John Lee Whitmire, 73, who was a leader in the energy industry for more than 50 years, died of complications from Parkinson’s disease on April 27.

Whitmire was born on Dec. 15, 1940, in Deming, N. M. His grandmother, Alberta “Birdie” Sherrill and his mother, Josephine Whitmire, both deceased, nurtured him through his formative years.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from New Mexico State University. In 1995, he received an honorary doctorate of law from the university.

Most of Whitmire’s career was with Phillips Petroleum Co., where he served for more than 30 years in various capacities. He started as a driller and worked his way to executive vice president and director. Following his retirement from Phillips, he led Union Texas Petroleum as chairman and CEO.

Whitmire later worked with Hunt Oil Co. of Canada as president, and he helped lead Consol Inc. and Consol Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX) as chairman of the board from 1999 until mid-2013.

His directorships included Haven Wealth Group, Global Marine, Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) and El Paso Corp.

A lifelong conservationist, he served on the management board of the Playa Lakes Joint Venture Wildlife Conservation Project. He also served on the board of the National Audubon Society and the advisory board of the Houston Audubon Society. He also assisted the Montana Audubon Society for many years.

Friends are invited to a visitation with the family from 1-2 p.m. on May 5 at Waltrip Funeral Home, 1415 Campbell Rd., Houston. A service will be held afterward in the funeral home’s chapel. The Rev. Thomas Morgan of Bay City, Texas, will officiate.

On May 8 in Cascade, Mont., visitation will be held from 9-10 a.m. at United Methodist Church, 3½ 3rd St. N. Burial will follow at the Hillside Cemetery in Cascade.

In lieu of customary remembrances, contributions in Whitmire's name may be directed to the Houston Audubon Society, the Montana Audubon Society or the Houston Area Parkinson’s Society.