Cover photo for Barth Wetmore Bracken's Obituary
Barth Wetmore Bracken Profile Photo

Barth Wetmore Bracken

May 6, 1932 — June 7, 2023

Barth Wetmore Bracken

Barth was a man of discipline and perseverance. His entrepreneurial spirit led to his success in the oil and exploration business and later to enterprises with cattle, horses, and the resort industry. Growing up in the oil-rich fields around Okmulgee, Oklahoma in the 1930s and 40s, he was introduced to the oil business when he worked as a roustabout during high school in Okmulgee. With no particular plans in mind, Barth entered the University of Oklahoma in 1950, but it was a freshman-level geology course which captured his imagination and gave him a love for the geological sciences.After earning his B.S. in geology in 1954, he worked as a field geologist for John Karcher at Concho Petroleum before serving as an Army officer in Nancy, France for two years. It was there that he met a French translator for the U.S. Army, Pierrette Zirotti, and married her in Okmulgee in 1956. Barth then returned to the University in Norman and earned a master's degree in 1958.Once he received his M.S., Barth spent the next decade as a geologist for Lone Star Gas and Lone Star Producing companies in Texas where he built an impressive resume of profitable finds for his employers. While there, Barth and Pierrette started a family, with two daughters, Pamela and Lynne, and later, while still working for Lone Star and back in Oklahoma after a stint with the company in Denver, Colorado, added to the family with a son, Walter Barth.After demonstrating success for Lone Star for over a dozen years, Barth was attracted by the nimbler opportunities offered by working for himself. In 1970, he was approached by longtime friend and fraternity brother, Robert Hoover, and met with a proposal to start their own independent exploration company. The partnership continued with a winning formula of identifying and participating in high quality, low-to-moderate risk oil and gas projects and maintaining small, efficient staffs, including Bill D. Turner, William M. Smith, Van A. Jones, and long-time friend Charles N. Nobles.In August of 1975, Barth married Linda Traywick, extending the family with a son, Sam, sister- and brother-in-law, Jan and Chuck Belk, brother-in-law, Ronnie Traywick, and their children, Walt, Jeff, Patrick, and Clay.In 1981 and again in 1986, Bracken Exploration and Bracken Energy Company were organized and maintained success through a small, dedicated staff over the years, including Tom Cronin, Marilyn Carroll, Sharon Rosenbaum, Sandy Thomason, John Trigg, as well as nephew Charles Michael Ming, and daughter Lynne Bracken.Upon "retirement" in the late 1980s, Barth and Linda Bracken bought and operated the Neosho River Ranch in the Wagoner, Oklahoma area, where he owned and worked cattle, won prizes with his Tennessee Walking horses, and co-owned and operated the Canebrake resort and spa with his son, Sam Bracken, and his wife, Lisa.A long-time member of several churches, including First Presbyterian of Oklahoma City, First United Methodist of Wagoner, Oklahoma, Nichols Hills United Methodist of Oklahoma City, and Westminster Presbyterian of Oklahoma City, Barth was a thoughtful steward and philanthropist to many causes, among them the Oklahoma City Zoo, the Oklahoma Community Foundation, and the University of Oklahoma's Sarkey's Energy Building.Barth is preceded in death by his mother, Nell Meta Wetmore Bracken, father, Paul Alexander Bracken, sister, Paula Bracken Ming, and brother-in-law, Charles M. Ming. He is survived by his wife Linda Bracken; children Pam, Lynne, Wally, and Sam; grandchildren Madeleine, Nell, and Paul; one great- grandchild, Jonah; and numerous nephews and nieces.A memorial service to celebrate Barth's life and legacy will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Friday, June 16, at 10:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Metropolitan Library Special Collections.
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Past Services

Memorial Service

Friday, June 16, 2023

Westminster Presbyterian Church

OK

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