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Barry Carr-Brown 1936 - 2011


Micropalaeontologist in the oil industry, who contributed greatly to the geology of his native Trinidad & Tobago.

A true ‘gentleman’ a “chivalrous, courteous or well-educated man” (OED) as his many friends and colleagues will attest, Barry Carr-Brown was born in an oilfield hospital in Pointe-a-Pierre, southern Trinidad and raised on the Royal Dutch Shell camp in Point Fortin. He received his secondary education at the Lodge School (Barbados) and then gained an Honours Geology degree (1959) at Queen’s University (Canada). His graduate thesis was on Upper Cretaceous foraminifera.

Moving back to Trinidad he joined Shell as an exploitation engineer and stayed for three years before transferring to Texaco Trinidad as a field geologist. Three years later, in 1965, he re-established his primary interest in biostratigraphy by joining the Texaco Geological Laboratory. It was then that Barry came under the influence of leading micropalaeontologists such as Hans Bolli and John Saunders who encouraged him in his chosen profession.

A new opportunity arose in 1968 when Pan American Oil (later Amoco) was awarded acreage off the east coast of Trinidad and Barry joined them, becoming Palaeontological Group Leader. Here he became intimately involved in the early drilling in what is now known as the Columbus Basin. Managing multidisciplinary biostratigraphic studies he developed the company’s foraminiferal zonation and presented a paper on the Holocene/Pleistocene contact in the area at the 1971 Caribbean Geological Conference. He also worked closely with Amoco’s Gulf Coast Paleontological Group assessing and comparing the relative stratigraphic and paleobathymetric ranges of the taxa of both regions.

Although finding oil was his first priority, Barry was also highly successful in finding water, carrying out groundwater studies and supervising water-well drilling to establish a potable water supply for Amoco’s Galeota base and the surrounding residential/industrial area.

In 1980 he moved to INTEVEP in Venezuela and then in 1983 to California as the Manager of the BioStratigraphics Unit of McClelland Engineers. The call of home led him back to Trinidad in 1985 as Geological Services Superintendent with the Trinidad and Tobago Oil Company. He was later appointed Head of Exploration and Production Research Services.

Taking early retirement from TRINTOC (1990), he went on to establish Biostratigraphic Associates (Trinidad) Ltd, beginning a new phase of contributions to the biostratigraphy and geology of Trinidad. He remained active in the exploration of the region until his untimely illness forced him from his office.

Barry, the offspring of English, French and Portuguese colonials in Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago, married Jackie Gibbons in 1969. They had two daughters, Joanna and Jillian. Barry had a large, close, extended family and many friends, all of whom will miss his warm and genuine companionship. One described him well as an “awesome friend and a great palaeontologist” and another concluded: “Trinidad will not be the same without him” - a thought shared by many.

A true Trinidadian, he loved his cricket, particularly at the Queens Park Oval with the West Indies playing. As well as FGS he was an Honorary and Founding Member of the Geological Society of Trinidad and Tobago.

By Haydon Bailey, with contributions from John Frampton, Reg Potter and David Pocknall