Aubrey McClendon died in a car crash in Oklahoma on Wednesday, after he pretty much “drove straight into a wall,” according to law enforcement officers. McClendon was 56 years old and was scheduled to appear in court later that day for an indictment hearing. He left behind his wife, Katie McClendon, and three adult children, Jack, Callie, and Will.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Aubrey and His Wife Katie Met at Duke University and Were Involved in Many Philanthropic Activities
Aubrey McClendon and his wife, Kathleen Upton Byrns, met at Duke University, where they were both students. They were married in 1981 in St. Joseph, Michigan. The couple was involved in many philanthropic activities, including donating more than $75 million to institutions including Duke University. In fact, gargoyles were created in their likeness and once adorned an arach at a dorm building named after them, in honor of their generosity. Katie said the gargoyles were too ostentatious and they were removed, Reuters reported. This is what the gargoyle looked like:
2. Katie Is Related to Kate Upton and Is an Heiress to the Whirlpool Washing Machine Fortune
Aubrey’s wife Katie comes from a fascinating background. She’s the cousin of Michigan U.S. Representative Fred Upton, who is the uncle of model and actress Kate Upton. Kate attends Oklahoma City Thunder games from time to time. Katie Upton McClendon is also heir to the Whirlpool washing machine fortune. Her grandfather, Frederick Upton, founded the Whirlpool Corporation with his brother Louis in 1950.
3. Jack McClendon Was Roommates with a Duke Lacrosse Player During the 2006 Lawsuits
Jack McClendon, Aubrey and Katie’s son, lives in Houston, Texas, according to his Facebook page and is married to Whitney McClendon. The two got married in 2013 and a society blog called The Lost Ogle wrote a tongue-in-cheek post asking if he had disinvited friends form the wedding. Jack, like both of his siblings, graduated from Duke University.
In 2007, Aubrey purchased a series of full-page newspaper ads along the East Coast praising the Duke men’s lacrosse team, after the team had been part of a lawsuit alleging that members of the team raped a woman at a March 2006 party. Three members were indicted but the charges were dropped and all three were cleared.
Aubrey’s ads praised the team for “standing tall during extraordinarily difficult circumstances over the past 15 months,” NewsOK reported. Aubrey wanted to support the team because he knew many of the men personally, since a member of the team had roomed with Jack for two years at Duke. Aubrey said:
“I knew these young men, and from the minute it happened I knew that they didn’t do it. I knew that they probably hadn’t used the best judgment having the party and all that. But I knew that they were not guilty.”
4. Callie McClendon Katt Is a Talented Businesswoman Who Helped Grow a Startup in New York
Callie Katt, Aubrey and Katie’s daughter, is a talented businesswoman who already has a long string of successes to her name. According to her LinkedIn, the Duke graduate began her career as an analyst with Goldman Sachs. After three years, she chose a more entrepreneurial path to help a startup, Magnises. She played a big role in establishing the startup’s brand and helping grow the company to a 300% increase in revenue. She was first VP of Operations and Membership and then CFO of Magnises, a private membership group that helps members experience the best of their city and meet new people. Members choose from a tiered plan that includes a special card and an on-demand concierge service.
For a few months, Callie also ran a blog about married life where she shared her recipes and other favorite crafts, like flower arrangements.
5. Will McClendon Just Graduated From Duke, Like His Siblings and His Parents, in 2015
William Upton McClendon, the youngest of Aubrey and Katie’s children, just graduated from Duke University in 2015. He followed in his siblings’ and parents’ footsteps by joining the prestigious university. According to his Facebook, he lives in Durham, North Carolina. In 2014, he participated in the UNITE Arrive Alive Tour that encourages college students not to drink and drive. He said the demo was pretty scary, even if it was only a computer simulation. McClendon is encouraging on social media. When he used Twitter, he sometimes posted encouraging messages like: “Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path … and leave a trail.”
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