Richard Punches

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 20, 2007

Richard Knapp Punches

March 12, 1915 – Dec. 18, 2007

NATCHEZ – Services for Richard Knapp Punches, 92, of Natchez, who died Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2007, at his residence, will be at 2 p.m. today at Trinity Episcopal Church with the Very Rev. Zabron A. Davis III officiating.

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Burial will follow at Natchez City Cemetery under the direction of Laird Funeral Home.

Visitation will be from noon until service time in the Parish Hall at Trinity Church.

Mr. Punches was born March 12, 1915, in New York City, the son of Claude Allen Punches and Wilhelmina Knapp Punches. He attended college at Virginia Polytechnical Institute, where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets and graduated in 1937 with a degree in mining geology. He then attended Columbia University, in New York City, where he obtained a master’s degree in petroleum geology in 1938.

He married his beloved wife, Margaret, on March 14, 1942, and two weeks later began a four year term of service in World War II in the South Pacific. He was a member of the Army Corps of Engineers during the war, was a member of General McArthur’s personal officer staff, and attained the rank of Lt. Colonel. Shortly after the end of the war, Mr. Punches moved to Jackson to resume his work with Phillips Petroleum Company. With Phillips he was very active and instrumental in their oil and gas exploration in Mississippi until 1951, when he moved to Natchez and became an independent oil operator. Mr. Punches was one of the early pioneers in the development of the Wilcox formation of sands in southwest Mississippi and adjoining Louisiana and successfully discovered and produced a number of oil fields in this area.

Survivors include his wife, Margaret Ray Punches; his son, Robert Ray Punches and wife, Stephanie Huff Punches, all of Natchez; and grandchildren, Richard Knapp Punches II of Houston and Margaret Ann Punches of New York City.

Pallbearers will be Woody Allen, Louis Jones, Bobby Meason, Lee Martin, Bill McGehee and Everette Ratcliffe.

Honorary pallbearers will be Lee Jones, Phil Vasser, Dr. Robert Barnes, Charles DePre, Percy Rountree, Hayden Kaiser and Dr. Clifford Tillman.

Memorials may be made to Trinity Episcopal Day School, 1 Mallan G. Morgan Drive, Natchez, MS 39120.