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About Walter Hugo Helmerich, III
Walter Hugo Helmerich III was a longtime oil company president and one of Tulsa, Oklahoma's most notable business, philanthropic and civic leaders.
Helmerich was president for more than 25 years of Helmerich & Payne Inc., the Tulsa-based oil company that his father, Walt Helmerich II, co-founded in 1920.
Helmerich joined the company in 1950 and 10 years later, replaced his father as company president.
He would guide it for the next 30 years, becoming the chief architect of H&P's global operations, real estate dealings and other activities.
In 1987, his son, Hans Helmerich, replaced him as company president, and two years later, as CEO. Helmerich retired, but continued to serve as chairman of the board.
Helmerich's wife was former film actress Peggy Dow, who would become better known to Tulsans as Peggy V. Helmerich.
The couple married in 1952, raised five sons and in 1965 created the Helmerich Foundation, becoming two of the community's best-known philanthropists, civic leaders and arts patrons.
Among his myriad civic interests, Helmerich was a strong advocate for Tulsa's parks system and served many years on the Tulsa Park and Recreation Board, of which he was onetime chairman.
He was also a trustee with the Philbrook Museum, the Salvation Army, Hillcrest Medical Center, and the Retina Research Foundation, as well as a supporter of the Tulsa Zoo, for which he donated the funds for the zoo's Helmerich Discovery Center.