HEFNER FAMILY HISTORY IN THE ENERGY BUSINESS
Judge Robert A. Hefner, 1959
Judge Robert A. Hefner, 1959
Judge Robert A. Hefner
Robert A. Hefner, Robert A. Hefner III’s grandfather, was the first of the Hefners to become an energy explorer. Robert A. Hefner graduated from the University of Texas in 1902 with a bachelor of law degree, and in 1903 began his law practice in Beaumont, Texas, just after the world famous Spindletop oil field was discovered. He founded his law firm before there was established oil and gas law, so he was among those who shaped the early development of American oil and gas law. He drafted one of the early most used lease forms of the era, commonly called the “Hefner Form.” In 1905 he was asked to help four American Indian families get on national rolls so they could receive their allotment of land. He was paid with an interest in the properties which became part of the Healdton oil field in Carter County, Oklahoma. The discovery helped bring Hefner both his fortune and an increased interest in the oil and gas industry. In 1909 the Hefner family moved to Ardmore, Oklahoma. He founded The Hefner Company, which specialized in oil and gas, and became an expert in the legal aspects of the burgeoning oil industry. Hefner was named Justice of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma from 1926 to 1933, where he wrote numerous opinions regarding landmark cases, many in oil and gas. To those who knew him well, he was always called “the Judge.” From 1939 to 1947 he served as Mayor of Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City's Lake Hefner, Hefner Middle School, Hefner Road and Lake Hefner Parkway are all named after The Judge, who continued in the oil and gas business with both his sons, including his eldest – Robert A. Hefner Jr. He was inducted into Oklahoma's Hall of Fame in 1949.

 

Robert A. Hefner Jr., 1976
Robert A. Hefner Jr., 1976
Robert A. Hefner Jr.
Robert A. Hefner Jr., the Judge’s son and Robert A. Hefner III’s father, was born in Beaumont, Texas in 1907 but grew up in Oklahoma, where his family moved in 1909. After graduation from Stanford in 1928, he received a law degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1930, then practiced oil and gas law in several venues, including the Illinois Basin and Indiana. In 1946 he assumed leadership of The Hefner Company and its oil and gas interests. The firm drilled, produced and operated its own wells. Hefner Junior’s first venture was the development of an area in Carter County which linked together the Tussy and Tatums Pools. Twenty-two wells were drilled, all of which were producers. He also handled the development of the Cox-Hefner Lease in the Velma Pool, with some wells having more than 1,000 feet of producing sand in the Sims section of the Springer formation. In 1952 Hefner Jr. formed The Hefner Production Company and under his direction, the Hefner companies continued to drill, produce, and operate their own wells in addition to maintaining a large mineral position in many oil and gas provinces. Hefner Jr. was one of the founders of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association and also served as a Vice President of the Independent Petroleum Association of America. He was inducted into Oklahoma's Hall of Fame in 1973 and received the Oklahoma Outstanding Oil Man Award in 1976.