Philanthropist and Reagan Friend, T. Boone Pickens, Dead at 91


Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens died on Wednesday at his Texas home at the age of 91.

Spokesman Jay Rosser said the longtime Dallas resident passed from natural causes as he was surrounded by friends and family.

Pickens had been in declining health following a series of strokes and a head injury sustained during a 2017 fall.

“In late 2017, he put his sprawling 100-square-mile Mesa Vista Ranch in the Texas Panhandle on the market for $250 million, and a few months later, he closed his energy hedge fund, BP Capital, to outside investors,” CNBC reported.

Pickens was a major Republican Party donor during his lifetime, strongly backing both Ronald Reagan’s presidential runs in the 1980s and George W. Bush’s gubernatorial and presidential campaigns in the 1990s and 2000s.

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Most recently, he offered his support to Donald Trump and provided counsel to the current president about America’s energy policy, according to Fox Business.

Pickens made his fortune in the oil business, founding Mesa Petroleum and acquiring multiple other oil companies on his way to becoming a multi-billionaire.

The Associated Press reported that Pickens signed the “giving pledge” started by billionaire investor Warren Buffet and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to donate the majority of his money to charity.

In 2007, Forbes estimated the Texan’s fortune at $3 billion, but by 2016 the publication said his net worth had dropped to $500 million.

Do you admire Pickens for giving most of his fortune away during his lifetime?

The philanthropist donated more than $1 billion during his lifetime, including to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

He also contributed $165 million to the athletic department of his alma mater, Oklahoma State University, for a stadium renovation, which the school then named in his honor.

In 2005, Pickens also donated $10 million to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California to underwrite the building of the facility’s Air Force One Pavilion, according to The Dallas Morning News.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation described Pickens as a “close, personal friend” of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

“For President Reagan, he provided important leadership in the 1980 and 1984 election campaigns and provided wise counsel and unparalleled devotion to the missions of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute,” the statement read.

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Bush, who like Pickens began his career in the oil business, described him in a statement on Wednesday as “bold, imaginative and daring.”

“He was successful — and more importantly, he generously shared his success with institutions and communities across Texas and Oklahoma,” Bush added. “He loved the outdoors, his country, and his friends and family, and Laura and I send our condolences.”

Pickens said on his website, “I firmly believe one of the reasons I was put on this Earth was to make money, and be generous with it.”

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 3,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith