Bates, Jr., J.W. | 1981

  • Birth and Death Year | 1919-1992
  • Induction Year | 1981
  • Profession | Oilman
  • Oklahoma Connection | Bates lived most of his life in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
  • Hometown | Tulsa

Fun Fact

John W. Bates, Jr., is the grandson of Charles Colcord, the great Oklahoma pioneer lawman and oilman. Colcord was an early marshal in Oklahoma City and a pioneer in the Glenn Pool oil field near Tulsa, Oklahoma.


“He does, indeed, emulate the first pioneering and resourceful qualities of your great State.” - George H. W. Bush, 1981


John W. Bates, Jr., was born in Iowa and received his B.A. degree from Dartmouth College in 1941. After five years as a navy pilot, he drilled for oil in west Texas and in 1955, with C. E. Thornton, formed one of the first offshore drilling companies in the Gulf Coast. Reading & Bates soon became one of the largest oil well drilling companies in the world, spanning five continents, with total assets of more than $700 million. Bates served as chairman and CEO of the company and was also director of Southwestern Bell, chairman of the Tulsa Airport Authority, and served on the boards of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Hillcrest Hospital.