John L'Espoir, founder and president of Enid Drilling Systems, died Sept. 24. L’Espoir was 67.

L’Espoir was born Feb. 8, 1945, to Johan and Anna L’Espoir in Heerlen, Holland. He has a B.S. in mechanical engineering and served in the Dutch army. While training at the George E. Failing Company (GEFCO) in Enid, Okla., he met and fell in love with the switchboard operator, Sally Ann Daniel. They were married July 19, 1969.

In 1992, L’Espoir opened Enid Drill Systems. As a member of the National Ground Water Association (NGWA), he won the 2003 Technology Award, which is presented to an individual who has made a major contribution in the development of ideas, tools and equipment, and techniques of well construction. He also wrote for the NGWA’s Water Well Journal.

During his career, L’Espoir visited and spoke at industry events. In 2009, Tim Fausch, former publishing director at BNP Media, National Driller’s parent company, wrote about L’Espoir’s experience at the South Atlantic Well Drillers JUBILEE in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Fausch said that for L’Espoir, JUBILEE was a family affair, with three generations attending the show. His grandsons even served as greeters to the visitors of the Enid booth, Fausch said.

L’Espoir is survived by his wife, Sally; daughter Melissa Ann L’Espoir Atwood (Steve); two grandsons, Ethan Daniel and Elliott John; and sisters Martha, Chert and Thea. He is predeceased by his mother and father, brother Harry, and sisters Miet, Trix and Mariette. Visitation was held Sept. 26 at Anderson-Burris Funeral Home in Enid, Okla., and a funeral Mass was celebrated Sept. 27 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, also located in Enid.

Family members request that donations be made in L’Espoir’s name to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation – Pancreatic Cancer Division, Circle of Love Hospice, or Our Daily Bread.