Welcome back. I once knew a man who had been the National Collegiate Basketball player of the year and who, before graduating from the University of Kansas with a degree in Civil Engineering, in his last year of school made the all-time All American team and friends not just everyone is on that team.
After being named the greatest basketball player to ever play at KU, in 1923 he took a job with Phillips Petroleum Company and spent the next forty-four doing any job that Frank Phillips and Boots Adams asked him to do. From construction, research and liquefied petroleum gas to sales, marketing and employee relations, he was involved with every part of the company’s operations. In 1951 when Boots became the Chairman and CEO of Phillips, this man became President of the company and when Boots retired he took his job.
He had started out staking wells right out of college and then moved on to work in the gas plants and on pipelines, working around the world. Now President of one of the world’s fastest growing companies, this man went on to have a successful career as a top executive until his retirement in 1967. But even then he was not done with life, going on to lead the boards of many not for profit groups including serving for twenty-two years on the Frank Phillips Foundation board which manages Frank’s favorite place, Woolaroc.
Beloved by family, friends, business associates and neighbors, I met this man later in his life when he was much sought after for his knowledge of Phillips’ history. As a young boy I had seen him often at the original YMCA where I was a member and he was a director. He radiated happiness and well-being which seemed to spread among all the kids including myself.
He and I were both much older when our paths crossed again in the mid-1990s at a membership party at Woolaroc and it was easy to see that he loved this place as much as Frank had. I was so glad to see him one more time because a few years later he passed away at Jane Phillips Medical Center on January 8, 1997. He was 94. He was praised and mourned by his associates at Phillips and around the world. He was a man I once knew and his name, which we should never forget, was Paul Endacott.
From a man I admired years ago to a man I know and admire now. He was born into a loving family but they were poor. The boy grew up with a work ethic like none I’ve known and became so successful that kings and queens called him friends. Yet like Paul Endacott he never forgot his roots. It was recently announced that he and six others will be inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame on November 16th a. A transplant to Oklahoma, I’ll leave you guessing until next week and till then,
I’ll see ya down the road.