Raymond LeMay

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Raymond LeMay
Raymond Lemay headshot.jpg
Latest company Independent Exploration Company
BSc university Daniel Baker College

Raymond Andrew LeMay (October 30, 1901 - February 19, 1940) was a pioneer in the field of exploration geophysics.


Geophysics, Vol. V , April 1940 number 2. Page 192     Raymond Andrew LeMay, more widely known as "Pluto," one of the most colorful and most highly esteemed of the pioneers in geophysics, died suddenly of a heart attack at his home in Fort Worth, early on Monday, February 19, 1940. He had been in perfect health; the news came unexpectedly, and as a great shock to his family and friends.

Early Years and Education

He was born in Sherman, Texas, on October 30, 1901. The family not long after moved to Panama, where he first attended school. After six years, they returned to Fort Worth, where he won acclaim on the Central High School football team.

Continuing his athletic career in college, he was a warded the title of all-conference fullback at Daniel Baker College in Brownwood, in 1924. His success in football only served to call attention to his vivid, genial, dynamic personality. The people of Brownwood affectionately adopted him as a native son.

Professional Career

After obtaining his Bachelor's degree at Daniel Baker in 1925, he coached a season at Comanche High School, and then entered the Geophysical Department of the Gulf Oil Corporation (then the Gulf Production Company) at Houston, in January, 1926. He was one of the early members of our Society, joining in November, 1931.

As a field supervisor of a Gulf-Geophysical Research Corporation refraction party, he was in charge of the first American seismograph crew to discover a salt dome, that at Moss Bluff, Liberty County, Texas, in May, 1926. Three weeks later, his crew discovered the salt dome at Port Barre, Louisiana, and, about a year later, scored again at Bullard, Smith County, Texas. Later, he took two similar crews out to the Permian Basin, and played an important part in initiating the refraction program there which continued from 1928-1930. Later, as party chief of a reflection crew for Rosaire and Kannenstine and, subsequently, for the Independent Exploration Company, his crews were, as they always had been, characterized by high morale, and field operations which were outstanding.

He was in charge of the Wichita Falls office of the Independent Exploration Company in 1938, and of its Tulsa office during 1939 and early 1940; acting at the same time, as assistant to the manager in the company's Fort Worth office.

He is survived by his widow, Iris Pauline LeMay; a daughter, Ray Allen LeMay; his mother, Mrs. E. A. LeMay; a sister, Miss Lumena LeMay; and three brothers, Paul, John, and Victor LeMay. All are of Fort Worth except John LeMay, who lives in Omaha.

"Pluto" LeMay displayed to best advantage the type of men who successfully introduced geophysical exploration, with no background of experience on which they could rely for guidance. LeMay was outtstanding among his colleagues in his ability to meet and solve probblems which never had arisen before, to recognize the importance of new phenomena, and to adapt himself to new and unforeseen condiitions. At all times, he conducted himself as a man among men, earning the respect of his associates for his fearless integrity, his natural ability, and his strength and courage, physical as well as moral.

Although "Pluto" will be well remembered for his abilities, to the wide circle of friends whom he held close to him, his loss is deep and personal. His boyish good humor, his intense loyalty and the genuine kindness of his courtesies, are so vivid that he will ever live in the hearts of those who knew him.