William 'W.G.' Grove Skelly

Class of
William 'W.G.' Grove Skelly

William 'W.G.' Grove Skelly

“Don’t let anything get you down.”
W.G. Skelly


William Grove Skelly was born in Pennsylvania and, before he was 15, had finished his studies at two business colleges. He started with an oil well supply company at age 14, leaving to serve overseas in the Spanish-American War. Following the war, he began to move up into higher positions with various oil companies and organized and invested in several companies himself. These efforts eventually brought him to Oklahoma and after a venture in the Duncan oil field, he moved to Healdton where he became part-owner of a lease which earned him a fortune. When he organized Skelly Oil Company on October 2, 1919, it became one of the giants of the industry. He served several terms as president of the International Petroleum Exposition and was Republican National Committeeman for many years. Skelly Oil launched Skelly Aerodynamic Aviation Fuel, founded the Spartan School of Aeronautics in 1928, and helped to found the Tulsa Municipal Airport in 1929. He also helped to build Skelly Stadium in 1930 and donated radio station KWGS to the University of Tulsa in 1945.

Fun fact

When he was a boy, W.G. Skelly once sold so many newspapers that he won a free trip to Chicago, only to give it to his brother so he could “continue earning pennies.”

Oklahoma connections

Skelly moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1913.









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