Marvin Gearhart, 92, passed away at his Fort Worth home on July 20, 2019.
Gearhart was a successful Fort Worth businessman who, along with partner Harold Owens, founded Gearhart-Owen Industries, Inc. The company went public in 1964 and became the world’s third-largest oilfield service company before being acquired by Halliburton in 1989.
Gearhart was a member of the board at Texas Christian University.
In a 2008 profile on Gearhart, he told us: “I grew up in the business. My dad was a driller and a pumper. So, from a very young age I listened to my dad and another cousin and his father talk. Sunday dinners, that was all we’d talk about, the oil business. Growing up in the business, it is in your blood.”
Innovations developed by Gearhart and his partner, Harold Owen, paved the way for key technological advances such as horizontal drilling, which has helped make the Barnett Shale development possible.
In the 1970s, Gearhart began developing an innovative series of open-hole tools and computerized analysis systems, completing the task in 1975. The result – a Direst Digital Logging system, outperformed existing analog systems used by competition and began generating significant income for Gearhart-Owen.
The company also developed Measure While Drilling technology. MWD not only saved drilling companies time and money because it eliminated the wireline, it helped make directional drilling easier because down hole tools were able to send directional data back to the surface without disturbing drilling operations.
By the end of that decade, the company was one of the fastest growing companies on the New York Stock Exchange.
After the acquisition of Gearhart Industries in 1988 by Halliburton, Gearhart formed Rock Bit International. This company manufactured drill bits and MWD systems. He sold that business in 2005.
“Technology is the biggest aspect (of how the industry has changed over the years),” Gearhart said in that 2008 interview. “That is the whole thing that makes the Barnett Shale possible — the new technology. I try to apply new technology to solve problems. We were already here right in the middle of the Barnett Shale, so it came in all around us.”
A Celebration of Life will take place at on July 25 at 2 p.m. at
University Christian Church
2720 S University Drive
Fort Worth, TX, 76109
To read Gearhart’s obituary: