Hannes Richter

Roy Huffington

Hannes Richter

(1918 - 2008)

Former U.S. Ambassador to Austria from 1990 to 1993, legendary oilman and philanthropist Roy Huffington died July 11 in Venice at the age of 90 while traveling abroad.
Born in Tomball, Texas, Huffington grew up early in the absence of his father who accidentally died working in the oil fields, and learned at a very early age to be resourceful. After earning his Ph.D. in geology from Harvard in the 1940s, he served three years as a naval officer during WW II. Following a decade working as a field geologist, he began exploring oil beds and discovered huge reserves of natural gas in Indonesia. Rather than demanding ownership of the reserves, he shared the revenues; rather than hoard expertise and technology, he shared them. His approach, thus, allowed Indonesians to run their own fields. Discoveries in East Kalimantan led to the development of a multi-billion dollar export project between Indonesia and Japan.
Over the ensuing years he built his company, Huffco, into a very successful international energy company. He eventually sold the firm and devoted himself to philanthropy, travel, public service and published numerous articles on geology in scientific journals.
He served as long-term chairman of the Asia Society in New York and the Salzburg Seminar, and donated millions to charities, helping educational institutions fund scholarships, and established the Huffington Center on Aging at Baylor College of Medicine.  Appointed from 1990 to 1993 as U.S. Ambassador to Austria, he worked to open up business opportunities and establish links between the newly accessible Eastern bloc countries and their Western counterparts. His experience in business and government made him a superb leader. He was awarded with the Grand Decoration of Honor in Gold for services to the Republic of Austria.