DALLAS — T. Boone Pickens was more than a self-made Texas oil tycoon, energy entrepreneur, and icon. For WFAA Meteorologist Pete Delkus, he was a life-long friend.
Pickens died Wednesday at the age of 91. A spokesperson said Pickens was surrounded with family when he died.
After news of his death, Delkus reminisced on the conversations they had over the years, about quail hunting, sports and life itself.
"When I moved to Dallas, I met Boone shortly thereafter because we both had something in common, we both liked to quail hunt.
We would sit around having lunch, maybe dinner, and we would talk about everything – parenting would be an example.
He would ask me, 'How would you parent? How would you discipline? How is that working? Have you thought about this approach or that approach? It was just normal conversations that you would have with anyone of your friends.'
If you weren't a friend of Boone's, there was a certain side you didn't get to see. And if you were a friend, that curtain was pulled back. He was hilarious.
The guy was so approachable, so easy to talk to. But I remember one time he told me this lesson. He goes, 'Never get too big for your britches that you won't eat a cheeseburger.' And I said, 'What are you talking about?' And he says, 'There are a lot of rich people I know that think they are too rich for a cheeseburger.'
And we were eating a cheeseburger at that point.
'And there's nothing wrong with eating a cheeseburger but as soon as you think you're too good to eat a cheeseburger, that's when things are gonna go wrong in your life.'
The advice he gave me, the mentoring that he shared with me, really had a big impact on my life."
Both Texas and Oklahoma communities reacted to the news of Pickens' death by sharing their condolences through written statements and posts on Twitter.
Here are some of the reactions:
President George W. Bush:
"T. Boone Pickens became a household name across the country because he was bold, imaginative, and daring. He was successful – and more importantly, he generously shared his success with institutions and communities across Texas and Oklahoma. He loved the outdoors, his country, and his friends and family, and Laura and I send our condolences."
Texas Governor Greg Abbott:
“Although born in Oklahoma, Texas has always considered T. Boone Pickens to be one of our own. He was a passionate man who always stood by his principles on his path to success. T. Boone Pickens’ commitment to establishing American energy independence will have a lasting impact on the state of Texas, and the United States of America. Throughout his life and career, he generously gave to charitable causes to advance education, medical research, and humanitarian needs. I ask that all Texans join Cecilia and me in remembering the legacy of T. Boone Pickens, and keep him and his family in their prayers.”
Lt. Gov. Patrick:
“T. Boone Pickens is a Texas legend and a pioneering entrepreneur whose fierce entrepreneurial spirit changed the course of business history in America. But more than that, he was my friend. He took me under his wing and taught me the facts about the oil and gas industry and many truths about life itself. When I was first elected lieutenant governor, he kindly agreed to chair my Energy Policy Advisory Board.
T. Boone made a “Texas-sized” contribution to our state and our country. I witnessed firsthand his legendary sense of humor many times. He was one of a kind and I will miss him greatly. Please join Jan and I in praying for his family and friends.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz:
"T. Boone Pickens lived a life marked with kindness and generosity. Boone was a friend, and he was a legendary Texas entrepreneur. He was larger than life, had a passion for others, and embodied Texas values. An extraordinarily generous philanthropist and a passionate advocate for American energy independence, Boone will be remembered as a legend in the hearts of Texans and Oklahomans alike. Heidi and I send our condolences to the entire Pickens family as they grieve the loss of a loving father, grandfather, and friend. May he rest in peace."
Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis:
"All of us in the Oklahoma State University family are deeply saddened by the passing of Boone Pickens. At the same time, we join in celebrating his incredible life. He was the ultimate Cowboy. It is impossible to calculate his full impact on Oklahoma State. His historic gifts to academics and athletics not only transformed the university, they inspired thousands of others to join in the transformation. OSU will not be the same without the legendary Boone Pickens, but his mark on our university will last forever."
Oklahoma State University Head Football Coach Mike Gundy:
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson:
Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones:
Jerry says T. Boone Pickens was a man of sports, his love for competing was unmatched. Jones says Pickens should be known as, "the fourth quarter guy," for the success he had in the fourth quarter of his life. Jones says he lost a great friend, one who was an inspiration.
National Football Foundation:
"T. Boone Pickens is the epitome of an American success story," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. "He came from humble beginnings to become one of the country's most lucrative entrepreneurs. Maybe even more impressive was his commitment to philanthropy, donating more than $1 billion in his lifetime. We were honored to have him serve on the National Football Foundation's Board of Directors, and we send our thoughts and prayers to his family."
Read the full statement here.
Junior ROTC Fort Worth ISD:
“Mr. Pickens was very instrumental in providing his time, resources and his encouragement to the establishment of this vital history program,” said LTC (RET) Richard Crossley, director of the Fort Worth ISD JROTC program.
At a luncheon in May of 2013 announcing the new program, Mr. Pickens challenged others to get involved as well.
Through the assistance of Mr. Pickens, and others, the V-NEP curriculum, in addition to Texas, is now used in Pennsylvania, California, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Iowa.
Fort Worth ISD students have been able to expand their learning opportunities outside the classroom by taking staff rides to Fort Davis, Fort Concho, Vicksburg, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Gettysburg, South Dakota, Valley Forge, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
Related coverage on WFAA:
- T. Boone Pickens, self-made Texas tycoon, dead at 91
- Shirley Boone, wife of Pat Boone and philanthropist, dies at 84
- T. Boone Pickens is selling ranch for $250M
- T. Boone Pickens: 'My health is in decline'
- T. Boone Pickens proposes energy plan for Trump
- T. Boone Pickens suffers 'ministroke'