Robert J. Graebner

March 9, 1924January 28, 2019

Robert (Bob) was born on a farm near Macksville, Kansas, on March 9, 1924, and died on January, 28, 2019. He was preceded in death by his parents, Clare and Charles Graebner and his brother, Donald Graebner. He is survived by his wife, Esther, and their children, son, Dr. Mark Graebner, daughters, Donna and Carol (Wall), son-in-law, Dr. Bruce Wall, granddaughter, Katie Wall, and step-grandson, Alex Wall, sister, Charleen (Graebner) Knickerbocker, sister-in-law, Betty Graebner, and two nieces, Mary Helen Mendelson and Ann Graebner. After graduating from the high school in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Bob attended the University of Colorado for one semester before enlisting in the U. S Army, where he served three years during World War II, including nine months in the European Theater of operations. After the war, he returned to the University of Colorado, where he graduated with honors with BS and MS degrees in physics. He had a lifelong career in geophysics. He was active in the development of the seismic method for exploration in the petroleum industry. He was employed by Geophysical Service Inc, the parent company of Texas Instruments, for 40 years and for Halliburton for another 6 years. He served in managerial positions in research and development, data processing, and marketing. In the last few years, he has been a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. He was a lifetime member of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, and a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, the Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists, and the Dallas Geophysical Society in addition to many other professional societies. He was a lifetime member of the Dallas Petroleum Club and of the Petroleum Club Wildcat Committee. He was a member of the Board of Trustees External Visiting Committee of the Department of Geophysics at the Colorado School of Mines for fourteen years and served on the Advisory Board of the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado for four years. He received numerous honors and awards for his achievements in professional endeavors. Among them were the Colorado Springs High School Hall of Fame awarded in 2007, the Doctor of Science degree granted in 2006 by the University of Colorado, and in 2005, the Maurice Ewing Metal, the highest honor conferred by the Society of Exploration Geophysicists . If desired, in lieu of flowers, please direct gifts to the University of Colorado Foundation, College of Engineering and Applied Science, 422 UCB, Boulder, Colorado, 80301. The family would also like to acknowledge the kind and loving attention of Faith Presbyterian Hospice, Acapella, and Dr. J. Paul Sanders.


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.

Robert J. Graebner

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Huw James

April 17, 2019

I considered both Bob and Milo to be my friends and that is true for many GSI'ers. I came to Dallas to work on the TI 870 computer for 3-6 weeks in 1966 and I'm still here, typical. The months slipped past and finally I returned to London in December 1968 with the TI 870A which was sent because the accountants deemed so, to gather all the investment tax credits. Two of us had pushed the computer hardware to acceptance status and two of us pushed the software to readiness .The Croydon office did not take lightly to being billed for a machine that they could not use to make money. So there was a lot of stress getting it ready. Bob flew over to England and we held a meeting, Bob asked whether it worked I said yes, he closed up his book and flew back go Dallas terminating the meeting after about the twenty seconds ask the question and get his answer. After that we were fully bonded and both us smiled broadly when we met. Bob really pushed time lapse seismic especially at Mines where he was a member of Tom Davies' RCP group. Best wishes to all in his family. Bob was a very dear and kind man. I have a picture of him at the North slope visiting an Analog Crew @ 1966 some where,Huw

Marion Bone

March 8, 2019

I began working in Bob's chain of command while reporting to Mel Carter who reported directly to Bob (in about 1965). Thru the years, I was amazed that he could keep so many "balls moving in the air" and still remain calm with a big smile. Later in my career at GSI I worked reporting directly to him. With that situation, we established a friendship with he, Esther and family that has endured thru the present . Our family will miss seeing him with his ever present warm smile and jovial positive attitude.

Jeannine (Neal) Woods

February 5, 2019

Bob was a truly wonderful and unique person who had the rare quality of bringing out the best in other people. He had great rapport with the managers reporting to him and they had a deep respect for him. He never looked over your shoulder while you worked but just let you do your job.

I worked for Bob for over 25 years and he made my job a pleasure to go to each day. He even covered my mistakes by telling others and clients that he probably had not made his instructions clear to me. What a boss! He was very patient with me and I learned so much from him.

Bob did tend to wait until the last minute to start preparing his presentations to clients or upper management, even with frequent reminders from me. His creative juices didn't seem to kick in until the deadline was upon him and then we had to go into overdrive to get it finished in time. I remember one time I had typed the last vu-graph and he was literally ready to run down the hall and out to his car to hurry to the North Building but when I handed him the file it slipped out of my hands and everything scattered all over the floor. We were both on our hands and knees trying to recover all the pages and put them back in the right order. He just calmly helped me and wasn't upset. I collapsed in my chair after he left!

He will be missed by so many who were blessed to have known him. I am one of those. His sense of humor was priceless and kept a lot of us laughing. He held many titles and important positions but none of it ever changed his kind and caring personality. He was a joy to be around because he was so special.

Ian Jack

February 5, 2019

He was an inspiration to very many, certainly to Eleanor and me. Many thanks Bob.

John Anderson

February 5, 2019

Bob touched many lives within GSI and many many more within the industry and in educational institutions. He was always a delight to be around.
When I was based in Bedford, Bob was going to be in Europe several days and asked me to set up visits with some of the clients that I had been visiting. One of the meetings that I arranged was with an executive VP with Enepsa in Madrid. I told Bob I was sure it would go better for him than me because during my one on one meeting the guy got up and walked out without saying anything. He laughed and said he would let me know how it went. Bob called me after the meeting to let me know the same thing happened to him. We laughed about that one many times.
We all knew he was very intelligent, innovative and business like, but he was also just a joy to visit with and laugh with.

Patricia Gilbert

February 4, 2019

I was lucky to celebrate many Christmas Eves with the Graebners at my grandparents tree trimming party. It was always a special moment when my grandmother unwrapped the ornament Ester and Bob brought back some from adventure. Those last few Christmas parties Bob really made the day as he was instrumental in installing the tree and repairing the light strings. I am saddened by Bob's passing but can only laugh at the thought of he and Jim telling stories. Condolences to the family and those whose lives were touched by Bob.

Alistair Brown

February 4, 2019

Bob was my boss in GSI Dallas from 1978 to 1987. He was always very supportive and enthusiastic about my projects, and I feel that much of what I accomplished was because of Bob. Those were years of great progress for the company.
I also remember the difficulty of securing an appointment with Bob because he was so busy. I would call Jeanine, his secretary, and she would suggest that I might get 5 minutes of his time at 1.45pm. I would come armed with several questions, like “may I buy a ticket to Australia ?” Typically it took him 10 seconds to consider such a request and to answer “yes”.
He was a giant of our profession and he will be sorely missed.

Dave Monk

February 4, 2019

I first moved to Dallas as a young geophysicist in 1984 to be a student in GSI's "Area Geophysicist University". I knew Bob by reputation, but he was a "God" in the world of Geophysics and so far above me in any sort of corporate ladder, that when I first crossed paths in the hall I was stunned when he stopped, addressed me by my first name, and asked how things were going. He always had time for questions, and we spoke regularly. He showed me that no matter who you were, he had time for everyone. He will be greatly missed. .. Dave Monk

Keith Burkart

February 4, 2019

Bob was my managers manager when I was fresh in my career at GSI. As a college fresh out he had this air of seniority and respect about him that was impressive, but he always had a smile.
I started dating Liz Ann Garrison who also reported up the chain to Bob and in September 1982 we were to be married. We invited lots of our friends and associates from GSI, including Bob an Ester.
Early one morning I got a call from Bob and he told me to come to his office immediately. A bit unnerving for a young guy like me when the industry was in turmoil. When I arrived he was in a somewhat serious mood. He asked if Liz Ann was at work and I told him I thought so. Upon hearing this he told me to call her from his phone and get her to his office. When she appeared he announced that he could not be at our wedding due to an upcoming trip to China, a big event in those days. He said that he insisted with Ester that he present us our wedding present before he left and with this he took us out to his car to give us the gift, the first wedding present we received. It is a beautiful silver pitcher that we cherish to this day for it comes from two lovely, and special people.
Liz Ann and I, happily married now for 36 and a half years, extend our deepest sympathies for the passing of this wonderful man. Our paths drifted apart, but when they crossed it was always highlight to see him. May Bob rest in peace.