People’s jobs become part of their fiber and this is no different for Dean Weis. Weis worked in the oil and gas fields for many years and was the curator of the Kansas Oil and Gas museum for 11 years, retiring from this position in December of 2015.
On Wednesday, the museum held its annual hamburger feed for retired oil workers in Barton County. This year’s feed was also a way for the oil and gas museum to recognize Weis for all the hard work and his years of service to the museum.
“I loved being the curator,” Weis said. “It meant a lot to me and I enjoyed it very much.”
Weis was born in 1929 just as the oil and gas boom hit Barton County. He began working in the industry in his mid-20s, first as an equipment operator, and continued to grow his career until he retired in 1993.
In 1957 Weis went to work for Dowell Oil and Gas and worked for them for 27 years, retiring from that company in 1984.
One experience Weis had while working for Dowell made the pages of an industry magazine which is part of the collection at the museum. It was March, 1957, and Weis was 28 years old, and a new employee with Dowell Oil.
Doug McGillvery and Dean Weis spent an unpleasant 12 hours or so in the back of a dump sand truck. Also crowded in the truck were six Dowellers from Borger, and three stranded men and three women, 14 all together. Most of the week following was spent in “Operation Dig Out.
Weis also had the happy experience of working on the deepest wellthat made history.
“While I worked for the company, I had the opportunity of working on the deepest well in the world at that time,” Weis said. “The well, located three miles east of Sayer, Okla., was 31,400 feet deep.”
In 1977, Dowell Oil transferred Weis to their Great Bend station and he became the assistant manager. Then came the 1980s, a bad time for the oil industry in the U.S.
“In 1983, they sold 50 percent of us to Schlumberger, and 30 days later, they retired 483 of us,” he said.
But Weis has not complained at all. He continues to receive his pension, and he went on to work for his former competitors for an additional 10 years before officially retiring.
The Kansas Oil and Gas Museum located at 5944 10th St. was founded in 1990 by a group interested in preserving the history of the oil and gas industry.
The main building of the museum displays such phases of the industry as geology, drilling, well completion, production and refining, and products manufactured with oil. The main building also houses the Kansas Oil and Gas Hall of Fame.
There is also a building dedicated to educational exhibits about the industry and about energy production in general.
The goal of the Kansas Oil and Gas Museum is to provide educational information about present industry activities, to preserve the past history of the oil and gas industry, and to honor those who have dedicated their lives to the industry.