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Miguel "Mike" Montes '50 May 1, 2020 10:40 AM updated: May 6, 2020 1:28 PM


Miguel Montes was born in Brownsville, Texas on January 14, 1930. He was born to Teresa Orive-Champion de Montes, of Brownsville, Texas, and Luis Montes from Guanajuato, Mexico.

Miguel, and his cousin, Praxedis Orive, were best friends their entire lives, and spent all their summers at their grandmother’s working ranch, Palmito Hill. Under the tutelage of their grandmother, Eufemia Champion Orive, they learned the importance of education, hard work, dedication to the land, family, and the meaning of character. These principles instilled in both young men the importance of being men of integrity and achievement.

After graduating from St. Joseph’s High School, Miguel was awarded a scholarship to attend Texas A&M University, the alma mater of his grandfather, Praxedis Orive, class of 1897. He graduated in 1950 with a degree in Geology and a commission in the United States Air Force. Miguel served as an Electronic Warfare Officer in Europe, North Africa, and Saudi Arabia.

After honorably serving his country, Miguel embarked on a lifelong career in the Oil and Gas Industry, taking him to all parts of the world. Miguel was no stranger to the jungles and pampas of South America, the deserts of North Africa, the bazaars of the Middle East, or the frozen tundra of Russian Siberia.

Miguel’s greatest accomplishment was advising Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, in the development of his country’s vast natural resources. While in Iran, his knowledge and technical skills were instrumental in supervising and coordinating responses to well control incidents, such as those in the Marun and Ahwaz Fields. His expertise in well control did not go unnoticed, and he became a member of the Shell Technical Team that advised and assisted Pemex in the response to the Ixtoc No. 1 incident in 1979 in the Gulf of Mexico. His technical knowledge was later sought out by journalists as a subject matter expert in the Macondo incident, in April 2010.

Mr. Montes joined the World Bank in 1981. As a member of the World Bank Energy Development Team, he was responsible for the valuation and appraisal of global oil and gas assets, including those of the Former Soviet Union (FSU), and establishing lending parameters and pricing policies for oil and gas deliveries from these assets. He also consulted on Geothermal Energy projects throughout the world including Iceland and Djibouti. Miguel retired from the World Bank in 1992, whereupon he consulted in the same group for a further 5 years.

Miguel passed into eternity on April 30, 2020 in The Woodlands, Texas at the age of 90, surrounded by his oldest son, Miguel Montes Jr. and his daughter, Luz Maria Montes-Ayre. He was preceded in death by his son, Alejandro Montes, A&M class of ‘88, and his wife of sixty years, Luz Maria Calvo de Montes. He is survived by his sons, Miguel “Mike” Montes, Jr. class of ‘77, Victor Montes, class of ’79, daughters, Luz Maria Montes-Ayre, class of ‘78, Martha Elena Loffarelli, 10 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Luz Maria and Miguel Montes, ’50 Endowment Scholarship, founded to honor their parents. The scholarship will provide a four-year scholarship to a Cameron County High School graduate who is interested in joining the Corp of Cadets, and who intends to pursue a degree in Geology or Petroleum Engineering. The link to donate can be found at

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