Richard Overall "Dick" Wilson

February 3, 1930February 27, 2019
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Richard Overall “Dick” Wilson passed away on Wednesday, the 27th of February 2019. He was 89 years old.

Dick was born on the 3rd of February 1930 in Coleman, Texas and then spent his childhood in Guatemala where Spanish was his primary language. In 1943 at age 13, he returned to Texas and attended Lampasas High School where he graduated as Valedictorian in 1948. He was then sent by the United States Navy to Rice University as a midshipman in the Regular NROTC program. He graduated as a Civil Engineer from Rice where he was a member of Tau Beta Pi, the Honorary Engineering Society. At Rice he met his lifetime best friend Mary Ellen Kinzbach, and they were married in Houston, Texas on the 27th of December 1952.

Dick was commissioned in the United States Marine Corps, and served from June 1952 to June 1955. He was in Korea from May 1953 to May 1954 where he was assigned to the First Combat Engineer Battalion and was stationed on the front lines through the remaining duration of the war. After the truce, his Battalion rebuilt the Marine’s portion of the frontline and created a portion of the DMZ that stands to this day.

After his Marine Corps service, Dick returned to Rice and in 1956 embarked on a career in the then emerging offshore energy construction field. Among many firsts, he worked on Aluminum Platforms in Lake Maracaibo, the first Structures and Floating Drilling in the Gulf of Paria, the North Sea where he oversaw the development, construction and installation of the first Hydrocarbon Structures, the first Platforms in Angola, and the first Structure and Pipeline in the Bay of Campeche. He was also responsible for projects in Guanabara Bay and the offshore Ilheus in Brazil, the West African Coast, the Arabian Gulf, the Northwest Shelf of Australia, the South China Sea off Borneo, and Mexico.

His many industry contributions were recognized when he was inducted into the Offshore Energy Center’s Industry Pioneers Hall of Fame in 2000. He held Senior Officer positions and Directorships in Brown & Root, Halliburton Services, Dolphin Drilling, AOC and OGC in the United Kingdom, CCC in Mexico, and Directorships in Callon Petroleum and Flotek Industries in the United States.

Over the years, Dick and Mary Ellen and their children lived in Venezuela, Trinidad, Brazil, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Mexico. They also traveled extensively and developed many long lasting relationships here in Texas and all over the globe. When in Houston, Dick organized many Rice University Class of ‘52 reunions, meetings and fundraising efforts. In 2007, he received a Meritorious Award for Service to Rice. Many other organizations also benefited from Dick and Mary Ellen Wilson’s philanthropic endeavors including the Friends of Fondren Library and Woodson Research Center both at Rice University, Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, The Printing Museum in Houston, and Faith in Practice - a medical mission serving the Mayan population in Guatemala.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 67 years Mary Ellen Kinzbach Wilson; his sister Peggy Ann Macha and husband Laddie; his sister-in-law Harriett Morrow and husband Dewitt; his five children Richard Overall Wilson Jr. (Pamela Ford Wilson), Mary Kathryn Wilson Luck (Oliver Francis Luck), Robert Wyman Wilson (Karyn Wooten Clinch), Margaret Ann Wilson Sturm (Timothy Sturm), and William Chandler Wilson (Maxine Peel Wilson); his sixteen grandchildren Robby Wilson, Andrew Luck (Nicole Pechanec), Katie Wilson (Shawn Robinson), Mary Ellen Luck, Lucia Wilson (William Baird), Tom Sturm (Samantha Calvetti), Reid Wilson, Emily Luck, Henry Sturm (Leah Nash), Ringo Wilson, Addison Luck, Amanda Sturm, Claire Wilson, Owen Wilson, Ely Wilson, Olivia Wilson, and many other relatives and friends in Texas and around the world.

Mary Ellen would like to express a special thank you to Yaneth Matute and Christina Gonzalez for their kind and compassionate care during these past years.

The memorial service and celebration of Richard’s life is to be conducted at four o’clock in the afternoon on Wednesday, the 6th of March, in the Jasek Chapel of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston. Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception in the adjacent grand foyer.

In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial contributions may be directed to Faith in Practice by visiting or the Woodson Research Center at Rice University by visiting


  • Memorial Service and Celebration of Richard’s Life Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Richard Overall "Dick" Wilson

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Gordon Shepherd

March 16, 2019

My wife Grace and I have many memories of Dick Wilson, and Mary Ellen, stretching from Abu Dhabi, through Aberdeen in Scotland and London to Houston, Texas. The company connections were through the oil & gas construction industry via AOC International, and subsequently Belmont Construction in Houston. Dick was a hugely experienced engineer & executive in the oil & gas industry, with amazing connections. He and Mary Ellen showed much kindness to my wife and I when we moved to Houston in 1996. They were both incredibly welcoming, erudite and informed on a wide range of subjects, and I recall how Dick could talk knowledgeably about the history of Texas, world history, geography and many other subjects, and he was quite a linguist too. One of his special talents was in arranging trips to meet some of their many friends overseas, with meticulous planning as to dates, restaurants and even taking the trouble to ask for a particular table with a great view; from him I learned that with such preparation you can make things happen according to your wishes, rather than leaving it to chance. Dick was a gentleman and we have some wonderful memories of him , and Mary Ellen too, for which we are grateful. We send our condolences to Mary Ellen and their family.
Gordon & Grace Shepherd in Scotland

Peggy Beeler

March 10, 2019

Dearest Mary Ellen,
Kathy just notified me that we have lost a great man. I have such fond memories of you and Dick in Summit County. I always looked forward to his famous paella. You both were so gracious to have everyone over every year. I am glad that Kathy and Oliver have stayed in touch. You and Dick had so many wonderful years together. I hope somewhere your stories are in writing.

My heart goes out to you!

John Hyslop

March 5, 2019

Dear Mary Ellen.
We are all saddened to hear of Dicks passing and our love and prayers are with you and your lovely family at this difficult time .
I want to recall one of the happiest memories Marjorie and I have when you and Dick took us on a hay ride in Austin Texas .
The love and friendship of those times together will never be forgotten and the bonds of friendship we formed then are everlasting .
Dick was an amazing man supported by a fabulous family .

Love and prayed from all at the Hyslop family

Lisa DeLand

March 5, 2019

Mary Ellen, I'm thinking of you and your family as you navigate this time and the moments to come. May they be filled with ease and Grace. Love, Lisa

Maggie Guitar

March 5, 2019

I have been sad for days having heard of Dick's passing. We had so many happy times together, almost too many to count! But I especially remember the trip on the Lady Gabriella, which Dick organised so beautifully. And Ross and Earl did nothing but eat St Tropez tarts! As I said, there are too many trips that Dick organised so well for me to recount them all. But you will remember!

Dick was so kind and generous and a good example to everyone of how to live. Work hard, play hard!
And you were always beside him, helping him with everything. He will be terribly missed by many people, me especially. I hope I will see you in Houston before too long when I come to see Sandy.

Lots of love,
Maggie x

Joe Shaffer

March 3, 2019

Mary Kathryn and her children, Andrew and Mary Ellen, were living here in Lakeway while Oliver was in Europe. Mary Ellen played on a basketball team here with my granddaughter, Elissa Underwood Helling. I videoed all my "grands" basketball, football, track, volleyball, etc. games; so, I made a copy of Mary Ellen's game for Mary Kathryn to send to Oliver in Europe. Mary Kathryn bought a plant, brought it over before they moved back to Houston (Lake Travis' loss was Stratford's gain) to thank "Bennie" and me for the tape. "Class acts" provide lasting memories.
Like I say: Class "guys" raise class kids"; and, their "grandkids" are not too "shabby"!
Sorry for your loss. Dick lived an exemplary life.
Joe (Rice, "1955") and "Bennie" (Marialice) Shaffer
Lakeway, Texas

Pat & Ed Freeburg

March 2, 2019

Dear, dear Mary Ellen, we are so saddened that Dick no longer inhabits our world....he taught us so odysseys, buying French cars in Europe, Francophilia, paella cenas; now we'll be so bored. We have missed you in the mountains.

We love you, M.E.

pat parker freeburg (and ed)