Richard A. Bramkamp

Deceased: 1 September 1958

Under: Obituary

Richard A. Bramkamp, Aramco's Chief Geologist, died Sept. 1 at Memorial Hospital in New York City after a long illness. He was 48 years old.

Dr. Bramkamp was one of the pioneer geologists in Saudi Arabia and his work played a large role in Aramco's discovery of the Kingdom's great oil reserves.

Bom in Richmond, Ind., he later moved with his family to Banning, Calif. He was graduated from Pomona College at Claremont, Calif., and won his doctorate in 1934 from the University of California at Berkeley.

After serving for two years with the Museum of Paleontology at the university he joined the Standard Oil Company of California as a paleontologist in 1936. Later that year, he came to Saudi Arabia as an assistant to the late eminent geologist Max Steineke and had the excitement and adventure of having a great part in the discovery of Saudi Arabian oil.

He was promoted to Senior Paleontologist in 1944, and, in 1947, was made Chief Field Geologist and Chief Geologist.

In the fall of 1956, Dr. Bramkamp and Mrs. Crystal Warder, who was employed by Tapline in Beirut and who had formerly been assigned to the Oil Operations department in Dhahran, were married.

Burt Beverly, Jr., Manager, Exploration department, commenting on Bramkamp's career said: "Like Max Steineke, Dick was dedicated to the profession and science of geology. He was eager and enthusiastic in his field. One couldn't help but react to his interest and absorb a lot from Dick. He was invaluable in his instruction to younger men. He trained them in geological methods, inspired them to do things in a sound manner.

"He was reserved, almost shy on first meeting, but not, of course, to those who knew him best. He was always hesitant to barge in anywhere. He was a man who stuck to his own business. Yet, he was always ready to help, even eager to when invited or sought out. Dick was a diplomat. Always knew the right thing to say. This was especially evident in his field work.

"He was a real scholar and recently completed a syllabus of carbonite rock analysis. This was a culmination of the work he has done since his arrival in Saudi Arabia. He discovered it was possible to develop a system of rock typing for carbonites similar to those developed for shale and sandstone. This syllabus has been distributed widely and I'm glad he saw how successfully it was received. More and more requests for this treatise are received from oil industry and technical associations. It is an outstanding work, a scientific milestone that will someday be a standard work.

"Dick also was working, in conjunction with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Saudi Arab Government, on a geographic and geological Atlas of the Arabian peninsula. This will not be completed for a while, but Bramkamp did the groundwork on it and has set up the pattern to be followed.

"It won't be easy to replace Bramkamp. He was one in a million, a real scientist, devoted to his profession."

Surviving Dr. Bramkamp are his widow; his parents, Dr. and Mrs. Allen Lewis Bramkamp, of Banning, Calif.; his brother, Dr. Robert G. Bramkamp, of San Bernardino, Calif., and his sister, Mrs. Robert P. Booth of Eugene, Ore.

Memorial services were held at Christ Church Methodist, New York City, Sept. 4. Burial was in Banning, Calif., Sept. 8.

In lieu of flowers, Mrs. Bramkamp requested that friends contribute to the Cancer Foundation.

Madeline Bowler, Exploration department, Room 2000, Administration Building North, Dhahran, is collecting contributions from this area. These will go into one fund and will be presented to the Cancer Foundation, New York City. [Photograph]

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