Carr, Robert Gay (1895–1978)

By: Peggy Skaggs

Type: Biography

Published: December 1, 1994

Updated: January 26, 2018

Robert Gay Carr, oilman and philanthropist, son of Milford Marshall and Carrie Bright (William) Carr, was born in North Middletown, Kentucky, on November 9, 1895. After attending public schools and Kentucky Wesleyan College, he worked for oil companies in Houston. He married Nona Kathryn Falk of Houston in 1918 and had one daughter. By 1919 he was head of the land, lease, and scouting department of Humble Oil Company (later Exxon Company, U.S.A.). In 1926 Carr left that position and with P. G. Northrup of San Angelo formed a partnership that became the field representative of Texas and Pacific Land Trust. The two men were also independent oil operators. Their partnership was dissolved in 1950, and Carr continued as an independent oil operator. He was a member of the Midland Petroleum Club, the Texas Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association, and the Independent Petroleum Association of America.

Carr served in the United States Air Force during both world wars and helped to bring Goodfellow Air Force Base to San Angelo in 1940. In 1943 he helped secure a bombardier-navigator base, commonly known as Mathis Field, for San Angelo. He endowed the Angelo State University Air Force ROTC detachment with over $1 million, thus making it the largest privately endowed ROTC unit in the nation. For his military services Carr received numerous honors.

He donated the Robert Carr Chapel to Texas Christian University and served on various TCU boards, including the board of trustees (for twenty-three years). TCU conferred an honorary doctorate on him in 1954. Carr was also on the Texas Fish and Game Commission. He gave generously to West Texas Boys Ranch at Tankersley, the San Angelo Emergency Corps, the Salvation Army, St. John's Hospital in San Angelo, and the Shriner Orthopedic Hospital in Houston. After having served the Boy Scouts in various capacities for twenty-five years, he was honored with the Silver Beaver Award. And after years of service to the San Angelo Board of City Development, San Angelo College, and the San Angelo Independent School District, he was named Citizen of the year in San Angelo in 1972. He was a member of the First Christian Church in San Angelo.

Carr died on March 17, 1978, in San Angelo. In his will he endowed a scholarship fund at Angelo State University that financed the Robert G. Carr and Nona K. Carr Academic Scholarships for more than 800 students in the late 1980s. After the death of Mrs. Carr in 1987 all of the Carrs' oil and gas holdings became the property of the university, thus doubling the scholarship fund. The education and fine arts buildings and a dormitory at Angelo State are named in honor of the Carrs.

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Peggy Skaggs, “Carr, Robert Gay,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 07, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994
January 26, 2018