Robert Gay Carr, oilman and philanthropist, son of Milford Marshall and Carrie Bright (William) Carr, was born in North Middletown, Ky., on Nov. 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 the couple had one daughter. By 1919, he was head of the land, lease and scouting department of Humble Oil Company (later Exxon Company).
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 dissolved in 1950, and Carr continued as an independent oil operator.
Carr served in the U.S. Air Force during both world wars and received numerous honors. He helped bring Goodfellow Air Force Base to San Angelo in 1940, and in 1943, he helped secure a bombardier-navigator base, commonly known as Mathis Field, for the community. He endowed the Angelo State University Air Force ROTC detachment with more than $1 million, making it the largest privately endowed ROTC unit in the nation.
Carr donated the Robert Carr Chapel to Texas Christian University and served on various TCU boards, including the board of trustees for 23 years. TCU conferred an honorary doctorate to him in 1954. Carr was also on the Texas Fish and Game Commission, and gave generously to the West Texas Boys Ranch in Tankersley, San Angelo Emergency Corps, Salvation Army, St. John’s Hospital in San Angelo, and Shriner Orthopedic Hospital in Houston. After having served the Boy Scouts in various capacities for 25 years, he was honored with the Silver Beaver Award. Following years of service to the San Angelo Board of City Development, San Angelo College and San Angelo Independent School District, he was named San Angelo’s Citizen of the Year 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 ASU that financed the Robert G. Carr and Nona K. Carr 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-Fine Arts Building and a residence hall at Angelo State are named in honor of the Carrs.