GPA Midstream and GPA Midstream Suppliers Associations mourn the recent passing of Tom Russell, an innovative entrepreneur whose ideas and drive revolutionized the oil and gas industry. He was 89 years old.
“I love to build stuff,” Russell said. “A gas processing plant is the most fascinating thing to build.”
During a more than six-decade career, Russell built and sold two successful companies — TH Russell Co. and Thomas Russell Co. He remained active in the industry as chair of UOP Russell, when he sold his second company to UOP/Honeywell. He attributed the excellence of his companies to his three engineer sons and the other employee-owners of his companies.
Russell's penchant for hard work and drive to be productive made him a relentless inventor who innovated design processes, skid-mounted plants and equipment standardization. His solutions to oil and gas processing and production have a lasting influence throughout the industry that will extend for years to come.
As an industry leader, Russell was an active member of the GPSA Midstream Association, twice serving on the association’s board of directors for more than 19 years total, and as president in 1994-95. GPA Midstream presented Russell with the Hanlon Award in 1997, which is the most prestigious recognition and highest honor in the midstream industry. He also received the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 to recognize his leadership, service and contributions to the industry. He was elected to the University of Tulsa’s Engineering Hall of Fame in 1993.
“Tom may be known for his many technical innovations but his true legacy is the impact he had with people in the industry,” said GPA Midstream Executive Vice President Johnny Dreyer. “He was just a joy to be around. His generosity, love and wit are truly irreplaceable.”
Russell adored his family, including Pam, his wife of 28 years, and their blended family of eight children, spouses, and 20 grandchildren. Within the industry, he was a generous friend and mentor, who always wanted to see others succeed.
His family requests memorial donations in Russell’s name to the Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma.