Herbert “Dick” Teel

Obituary of Herbert Driscoll “Dick” Teel

August 25, 1918 – May 17, 2007 Dick was born and raised in Devine, Texas, which is located south of San Antonio. He participated in athletics in school but his first love was always hunting. He received a BB gun at age 6 and graduated upward in calibers over the years culminating in hunting around the world. Dick’s parents were of Texas pioneer stock of Irish and Dutch extraction. His mother, Kate Driscoll Teel, was raised on a South Texas ranch and was a pioneer woman. His father, Herbert T. Teel, worked for his father who had a machine shop and sold windmills. His father and mother eloped at age 18 and went to Jalisco, Mexico and lived there until his sister, Louria, was to be born. Herbert T. worked as a foreman for a railroad company and later moved back to Devine where he opened up the first auto dealership in the town. Later his other sister, Kathleen, was born. Dick attended St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BS in Petroleum Geology in 1939. Proration had just been put into effect in the oil industry and jobs as a geologist were scarce, so Dick worked for Standard of Texas (Chevron) as a surveyor on a gravity crew in West Texas. After a short stint, he then worked for Shell Oil Company as a surveyor in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. With World War II in Europe beginning and the capture of The Hague, Shell terminated all U. S. crews. Dick then worked for General Geophysical and later moved back to San Antonio where he worked as a surveyor for the U.S. Corps of Engineers who were building airfields for the war. Dick took flying lessons and got his wings through the Civilian Pilot Training Program. Subsequently, he went to Lowery Field, Colorado as a Cadet and graduated as a 2nd LT., specializing in aerial photography and photogrammetry. Dick spent 4 years in China with the 21st Photo Recon Squadron of the 14th Air Force known as “The Flying Tigers” where he was Photo Lab Commander and Photogrammetry officer. He rose to the rank of Captain and was awarded The Bronze Star for his service. Among many missions, the pilots of the 21st flew bomb spot for the atom bomb drops at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They also mapped the Philippine coasts for McArthur’s invasion. After the war Dick returned to San Antonio and married his college sweetheart, May Mathis. He went to work for Stanolind Oil and Gas (now BP Amoco) as an oil scout. Later he worked as a geologist in various positions rising to District Geologist for West Texas and Eastern New Mexico regions. His last 20 years at Amoco were spent in Exploration Computer Systems as a Coordinator between the computer world and geologists, geophysicists, and landmen. While working in Lubbock, Texas for Amoco, Dick and his wife May helped establish St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church where he served as Senior Warden. One of Dick’s great joys was leading the church’s Boy Scout Troop 540 as its Scout Master. He graduated 13 Eagle Scouts before retiring. In 1986, at age 67 and being two years past the retirement limit, Dick left Amoco after 42 years of service. Dick quickly discovered that he did not like retirement and after 2 weeks went to work for Petroleum Information (now IHS Energy) as a geological consultant. His primary job was to specify the geologic horizon for each and every oil and gas well in the United States and Canada. The geologic horizon was coded to enable the industry to obtain computer searches by producing horizons. This was a first for the oil industry. Dick worked at IHS Energy for 20 years and greatly enjoyed working on geological projects there right up until February, 2007. Dick’s greatest passion was African hunting which began with his first safari in Zambia in 1970. He hunted in seven African countries on 17 safaris up until 2005. He took many African species, including 4 of the Big Five. His greatest love was hunting the Cape buffalo. Dick also shared his love of hunting with his son Dick Jr. who accompanied him on seven of these safaris. On one recent safari in Tanzania, Dick took 3 old, bachelor Cape buffalo bulls in less than one minute’s time with his trusted 416. While this would be a feat for anyone, it was especially so, considering that Dick was 85 at the time. For this accomplishment, his African trackers changed his African name from “Misee” (Swahili for old, wise one) to Mbogo Tatu (Buffalos Three). He was proud of that name, and rightly so. Dick was an early member of Houston Safari Club and greatly enjoyed writing short stories about hunting. Over a span of over 30 years, he contributed many stories to Houston Safari Club’s publications as well as editing the hunting stories of other club members for publication. One of his best was entitled “Ode to the Cape Buffalo.” For his many contributions to the club and his hunting achievements, Dick was awarded the prestigious “Hunter of the Year” award by Houston Safari Club. In Houston where he lived for 35 years, Dick was an early and faithful member of St. Thomas of Canterbury Reformed Episcopal Church serving as a lay reader and usher for many years. Dick was preceded in death by his wife May. He is survived by his two sons: Rick and Dick, Jr. and his wife, Betty; and his faithful housekeeper Norma Graves. Visitation. Friends and family are invited to attend a come and go visitation at the home of Tom and Jill Kershner on Tuesday, May 22nd from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at 309 Westminster Drive, Houston, TX 77024. This is located at the corner of Chimney Rock, two blocks south of Memorial Drive. Funeral service. A funeral and memorial service will be held at 10:00 AM on Wednesday morning, May 23rd at St. Thomas of Canterbury Reformed Episcopal Church with the Canon Reverend James T. Payne officiating. The address for the church is 14007 South Freeway (Highway 288) which is just south of Beltway 8. If coming south on Highway 288, exit at McHard Road. Loop under the freeway and return north on the access road. Burial service. Burial will take place at The City Cemetery in Rockport, Texas on Thursday, May 24th at 10:00 AM at the Mathis family plot. No flowers please. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Memorial Fund of St. Thomas of Canterbury, 14007 South Freeway (Highway 288), Houston TX 77047.
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