John David Kirkland, born 6 June 1933 in McAllen, TX, spent his formative years in Edinburg and Austin Texas. He graduated Austin High School in 1950 and attended Yale University for his Bachelor of Arts in 1955 and Yale Law School for a law degree in 1958.
Kirkland moved to Houston TX in summer 1958 to practice corporate and securities law at Baker, Botts, Shepherd & Coates, and remained until 1967. He headed the team that helped T. Boone Pickens create Mesa Petroleum Co., George H.W. Bush, founder of Zapata Corp., and J. Hugh and William Liedtke, who developed Pennzoil Co. Kirkland joined Pennzoil in 1967, served as executive vice president and member of the board of directors, and was instrumental in transforming Pennzoil into the formation that became Pogo Producing and spin-offs of United Gas and Entex. After leaving Pennzoil in 1978, he served as director of executive education at the Jones School of Management and Administration at Rice University, vice chairman of Sandefer Oil & Gas, Inc., executive vice president with Roy M. Huffington, Inc., chairman of Heritage Trust Co., director of MetFuel, Inc., chairman and chief executive officer of Antara Resources, Inc., chairman of Huntington Exploration, LLC. Kirkland had numerous ties to Houston's educational, cultural and charitable institutions.
His first marriage to Ann Wales Kirkland produced three children, and his second wife, Kate Sayen Kirkland, survived him. He died Jan. 21, 2008 and is buried at Glenwood Cemetery, Houston.