Lester L. Whiting

1905 to 1982
Petroleum Geology

Lester L. WhitingLester L. Whiting was born March 31, 1905, in Lake Mills, Wisconsin. He was a graduate of the Milwaukee School of Engineering and the University of Wisconsin where he received his A.B. degree in 1933. In 1935, he married Marguerite Stiles at Cherokee, Iowa. The couple had a son, Nathan, and a daughter, Sara.

From 1935 to 1950, Whiting was a geologist with the Texas Company in Kansas, Oklahoma, the Appalachian area, and Illinois. He rose through the ranks to become a district geologist in the Mattoon and Salem offices in Illinois and then regional geologist in charge of the eastern United States for the Texas Company operating from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Whiting then worked as an independent geologist out of Des Moines, Iowa, before joining the Illinois State Geological Survey in 1951.

Whiting significantly advanced geological science in Illinois with major publications. His articles in 1956 and 1965, describing oil and gas play concepts on the Sangamon Arch in the Decatur-Mt. Auburn-Springfield area, were groundbreaking. His paper on the Spar Mountain Sandstone in 1959 provided an early comparison of sedimentary features in cores and on electrical logs with similar present-day features and the processes that form them. He was active in mapping structures on the base of the New Albany Shale and on the Devonian-Silurian Hunton Limestone Megagroup. He gave freely of his knowledge to industry and to his co-workers. One former employee praised his work, noting that Whiting had helped to give him his start in the petroleum industry.

Whiting was listed in Who's Who in the Midwest in 1956 and was President of the Illinois Geological Society in 1957. While at the Survey, he earned his M.A. degree in geology at the University of Illinois. In 1963, he became head of the ISGS Oil and Gas Section. He took early retirement in 1965, retiring to Cherokee, Iowa.

Honored by: 
Bradford Supply Company (W. Jack Chamblin, CEO)
Citation Contributed by: 
Morris W. Leighton and Beverly Seyler