Thomas A. Whiles, 58, oil company geologist, artist

April 04, 2006

Thomas A. Whiles, an artist and former oil company geologist, died of spinal melanoma Wednesday at his Towson home. He was 58.

Mr. Whiles was born in San Antonio, Texas, and raised in Midland, Texas. In 1969, he earned a bachelor's degree in music from North Texas State University in Denton.

During the 1980s, he earned a bachelor's degree in earth geology, and in the 1990s, a bachelor's degree in mathematics, both from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in Odessa.

In the 1970s, Mr. Whiles began working in the drafting department of Conoco Oil Co., and in the early 1980s took a similar post at Union Texas Petroleum.

He was a staff geologist in Union Texas Petroleum's production department for four years and its exploration department for eight years. After Union Texas closed in 1991, he went to work for Midland Certified Reagent Co.

Mr. Whiles was married in 1997 to the Rev. Clare Petersberger, and two years later moved to Towson when his wife was named pastor of Towson Unitarian Universalist Church.

Mr. Whiles began working full time as an artist, producing semi-abstract oil paintings, and had shows at the Unicorn Gallery and Fells Point Little Theater.

In 1981, he learned to fly and earned his private pilot's license. He was a member of Mensa.

Mr. Whiles was an avid rail fan and liked collecting N-gauge model trains. He was a member of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum and liked attending model rail shows.

Services will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday at Towson Unitarian Universalist Church, 1710 Dulaney Valley Road.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Richard T. Whiles of Houston; a daughter, Megan E. Whiles of Midland; a brother, David Whiles of Midland; and a granddaughter. A previous marriage to the former Donna Crookham ended in divorce.

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