Jefferson Davis Sandefer Jr.

Oil Industry, 1920

Jefferson Davis Sandefer, Jr., known as “Jake,” was born in Granbury on October 29, 1899 to J.D. Sandefer, who served for 32 years as president of Hardin-Simmons University. Jake’s family moved to Abilene in 1909 and he was reared and shaped on the Simmons campus. He played football and baseball for Simmons, while serving in several organizations.

Following his military service in World War I, Jake earned his degree in 1920. After graduation, he married Carrie Lynn Bates, a Simmons student. Sandefer began his career in the oil industry in Breckenridge, where he worked for the Walker-Caldwell Oil Producing Co., in the midst of the oil boom in 1920. Throughout his life, much of his work was in East Central Texas and in East Texas.

As Jake Sandefer gained expertise in the oil business, he also became involved in various political interests. During World War II, he was named a member of the Petroleum Industry War Council. Four separate Texas governors named him to the Texas State Parks Board, where he served a term as chairman. Sandefer was the charter president and one of the organizers of the West Central Texas Oil and Gas Association. He was founder and longtime president of National Stripper Well Association.

In 1945, Jake Sandefer was honored with the John J. Keeter award for outstanding service to HSU. In 1983, he was memorialized in the Breckenridge Swenson Memorial Museum of Stephens County with the opening of the J.D. Sandefer Oil Annex, which celebrates the oil boom days of Breckenridge and honors Sandefer as one of the outstanding men of the state. He was memorialized at HSU in 1990 with the dedication of the Jake Sandefer Athletic Field House, which houses the football and baseball teams.

Sandefer passed away on March 23, 1975, at the age of 75.

Inducted on April 5, 2002