Theodore ‘Ted’ Wirt Nelson ’34 of Westfield, N.J., died February 23, 2011. He was born in 1914 in Missoula, Mont., but was raised in Casper, Wyo. He graduated as valedictorian of his high school, and earned his professional degree in petroleum engineering at Mines. As a student he was a member of Tau Beta Pi and Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
He began his career with White Eagle Oil in Augusta, Kan., a subsidiary of Socony Vacuum, which later became Mobil Oil. Before moving to New Jersey to become manager of the Paulsboro Refinery in 1937, he married Elizabeth Wiley. At Paulsboro, he helped perfect the Houdry process for cracking gasoline, and during World War II, he was Mobil’s representative to the Aviation Gasoline Advisory Committee in Washington, D.C. By 1964, he was a senior VP for exploration and production at Mobil, and the same year Mines awarded him a Distinguished Achievement Medal. Appointed to Mines’ board of trustees, Ted was a passionate volunteer for the Westfield Y and his church. He was predeceased by his wife in 1997 and is survived by his son, John; two daughters, Barbara Nelson and Susan Elliot; nine grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.