Rob Looney, age 79, of Evant, Texas, passed away peacefully at his home on Thursday, December 1, 2022, after a long life of distinguished service to the State of Texas and the oil and natural gas industry. His attributes of kindness, generosity, and willingness to help others without recognition were legendary.
The family will receive visitors from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Thursday, December 8, 2022 at Scott’s Funeral Home in Gatesville. Graveside services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, December 9, 2022 at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, with a reception to follow in The Gallery reception center on the cemetery grounds. Afterwards, the Austin Club at 110 E. 9th St., will be hosting a reception for family and friends from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Robert Leroy Looney was born on June 2, 1943, in Hutchinson, Kansas, and grew up in Iola, Kansas. Rob’s determined nature was evident from an early age. While attending Iola High School, he competed on the football and basketball teams, and was an All-American Track and Field athlete. He performed off the field as well, winning a state award for an article in the school newspaper, and graduating in the top ten percent of his class in 1961. He leveraged his athletic skills to win a full scholarship to the University of Kansas, where he received a B.S. in Education. He went on to complete his graduate work at the University of Kansas School of Law, distinguishing himself as a Member of the Law Review and securing a Doctorate of Jurisprudence. All while married with two small children and working part time. Immediately upon graduating from law school, Rob began his long career in the oil and gas industry with Phillips Petroleum Company, serving in the company’s legal departments in Denver, Colorado; Juneau, Alaska; Austin, Texas and Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
Rob left Phillips in 1976, to settle his family in Austin, Texas and joined the Texas Association of Business to represent corporate and business interests before the State Legislature as Senior Vice President. In 1982, Rob embarked on a private legal practice for the next six years, further cementing his reputation as a skillful attorney and lobbyist.
In 1988, Rob came on board the Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA). During his 26-year tenure as President of TXOGA, Rob proved himself to be a capable and natural leader, steering the association on its successful course through historic technological changes, establishing industry safety and responsible production of natural resources, while empowering the Texas Economy. In partnership with Texas Mutual Insurance Company, he established the TXOGA Insurance Agency and the TXOGA Workers’ Compensation Safety Group, a model program in the state. Through real estate investments, Rob secured the location where TXOGA continues operations in downtown Austin. Rob served on the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission and the US Oil and Gas Association, in addition to other state and national industry boards. Upon his retirement in 2014, TXOGA bestowed its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, acknowledging his lifetime achievements by the leaders of the oil and natural gas industry.
Rob served as an Austin Club Board Member for 34 years, 19 of which as President, from 1988 to 2007. Rob chaired the committee in selection of the Historic Millet Opera House as the future home of the Austin Club. In 2019, the Austin Club honored Rob’s years of dedicated service with the redesign and dedication of The Looney Suite. The Austin Club was a place where Rob was surrounded by friends and colleagues.
Rob retired to Evant, Texas with his wife Charlotte in 2014. He became an active member of the community, serving as president of the Evant Chamber of Commerce, along with spearheading projects to improve the community that he loved, including the Evant I.S.D. Heritage Foundation.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Helen Smith Looney; sister, Janice Weldin; brother, Charles Looney; and beloved hunting dogs Jeb and Harry.
Rob is survived by his wife, Charlotte Bennight Looney; daughters, Stacy Looney, Krissy Lilljedahl and their mother, Linda Strang Looney; son-in-law, Bobby Lilljedahl; grandchildren, Lila Grace, Jace and Elli Lilljedahl; Charlotte’s children, Sheldon Bennight and wife, Jessica and their son, Jackson; Shelley Barrett and her children, Gracie and Jett; brothers, Walter Looney and wife, Lyndeen, Larry Looney and wife, Jenel, Donald Looney and wife, Sue, Harold Looney and wife, Chris.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Evant I.S.D. Heritage Foundation, P.O. Box 113, Evant, TX 76525.
Scott’s Funeral Home in Gatesville, in charge of arrangements. To leave a condolence to the family or sign the guestbook, please visit www.scottsfh.com.
Posted online on December 06, 2022
Published in Austin American Statesman