Fred Franke Meissner (named after his grandfather Fred Meissner) was born in Denver, Colorado on November 10, 1931, the son of Marguerite Franke and Harman S. Meissner, a civil engineer with the Bureau of Reclamation (he was an assistant engineer for the construction of Boulder Dam, relocating to Denver in 1930). Fred became a prominent geologist and engineer who contributed to the fields of geology, geophysics, engineering, petroleum engineering, geochemistry, mineralogy, physics, mining, economic geology, and fishing.
Fred graduated from South High School in Denver. He developed an interest in rocks, minerals and mining and attended the Colorado School of Mines, graduating with a degree in Geological Engineering in 1953. He was an ROTC cadet while in college and received a commission upon graduation, but deferred his call to Korean War era service for one year in order to complete his Master's Degree, graduating in 1954, the year he joined the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. Funded by a Shell fellowship, his master's thesis concerned the geology of the Doctor mine, a lead-zinc replacement deposit in the Leadville Limestone, in Gunnison County, Colorado.
After completing a tour of duty with the United States Army Corps of Engineers in 1956 he began his professional career with Shell Oil Company, where he worked for the next 17 years. While there he worked with a number of leading petroleum exploration geologists and, notably, with M. King Hubbert, acknowledged by Meissner as his mentor. In recognition of Meissner's potential, in 1965 he was transferred to Shell Development Company in Houston where he conducted basic research on hydrocarbon origin, migration and accumulation.
Meissner was a prolific technical writer and authored over 45 publications and papers focusing primarily on hydrocarbon generation, migration and accumulation. From 1980 to 1991 Meissner was exploration manager at Bird Oil Corporation; he also served as exploration manager of the Rocky Mountain region for Standard Oil of Ohio (Sohio). During his career he was associated with Webb Resources, Filon Exploration Corporation, Trend Minerals Corporation, and Shell Oil Company. Since 1991 he has been an independent consultant and professor of geology at the Colorado School of Mines where he sat on thesis committees, taught a graduate course in Advanced Petroleum Geology, and was a guest lecturer.
He has received numerous awards. He was the 2008 recipient of the Sidney Powers Memorial Award. He also received the Grover Murray Distinguished Educator Award in 2005, and the Mines Medal in 1997. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) awarded Meissner the A.L. Levorson Award for the Rocky Mountain Section in 1976, and awarded him an honorary AAPG membership in 2001. He was a member of the Geological Society of America and was elected a fellow in 1988. He was named Scientist of the Year by Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists (RMAG) in 1976, presented with the RMAG's Distinguished Service Award in 1991, served as president of RMAG in 1997, and is an honorary member. In 1986 he received a Distinguished Service Medal for career achievement from Colorado School of Mines and was awarded the Mines Medal for unusual and exemplary service to the School in 2000.
Fred Meissner died on September 18, 2007. He was survived by his wife Jackie (Jaquelyn Lea); three children, Mark, Susanna, and Mike; eight grandchildren; and his brother, Dick. He had a mineral collection, with the date "1943" printed under his name, but its significance is unknown – unless perhaps it is the year in which he first took up mineral collecting (he would have been 12 years old).
The Ogden Standard newspaper.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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