T. Boone Pickens Biography, Age, Family, Spouse, Career, Net Worth, Foundation, Quotes

T. Boone Pickens

T. Boone Pickens Biography

T. Boone Pickens whose birth name is Thomas Boone Pickens Jr. is an American capitalist who started the Mesa Petroleum Company with a $2,500 investment and built it into the largest independent oil and gas company in America.

Then he shook corporate America with a series of hostile takeover attempts that earned him a reputation as a corporate raider. Pickens’ ideas about corporate restructuring, and the tactics he used for achieving them, were controversial during the 1980s, but have become standard procedure in executive suites today.


T. Boone Pickens Jr. was born in  Holdenville, Oklahoma, the United States on May 22, 1928. Unfortunately, he died in 2019 at the age of 91 years.


Pickens attended Texas A&M on a basketball scholarship, but he lost the scholarship and transferred to Oklahoma A&M now Oklahoma State University, where he majored in geology.


T.Boone Pickens’ father was an oil company lawyer who claimed a distant kinship to Daniel Boone. Pickens’ mother ran the Office of Price Administration (OPA) for three Oklahoma counties during World War II. The OPA was responsible for rationing gas and other goods that were in short supply during the war.

Pickens’ parents, along with a grandmother and aunt who lived next door, instilled the young boy with old-fashioned values. They encouraged him to work hard and use his time and money productively.

Pickens, who was known as “Boone,” filled his time with Boy Scout activities, clarinet practice, sports, and a newspaper route. In 1944, the family moved to Amarillo, Texas, where Pickens’ father took a job in the land acquisitions division of Phillips Petroleum Company.

T. Boone Pickens Spouse

In 1949, he married Lynn O’Brien, whom he had dated on and off since high school. Within a year, their first child, Deborah, was born. The couple had three more children, Pam, Mike, and Thomas Boone III.

Pickens divorced Lynn in 1971. In April 1972, Pickens married Beatrice Bea Carr Stuart and adopted one of her daughters, Elizabeth Liz Cordia. They had no children together. In November 2000, Pickens married Nelda Cain. They divorced in November 2004. They had no children together.

In 2005, Pickens married Madeleine Paulson, the third wife, and widow of the founder of Gulfstream Aerospace, Allen E. Paulson. Pickens and Madeleine lived in Preston Hollow, Dallas, and owned a ranch along the Canadian River in the Texas Panhandle. They divorced amicably in 2012 and had no children together.

It was reported on December 4, 2013, that Pickens’ public relations representative told an NBC 5 affiliate reporter that he had proposed to Toni Chapman Brinker, widow of restaurateur Norman Brinker, at his ranch in Pampa. The couple married on February 14, 2014. The couple later divorced in June 2017. Pickens has four biological children and one adopted daughter

T.Boone Pickens Career

By 1981, Mesa had grown into one of the largest independent oil companies in the world. Pickens led Mesa’s first major acquisition, a takeover of the Hugoton Production Company, which was 30 times the size of Mesa. He then shifted his focus to acquiring other oil and gas companies by making solicited and unsolicited buyout bids and other merger and acquisition activities.

Boones’ corporate acquisitions made him a celebrity during the 1980s, an era of vigorous and extensively reported takeover activity.

His most publicized deals included attempted buyouts of Cities Service, Gulf Oil, Phillips Petroleum, and Unocal. It was during this period that Pickens led Mesa’s successful acquisitions of Pioneer Petroleum and the mid-continent assets of Tenneco.

In 2006, Pickens earned $990 million from his equity in the two funds and $120 million from his share of the 20% fees applied to fund profits.

In 2007, Pickens earned $2.7 billion, as BP Capital Equity Fund grew by 24% after fees, and the then $590 million Capital Commodity fund grew 40%. Thanks to, among others, large positions in the stocks of Suncor Energy, ExxonMobil, and Occidental Petroleum.

T.Boone Pickens has given more than $700 million away to charity, of which nearly $500 million has been donated to Oklahoma State University.  Pickens is among the billionaires who have made The Giving Pledge, a commitment to give away half of his wealth for charitable purposes.

Boone has been a major financial contributor to his alma mater, the Stillwater campus of Oklahoma State University (OSU). Through his contributions, Pickens spearheaded an initiative to create an athletic village just north of the existing campus. In order to do so, hundreds of homes were acquired by the OSU administration, one via eminent domain, and demolished using Pickens’ contributions.

T.Boone Pickens Net Worth

T. Boone Pickens was an American business magnate and financier who had a net worth of $950 million at the time of his death in 2019.

At various times during his life, he was certainly worth more than $1 billion, but with sliding oil prices and his out-sized charitable donations, Boone was not a billionaire in 2019. He gave away well over $1 billion while he was alive and was a member of The Giving Pledge.

T.Boone Pickens Foundation

His Dallas-based T. Boone Pickens Foundation sponsors a wide range of initiatives, from educational programs to medical research, as well as athletics, health, and wellness, support, and guidance for at-risk youth. It also promotes the entrepreneurial process and contributes to a number of conservation and wildlife efforts.

T.Boone Pickens Quotes

  • “Work eight hours and sleep eight hours and make sure that they are not the same hours.”
  • “Natural gas is the best transportation fuel. It’s better than gasoline or diesel. It’s cleaner, it’s cheaper, and it’s domestic. Natural gas is 97 percent domestic fuel, North America.”
  • “To me, emails are a little bit frustrating. I think that the telephone is much preferred because you get the sound of the voice and the interest and everything else you can’t see in an email.”
  • “I was very fortunate in my gene mix. The gambling instincts I inherited from my father were matched by my mother’s gift for analysis.”
  • “It’s important to understand that oil and renewables do different things. Wind and solar are for power generation, so they don’t replace oil. About 70% of all oil produced is used for transportation fuel. Renewables are good projects, but they don’t get us off of foreign oil.”
  • “Never Googled myself. I use a computer for market quotes and news, but I’ve never Googled myself. But I have visited their headquarters.”
  • “I’m amused when Congress tries to place the blame on somebody but never themselves. I’ve never heard any of them ever say, ‘I’ve made a mistake.’ I do. I say I called it wrong. But they just try to find somebody to blame.”

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