Raj K. Prasad, a loving husband, doting father, brother, and friend, passed away peacefully on January 11, 2023. He was born on May 21, 1942 in Soha, Bihar Sharif, India to the late Hari and Sharda Prasad. Raj is survived by his wife Pratibha, son Rajan, daughter Manisha, son-in-law Paresh, daughter-in-law Vasudha, and grandsons Pavan, Devan, Sohum, and Niyum. He is also survived by his brothers Dr. Pashupati Kumar, Dr Arbind Kumar, Mahendra Prasad, and Siddhartha Prasad. He was preceded in death by his sisters Dharmshila and Indu.
Raj studied at the prestigious boarding school Netarhat Residential, in Bihar, India from sixth to twelfth grade between 1954 and 1960. He had a trademark mischievous streak that his peers got a kick out of. Eventually, the headmaster warned the other students that Raj was the only student who could goof around and play pranks and get top marks, but they didn’t stand a chance. On several occasions, the headmaster took his students to the mountains for camping and cooking over a fire and Raj enjoyed the outings immensely. Netarhat School ultimately set the foundation for the person that Raj developed into. He formed strong lasting friendships, had many memorable experiences, and developed a sense of resiliency at an early age. Several members from graduating classes after his and recent grads visited Raj in Dallas and met for get togethers. All graduates become members of the Netarhat Old Boys Association (NOBA) and they are spread around the world.
Raj attended the Indian Institute of Technology, Dhanbad (formerly known as the Indian School of Mines) on a scholarship, where he pursued an undergraduate degree in petroleum engineering. He was part of the graduating class of 1965. This was again a very prestigious school; only 120 students were selected out of 500,000 applicants from all over India.
After graduating from Dhanbad, he landed a job at ONGC, India working in the oilfields. When he did not get the raise he thought he deserved, he applied for and was granted admission at the University of Tulsa for a master’s degree in petroleum engineering. He studied state-of-the-art techniques in his field, impressing many of his professors. Word spread of his expertise and H.J Gruy and Associates offered him a job in Dallas. He accepted and became Vice President of their reservoir engineering group. After realizing that his clients benefited tremendously from his work, he decided to start his own consulting firm called Petroleum Engineering and Consulting, Inc. He consulted with major oil companies and traveled the world for exotic projects.
Tough times hit the oil industry in the mid to late 80’s so Raj decided to work in Saudi Arabia for Aramco which ended up being a two year stint. He made many dear friends. However, the restrictive culture did not suit him and he came back to the USA to resume his consulting company. He continued to see that his clients were benefiting from his expertise, prompting him to start Hari Prasad Production Co. (named after his late father) and bought oilfields across the Permian Basin. Once again, he saw that service providers to his oilfields were benefiting greatly, so he purchased all the equipment to do this himself. He saved lots of money through this arrangement but he also saw an opportunity to service other oilfields. He started WTH, Inc. which had workover rigs to serve the Permian basin. He named this company after seeing a rental car ad’s motto “We Try Harder”. His son Rajan is glad he did not name it “WTF”! After many years of running the company Raj eventually handed over the business to Rajan, who continues to run the business.
In retirement, Raj enjoyed trading in the stock market, playing bridge, and going on long drives and walks. But above all, he loved spending time with his grandchildren. He took them on fun outings, read to them at night, and shared jokes with them throughout the day. He would do anything to make them happy and at the same time, he taught them the value of hard work. He brought them to his office and the oil wells many times so they could learn about their grandfather’s work.
Raj was known for his generosity and caring nature. He has supported friends and family during challenging times and also has helped family members migrate to the United States. In addition, he supported various charitable organizations and served as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, personally delivering food packages to people in need. He has also been a big contributor to the Indian education organization, Pratham.
Raj went above and beyond to serve those around him and chose to live modestly in proportion to his means. He was never one to buy grand things for himself but didn’t hesitate to do so for others. He was compassionate, always smiling, funny, and hardworking, and he will be deeply missed by his friends and family. Raj’s life is most adequately described in his own written words, “God has been very good to me. I must have done something nice in my previous birth.”