Obituary: Harold (Hal) Fogelquist, former senior vice president of Industrial Relations, dies at 96

Longtime Aramcon retired in 1981 after 34 years service with the company.

Obituary: Harold (Hal) Fogelquist, former senior vice president of Industrial Relations, dies at 96

Harold (Hal) T. Fogelquist died on May 12, 2020, after a long, fulfilling life. He was 96 years old. He passed away with dignity and love next to his wife, Marilyn, whom he referred to as “the beautiful woman to whom I’m married.” They would have celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary this month.


Hal served as senior vice president of Industrial Relations from 1978 to 1981, when he retired after 34 years of service to the company.


Magna cum laude

He grew up in Spokane, Washington, and studied electrical engineering at the University of Washington through the U.S. Navy’s V-12 program during World War II, graduating magna cum laude in 1945. During the war, he was stationed in Key West, Florida, as an officer on a patrol craft submarine chaser before marrying Marilyn Jean Hieber and embarking on a career with Aramco in 1947. 


Hal’s career with the company took the couple to Italy, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and New York, where they explored the cultures, learned the languages, and befriended many people. The Fogelquists were open-minded, inquisitive, very generous, and loved learning, and modeled a sense of justice and a commitment to others to all they met, as well as to their four children, Jan, Gary, Tom, and Lindsay.


For her part, Marilyn was a lively member of the community, and she worked in the counseling clinic at the Saudi Aramco Medical Services Organization (SAMSO). As their daughter, I worked as a physician in SAMSO, which later became Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare.


His good fortune

Hal’s career included work with Italian and later Dutch engineers in the early 1950s designing the Abqaiq power plant and other projects. He oversaw utility plants and pipeline operations, Northern Area Producing, Corporate Planning and Administration, and Industrial Relations. In 1964, he was sent for a year to study Arabic full time (and marveled at his good fortune) at the Middle East Center for Arab Studies in Shemlan, a mountain village in Lebanon near Beirut. He also had a two-year interlude in 1971-1972 as assistant general manager in Aramco’s New York office. He expressed his gratitude often at having had many fascinating experiences, working with cherished colleagues and friends throughout his rich, diverse career.


In 1981, Hal and Marilyn moved back to Seattle and started a new life, which involved new commitments and adventures, making new friends and reconnecting with old.


Music, books, skiing

Hal was an avid reader. He undertook self-study of classical music and filled the family home with the sounds of Bach, Vivaldi, and Mozart. He enrolled in long distance Shakespearean literature courses, which he took while his children were running about the house. He was an enthusiastic, elegant skier and continued skiing until he was 86. He also loved hiking and bicycling with friends and family, including his five grandchildren. He and Marilyn often took family to the ballet, opera, theater, and music performances. 


He treasured the daily ritual of bringing his wife breakfast in bed, which she will miss along with his loving, witty companionship. She and all the family remember Hal, Dad, Grandpa and Uncle with gratitude and love!


A lovely memory
One lasting memory of my father is an image of him as a 26-year-old engineer arriving in Rome in 1950 to begin his work for Aramco there. It was his first time in Europe, which was emerging from a devastating war. He described himself as feeling exuberant and amazed as he gazed over the domes and arches of the ancient city from atop the Piazza di Spagna, site of the Spanish Steps, marveling at his good fortune to be there.

It’s a lovely memory for me. I have many. He often expressed gratitude up to his last day for the experiences he had been given in life. Gratitude, wit, and a sense of history permeated his discourse.




You are currently using an older browser. Please note that using a more modern browser such as Microsoft Edge might improve the user experience. Download Microsoft Edge