Biography Citation for SEG Life Membership
Contributed by Thomas D. Barber
A Life Membership to Paul Farren is a most appropriate reward. Paul's creative genius has enlivened every endeavor he has undertaken during a multifaceted career.
Early Years and Education
Born in Manfield, Missouri, on 2 April 1916, Paul grew up in Houston, Texas. In high school, Paul was president of his class for three years and gained early fame setting records in marksmanship at local, state, and national rifle meetings.
Paul attended Rice Institute (now Rice University) as a Richardson Scholar, graduating in 1937 with two high achievements: BA with honors in physics, and a bride with beauty and brains. Immediately upon graduation, Paul joined National Geophysical Company in Dallas, and for the next 10 years, he and June hopscotched in 36 moves all over the southwestern U.S. as he advanced from computer to observer, party chief, supervisor, and vice-president, becoming a partner of National in 1940.
In 1946 he bought an airplane so he could supervise crews more effectively, and the next year moved from Texarkana to Houston to open an office for National. After eighteen years with the company, he became a consultant specializing in seismic interpretation, review, and supervision.
For the next four decades, Farren Consulting Service worked for and with an impressive list of oil companies, independents, and landowners, evaluating specific prospects as well as designing, organizing, and supervising exploratory programs. Among his many clients of special note is the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation for which he provided geophysical consultation from 1972 to 1995, helping the Eskimos select and evaluate 5.5 million acres that had been awarded to them under the 1971 Native Claims Settlement Act.
Service to SEG
As soon as he embarked on his professional career, Paul joined the SEG (1937) and has remained an Active Member, contributing his time, talent, and money with special concern for the Society's Continuing Education and Scholarship programs as well as the Houston Geophysical Museum. He served as SEG Vice-President for the 1965-66 term.
Paul became a member of the Geophysical Society of Houston in 1948 and served as its second vice-president (1958-59) and president (1960-61). In 1948 he also joined the AAPG and the Houston Geological Society, taking an active role in both, serving on the AAPG-SEG Cooperative Committee (1966-69) and as its chairman (1968) and as an HGS representative on the AAPG Business Committee (now the House of Delegates) in 1961-62 and 1965-66.
June Farren had also taken an active role in professional affairs as chairperson of the Spouses Program for the 1960 SEG Annual Meeting in Galveston and 1967-68 president of the Houston Geological Auxiliary.
Concurrently with his professional career, Paul had been active in other businesses. In 1961 he and fellow geophysicist G. J. Long founded Geodata Service, the first information retrieval center designed specifically to serve the geophysical industry by providing security and preservation of proprietary data. In 1963 Paul and his son organized Record Service Center for the design and installation of filing systems. In 1967 Paul invented and patented special containers and racks for the efficient storage and easy recovery of magnetic tapes. His latest venture is Identification International, a company to develop programs for the identification of people and things by digital imaging.
Moreover, Paul had been an active participant in numerous civic and charitable organizations. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Houston, an associate of Rice University, a past chairman of the Four-State Council of Girl Scouts of America, past chairman and a life member of the Northwest YMCA, elder and past chairman of the board of Oaks Christian Church, and currently an elder of Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church. He was an adult Sunday school teacher for many years. Paul and June have two children (Dunlop and Jill), seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Their first-born child, Judy, died in 1949.
Paul was blessed with a rare array of creative capabilities, two of which are the precise analytical mind of a mathematician/physicist and the unfettered imagination of a poet/philosopher. Early in his party chief years, he designed special pontoon and air-boat equipment for swamp and shallow bay operations in south Louisiana and, as early as 1939, Paul assembled and operated one of the first offshore seismic crews to pursue a lead he had found while surveying in the Laguna Madre.
Paul has brought to each assignment a patient, gentle and jocular manner; and the lively enthusiasm of an eager oil finder. Paul is a dogged seeker of facts, remarkably free of bias, and an aggressive integrator of all facts, both geologic and geophysical, in pursuit of the truth.
This Life Membership Award to Paul Farren is applauded by the entire geoscientific community as a fitting tribute to his long and distinguished career.