William Moon, Jr., 79

Published 2:53 pm Thursday, December 8, 2011

DECEMBER 8 – William A. Moon Jr. died Sunday, December 4, 2011 in Farmville after a prolonged battle against Parkinson's Disease. He was born October 20, 1932 in St. Louis, Missouri and then moved a few months later to Virginia which he considered his native state.

Mr. Moon graduated from Patrick Henry High School in Hanover County in 1950 and followed it with one year at St. Christopher's. A member of the VPI class of 1955, he received his B.S. degree in Geology in 1956 and entered the United States Air Force as a Second Lieutenant. In December 1959 he was discharged from active duty but remained on inactive duty until January 1969. Following his discharge from the Air Force, he returned to VPI and completed a MS in Geology.

In 1961, the oil industry was in a down cycle so Mr. Moon spent the next three years working under his department head and mentor, Byron Cooper, while employed by Minerals Development Corporation, a subsidiary of the Norfolk and Western Railway. During this period he evaluated the iron ore potential of the Silurian Rose Hill Formation in the Appalachians and did considerable field mapping. He joined Texaco Offshore Division, New Orleans, Louisiana in 1964, and was promoted to Staff Geologist in 1970 and then to Assistant District Geologist, Houma District, in 1970.

Email newsletter signup

In 1972 he transferred to London, England, and held various supervisory positions including Manager of Exploration. In 1990 he was appointed Consultant Geologist for Texaco LTD. According to Texaco, “Bill was closely involved with the company's search for North Sea oil in the early 1970s when rig technology capable of dealing with the harsh conditions of the North Sea was still in its infancy as well as playing a key role in the discovery of a number of North Sea oil fields. Bill also guided countless younger geoscientists through their career, earning recognition and respect across the United Kingdom oil and gas community.”

In recognition of these outstanding contributions to Texaco and the UK Upstream Oil and Gas industry over a period of some 25 years, Her Majesty, the Queen of England, was pleased to award Mr. Moon an Honorary Order of the British Empire on July 16, 1998. The Right Honorable Margaret Beckett, MP, President of the Board of Trade and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry presented the award at a ceremony at the Admiralty House.

Mr. Moon was a member of the following societies: Sigma Gamma Epsilon, Society of the Sigma Xi, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Geological Society of America, and the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain. He has also been nominated to “Who's Who in the World” and “Who's Who in America”.

He is survived by a son, LTC Arland D. Moon and two grandchildren, Karen M. Moon and William K. Moon. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Marlene Joan Johnson Moon in 1975, and by his second wife, Erika Moon in 2007.

Mr. Moon can be viewed at the Doyne-Burger-Davis Funeral Home on December 8 from 6-7:30 p.m. He will be interred at the family cemetery at Read Oak Farm, outside of Farmville, at 11 a.m. on December 9.

Contributions can be made to the Department of Geological Sciences, VPI, 4044 Derring Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0420.

Doyne-Burger-Davis Funeral Home, Farmville, is in charge of arrangements.