Frank Canon, renowned figure in HDD industry, dies at 77

(UI) — Frank Lynn Canon, 77, a pioneer in the horizontal directional drilling (HDD) industry, died on Jan. 5 in Magnolia, Texas. Born in Alpena, Mich., Canon’s journey from a lime-green polyester suit on his first day as an oilfield mud engineer to becoming a legendary educator in drilling fluids has left an indelible mark on the HDD community.


His family announced his death in his obituary, which can be viewed here.

Canon, raised in Pearland, Texas, graduated from Pearland High School in 1965 and earned a degree in Theatre Arts from Sam Houston State University. In 1969, he married Mary Ann, and together they had two sons, Barrett and Jared.

Joining Baroid in 1975, Canon’s career took an unexpected turn towards HDD. Returning to Houston in 1991, he played a pivotal role in establishing Baroid's Industrial Drilling Products Division, dedicating himself entirely to trenchless technology execution and education by the following year.

Over a career spanning four decades, he achieved legendary status in the HDD industry. Recognized for his practical expertise in the field, he stood out as an exceptional educator, traveling across the globe to train thousands of individuals in drilling fluids best practices. His teaching style, described as homespun, humorous, folksy and memorable, resonated with all who had the privilege of learning from him.

Canon’s contributions were acknowledged with numerous accolades, including the Texas Water Well Association's Man of the Year, the North East Trenchless Association's Founder Award, and induction into the North American Society for Trenchless Technology (NASTT) Hall of Fame in 2012. His most recent honor was his induction into Underground Infrastructure’s HDD Hall of Fame in 2022.

Retiring in 2015, he continued to serve as a consultant and mentor to the industry.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Ann Canon, sons Barrett Canon (Thera) and Jared Canon, nieces Anne Kish (Don) and Rosie Botkin (Ron), great-nephews Henry Botkin-Henderson and Avery Botkin-Henderson, and great nieces Audrey Kish and Norah Botkin-Henderson.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 10, at Magnolia Funeral Home, with visitation at 9:30 a.m. and a service at 10:30 a.m. Burial will follow at Plantersville Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Plantersville Baptist Church.

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