Charles M. Simmons Endowed Presidential Fellowship in Engineering
Charles Simmons, BSPE ’48, passed away January 4, 2011 at the age of 84. Charles was an unwavering advocate for the oil and gas industry and inventor of the perforation ball sealer process that substantially boosted oil and gas recovery.
Charles was born Aug. 8, 1926, in Ballinger, Texas. He graduated from Amarillo High School at age 16, and became a naval aviation cadet in 1944. He received a petroleum engineering degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1948 and went to work with the Western Company that same year. He retired from Western in 1985 as Senior Vice President and a director.
Charles was an active member of the Longhorn community, both through his achievements as an engineer and his philanthropy. He chaired the Engineering Foundation Advisory Council and served on the Chancellors Council for The University of Texas System. In addition, Charles was an active and well-known civic leader in Dallas and Fort Worth. He recruited nationally prominent politicians, top energy executives and other luminaries to speak at the Fort Worth Petroleum Club, as the long-time organizer of its Speakers’ Series.
Charles M. Simmons
On June 15, 2010, The Texas Alliance of Energy Producers presented its Lone Star Legend Award to Charles for his invention of the perforation ball sealer process. It all started in the fall of 1954, when Charles ran into a problem: he wanted to fracture well casing selectively, but at the time no such process existed. So Charles hollowed out 40 rubber balls used to play jacks, filled each with a marble, and pumped them into a well to seal perforations in the well casing. Recalling the experiment, Charles said, “those first jack balls and marbles came from the dime store in Borger, Texas.” Charles’ pioneering technique is still being used around the world to extract oil and gas from reluctant rocks.
Charles is not only a Lone Star Legend, he is a Longhorn Legend. His legacy will live on at the school he loved and in the industry he loved.