Leon Geddis Byerley, Jr.

  • Leon Geddis Byerley, Jr
    Leon Geddis Byerley, Jr

Leon Geddis Byerley, Jr. “Leo” died peacefully on February 26 in Midland, Texas.

He was born in 1926 in Jonesboro, Arkansas and was the only child of Ruth Elizabeth DeGaris and Leon G. Byerley, Sr. His family moved to Midland in 1938 where Leo attended school from the 5th through 10th grades. He transferred to New Mexico Military Institute for his Junior and Senior years of high school.

He was drafted into the Army and served for a year in the 11 Airborne in the Army of Occupation in Japan. Leo married Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Miller on April 23, 1948 and enjoyed 48 years of marriage until losing Betty to cancer in 1996.

Leo received a B.S. Degree in Petroleum Engineering in 1951, and a B.S. Degree in Geology in 1952, both from the University of Texas at Austin. Betty and Leo had three children: Ruth Elizabeth, Leon Geddis III, and Daniel Clay. Leo was employed as a geologist in Midland by the Honolulu Oil Corporation from 1952 to 1960.

In 1961, he joined with Van Howbert and Don Caussey in a petroleum geology consulting firm. From 1970 on, he worked as an independent geologist. Leo was a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the American Association of Geologists, the West Texas Geological Society, and the Permian Basin Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists. He served on committees of the West Texas Geological Society and as a member of the board of the Southwest Section of the A.A.P.G from 1978 through 1979. He also served on the board of Las Manos of the Museum of the Southwest and he was president of that board when it produced the first SeptermberFest in 1973.

Leo was one of the founding members of the Unitarian Church of Midland. Leo was an avid tennis player and for many years was on the courts at the Racquet Club with his doubles partners.

Betty and Leo took time in the 1970s and 80s to pursue their interest in world history and archaeology in a series of travels including Mexico, Egypt, Turkey and many sites in the Mediterranean. Leo was a skilled film photographer, a good chess player and a competent computer programmer in the earliest days of the personal computer. He was a truly great husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather.

Leo was preceded in death by his parents and his wife Betty.

His survivors include his three children, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. A private family graveside service will be held, and donations may be made to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Midland.