NORMAN — Bill D. Saxon passed away Tuesday, May 13, 2014, after a short battle with a very aggressive cancer. Mr. Saxon was born June 20, 1928, in Paoli to George and Syble Saxon.
After his father’s bank failed in the crash of 1929, the family moved to Norman. He grew up in Norman and graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1951 after a brief stint in the Marines toward the end of World War II. His experience in the Marines led to a leadership role in ROTC during his college years, which, in turn, led to his Army service in the Korean War as a forward observer for the artillery.
Just prior to graduation, he married Wylodean Cornelison on March 20, 1951, and the following year began his service in Korea, where he was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action. Upon his return, he joined the training program at Gulf Oil Company, which transferred him all over the Oklahoma “oil patch,” learning the business from the ground up. He left Gulf to gain experience in equipment, drilling and exploration and production companies, working toward his goal of starting his own company. He reached that goal by forming Saxon Oil Company in 1963. Along the way, he and Wylodean had three children and settled in Abilene, Texas.
After exploring and producing oil and gas all over the Eastern Shelf in north central Texas during the 1960s, he moved his operations to Midland. Saxon Oil became one of the most active companies in the Spraberry Trend Area in the early 1970s, eventually drilling more than 700 successful wells through a series of public and private partnerships. Saxon Oil Company became public in 1980.
Throughout his career, he remained a very active University of Oklahoma alumnus. At OU, he advanced the arts and culture of Oklahoma through his support of OU’s two major museums — the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art — which is enjoyed annually by thousands. At the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, he created the Wylodean Saxon Memorial Lecture Series to bring distinguished artists, collectors and authors to the museum and to other university programs.