James M. Whatley was born November 6th, 1918 in El Dorado, Arkansas. He graduated from Louisiana State University with degrees in Geology and Anthropology at the age of 19. Upon graduation, Jim went to work for the Union Sulphur & Oil Co. before being called to service in 1943. Upon his honorable discharge from the Navy he returned to work for Union Sulfur & Oil, and shortly thereafter he was named Chief Geologist.
In 1946 Jim met and married Gloria Jean Yocom of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Soon after starting a family, a company transfer moved them to Houston, Texas in 1951. Jim and Jean had four children; Larry, Mark, Susan and Steve. In 1967, the Whatley family moved to Denver, CO after Jim accepted the job of Vice President of Colorado Oil & Gas. After a long and courageous battle with lung cancer, Jim Whatley passed away in 1976.