend! Hope you are enjoying your special day. As I've related before, after months of exhaustive and expensive research, a government study proved that Birthdays are good for your health...the more of them you have the longer you live.

Stephen Whitaker added a comment on his Profile.
Mar 12, 2024 at 11:36 AM
Stephen Whitaker has a birthday today.
Dec 12, 2023 at 4:33 AM
Mar 13, 2023 at 2:07 PM

Happy 70th, Art!! Here's to many more years to enjoy family and friends.

Feb 13, 2023 at 3:51 PM
Stephen Whitaker has left an In Memory comment for his Profile.
Feb 13, 2023 at 3:40 PM

Liz was funny, honest, smart, and just fun to be around. The world was a better place with her in it.  May she rest in peace.  Thanks for the memories, Liz!

Stephen Whitaker has a birthday today.
Dec 12, 2022 at 4:33 AM
Stephen Whitaker added a comment on his Profile.
Aug 22, 2022 at 2:45 PM
Jun 18, 2022 at 10:09 PM

Happy 70th!! Boy, I did not ever think about saying that phrase to any of my classmates back when we were at Marengo or SP Jr High or even in High School!! Hope to see you in September.

Stephen Whitaker has a birthday today.
Dec 12, 2021 at 4:33 AM
Nov 14, 2021 at 4:25 PM

Happy Birthday! I hope you year had been blessed and that the coming one will be even more so. Maybe if we have a reunion I'll see you there.

Oct 13, 2021 at 9:43 AM

Happy Birthday! Hope you have many, many more! Please holler if you're ever up Wyoming way!

Stephen Whitaker posted a message. New comment added.
Oct 18, 2021 at 12:04 AM

Posted on: Oct 13, 2021 at 9:41 AM

Happy Birthday! And here's to many more. Hope all is well out there in the SSC (Socialistic State of California).

Sep 13, 2021 at 2:00 PM
Stephen Whitaker added a comment on his Profile.
Aug 23, 2021 at 2:06 PM
Aug 16, 2021 at 4:13 PM
Aug 10, 2021 at 8:46 AM

Happy 68th!! I hope you are doing well during these crazy times. Perhaps we'll both get to the delayed 50th reunion and briefly mentioned what's happened over the last half century!

Jun 18, 2021 at 8:46 PM

Happy Birthday!! Hope all is going well and you are celebrating in style!

Stephen Whitaker added a comment on his Profile.
Apr 09, 2021 at 9:16 AM
Dec 21, 2020 at 2:40 PM

Kamdynne (2) and Emmalynne (12) were living with me in Casper from 2019 thru most of 2020. They are both adorable (and Grandpa's girls too).

Hide Comments
Posted: Sep 01, 2018 at 8:28 PM
July 4, 1976 at our annual neighborhood party at Eddy Park. I'm in the uniform with the Kentucky Rifle. This is the last 4th of July celebration I'd ever have in South Pasadena. In a month I was off to Colorado, grad school, and a new life.
Posted: Sep 01, 2018 at 8:30 PM
1980, Offroading in Utah with my Land Rover. I had earned my Masters Degree 2 years earlier and was working as an oil exploration geologist based in Denver then. It was a grand time.
Posted: Sep 01, 2018 at 8:34 PM
1980 summer. Glenn Ehlig came up to visit me in Denver. Here is he carrying my daughter, Laura, in a backpack at Rocky Mtn National Park. It was a wonderful, peaceful, majestic place to visit then as now. Back then, however, it was not overrun with people.
Posted: Sep 01, 2018 at 8:35 PM
2014 autumn; grandkids Emmalynne & Thomas in Oklahoma City
Posted: Sep 01, 2018 at 8:37 PM
2007 summer; offroading in Canyonlands, Utah in my 1994 Land Rover Defender. Camping, hiking, and offroading are still important to me so I take opportunities to get away from the masses as often as possible.
Posted: Sep 01, 2018 at 8:38 PM
2008 Offroading in some new places in eastern Utah away from the crowds on my way to see some awesome cliff dwelling and petroglyphs that are rarely visited.
Posted: Sep 01, 2018 at 8:38 PM
2010 at about 13,500 feet in the Rockies
Posted: Sep 01, 2018 at 8:42 PM
2018; took my granddaughter Emmalynne boating in Fremont Canyon about a half hour from my home in Casper. It's a pretty place and great for fishing as well finding dinosaur bones and tracks.
Posted: Sep 01, 2018 at 8:39 PM
I have grown a bit older since high school, but I still love the same things I did back then.