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Geothermal engineering pioneer Henry Ramey dies

STANFORD -- Henry Jackson Ramey Jr., a pioneer in geothermal engineering, died Friday, Nov. 19, at Stanford Hospital after a long battle with leukemia. He was 67.

Ramey was the Keleen and Carlton Beal Professor of Petroleum Engineering in the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford University, where he taught and conducted research for 27 years.

In October, he received the U.S. Department of Energy's Exceptional Public Service Award for his contribution to geothermal reservoir engineering. Ramey helped create that field by demonstrating that petroleum engineering techniques could be modified for production and development of underground steam and hot water reservoirs. His leadership led to new approaches to forecasting subterranean steam and hot water reserves and for controlling their production.

Ramey conducted the first American steam well tests at the Geysers geothermal field north of San Francisco in the 1960s. The Geysers, operated by Pacific Gas and Electric Co., are the largest steam power producer in the country. Ramey was born Nov. 30, 1925, in Pittsburgh, Pa. He served as an Air Force navigator in the Pacific theater during World War II and then attended Purdue University, where he received a bachelor's degree in 1949 and doctorate in 1952 in chemical engineering.

He worked as a senior research and production engineer for Mobil Oil Co. from 1952 to 1963 before joining the faculty of Texas A&M University. In 1966 he joined the faculty at Stanford, where he was co-founder with Paul Kruger of the geothermal program, which trains a large percentage of the world's geothermal engineers.

Ramey authored more than 200 engineering research papers and monographs on natural underground reservoirs of gas, oil, water and geothermal steam, and lectured around the world. He served as chairman of the petroleum engineering department from 1976 to 1986, and won an award from the School of Earth Sciences for excellence in teaching in 1986. He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and numerous other professional societies.

Ramey is survived by his wife, Alyce Ramey of Los Altos Hills; three children: Jonna Ramey of San Francisco, Terri Ramey of Palo Alto and Taigh Ramey of Los Altos; and three grandchildren.

The family requests that no flowers be sent. A memorial service may be scheduled at a later date.



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