Ernest R. Fleck
The late Ernest R. Fleck recently became the eighth inductee of the North Dakota Petroleum Council Hall of Fame at the association’s 29th Annual Meeting held Sept. 21-23 in Minot.
“Ernie was a true pioneer in North Dakota’s oil and gas industry. He was a very active and successful member of the Petroleum Council,” said Wayne Biberdorf, seventh Hall of Fame inductee. “Ernie worked hard and was a skilled negotiator representing mineral interests. The law firm he was associated with still bears his name, Crowley Fleck PLLP.”
Fleck served as a captain in WWII, and after active duty, graduated with a law degree in 1948. He practiced law in Bismarck for 46 years, working in numerous areas including oil and gas, mining law and environmental law. He authored a number of papers including “North Dakota Oil & Gas Law and Land Practices,” “Severed Mineral Interests,” and “Selected Leasing Problems.”
Fleck was also very civic-minded. He served as a Bismarck City Commissioner, a member of the Mary College Board of Trustees, President and Trustee of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, and President of the Leach Foundation. He also served as director of the Rocky Mountain Oil & Gas Association.
“Ernie was an excellent lawyer and a strong leader for the oil and gas industry for its first four decades in North Dakota. He was responsible for many legislative compromises that enabled the industry to remain viable and active in North Dakota, particularly during the turbulent early 1980s,” said John Morrison, fourth Hall of Fame inductee.
Fleck passed away in 1995. He is survived by his wife Rusty, daughters Barbara and Jane, and son Joel. Joel accepted the award on his father’s behalf.
Recipients of this honor must have contributed significantly to the functions and activities representing oil and gas in North Dakota, working on behalf of its membership, and be committed to its well-being.