In Memoriam: A. W. (Bill) Cullen

Title: In Memoriam: A. W. (Bill) Cullen

Publication: The Outcrop, March 2001, p. 7

A. W. (Bill) Cullen died January 19, 2001 of pneumonia while fighting cancer. Born in Hilo, Hawaii in 1912, he graduated as a geological engineer from the Colorado School of Mines in 1936. He began his petroleum industry career with Seismograph Service Corp. , then landed a better paying job for $125/mo with Continental Oil Co. in Denver. After 11 years with Continental, he worked for Lion Oil Co. and then became the first manager for British American in Denver. Bill entered the independent exploration and consulting business in 1952, subsequently co-founded Colonial Oil Co. with John Moran Sr. and Carl Lough, and became a long-time partner with Kirk Forcade. Throughout his career, Bill worked on numerous geological prospects in the Rocky Mountain region and was involved with the discovery and development of several oil and gas fields. Although Bill became totally blind in the early 1970’s as the consequence of a childhood fever, he continued to work as a geologist in downtown Denver until his retirement in the fall of 2000.

In spite of being blind, Bill acquired and maintained an extensive geological library, had an impeccable memory for details, had a compelling passion for complex geological prospects, and was an inspiration to most people who worked with or knew him. Bill often said, “Blindness made me a better geologist because it required me to visualize and carefully analyze prospects in my head.” At the time of his death, Bill was still working on exploration in the Powder River and Paradox basins. Bill was a past director of The Hill Foundation, a life member of AAPG, an Honorary Member of the Denver Petroleum Club, and a member of Petroleum Pioneers and RMAG. His son, Pete; a brother and sister; three granddaughters; and three great-grandchildren survive Bill.

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