Born in Nanton,
Alberta, Vern Hunter began his career in the oil industry as a junior clerk
working for Royalite Oil. In 1927, Hunter had his first roughneck job on the early rotary rigs in the Turner Valley field. Vern Hunter was
laid off during the Depression when almost all drilling was halted. In
1934, however, Hunter was rehired. Vern Hunter continued to work in the
oil industry, and by 1940 had made his way to tool push, in
charge of one of the first portable diesel powered rigs in Canada. Vern
Hunter, who became known for his lack of success in drilling for oil, earned the
nickname "Dry Hole" Hunter.
While working as
a tool push for Imperial Oil in mid-November of 1946, Vernon Hunter was ordered
to move a rig, the Wilson #2 to a different location, just miles west of
Leduc. It was at that location in November of 1946 that the monumental Imperial Leduc No. 1 was spudded that changed the oil industry in Alberta forever.
It was Hunter's 134th hole.
In March of
1961, Vern Hunter was promoted to Manager of the Edmonton Division of Imperial
Oil. The division was the largest producing area in Canada. He held
this position until his retirement in 1967. His retirement was
brief, however, and Vernon Hunter came out of retirement in 1968 to found V. H.
Hunter & Associates Well Consultants Ltd. where he served as President for
was became an Honorary Life Member of the Canadian Petroleum Association in
1968. He was also instrumental in forming the Arctic Petroleum Operators
Association. This organization promoted safe drilling practices in
died in January 1985, leaving behind his second wife, Beatrice and his son
Donald. In 1986, the Senior Oilman's Golf Association posthumously named
Vern Hunter Honorary Oilman of the year.