As a symbol of his generosity and tenacity in a fight, Ken and Donna Peak made a $10 million donation to Houston Methodist Hospital Foundation to establish the Kenneth R. Peak Brain and Pituitary Tumor Treatment and Research Center to continue his fight against brain tumors. His wife Donna has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, and plays an important role in the scientific mission of the Center.
Read more about Mr. Peak's journey below.
Kenneth R. Peak was born in Cleves, Ohio, and grew up in nearby Frogtown. He was a 1963 graduate of Taylor High School and went on to earn a B.S. in Physics from Ohio University in 1967 and a MBA from Columbia University in 1972. Mr. Peak served as an officer in the United States Navy from 1968 to 1971 where he worked as a cryptologist.
He was a man of many accomplishments in the business world. He served as the President
and Chief Executive Officer at Contango Ore Inc.,
since October 2009. He also served as Chief Executive Officer of Contango Oil & Gas Company, and was the Chairman at Contango Oil & Gas Co. since 1999, when he founded the company. Before Contango, he served as the President at Peak Enernomics Inc., a natural gas and oil-consulting firm that he formed, since 1990.
He began his energy career in 1973 as a commercial banker in First National Bank of Chicago's energy group. He served as a Treasurer at Tosco Corporation in 1980 and Chief Financial Officer at Texas International Company (TIC) in 1982. Mr. Peak’s tenure with TIC included serving as the President of TIPCO, the domestic operating subsidiary of TIC's natural gas and oil operations. Mr. Peak served as the Chief Financial Officer of Forest Oil Corporation from 1988 to 1989 and as an investment banker with Howard Weil from 1989 to 1990. He was Director of Cellxion Inc. beginning on November 6, 2000. He served as Director at AKM Enterprise Inc., NL Industries Inc. and Contango Capital Partnership Management, LLC. He was a Director of Patterson-UTI Energy Inc., a North America provider of onshore contract drilling services to exploration and production companies, beginning on November 6, 2000.
He served as a Director of Amerac Energy Corp. since 1995. Mr. Peak also served on the management committee of the College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio University. In addition, he served as the Chairman of the Board for OnKure, an oncology drug company that was founded in 2011.
Besides building businesses, Mr. Peak built friendships that lasted a lifetime; once you were a friend of his, his loyalty, good counsel, and companionship would become your biggest asset. He was a natural leader, instilled confidence in those who worked with him, and he could be counted on to do the right thing when it was most difficult. He was widely known as a "character" in business. He would always tell it like it is, preferring to just lay it all out on the line and let the chips fall where they may.
Amongst the many charitable donations that Mr. Peak made, he quietly provided generous support to Yes Prep, helping to build Yes into a system of 11 high performing schools in Houston serving over 7,000 low income children in grades 6-12.
Mr. Peak was nicknamed "Joe" by his family because he was a "good old Joe." If you knew him, you would not be surprised that he was the class clown and frequently was in trouble for his pranks and practical jokes. As a brother, he was caring, competitive, encouraging, and fun. As a father, he was great at doling out practical advice, instilling important life values and always reminding his children not to take life too seriously. And as an uncle, family gatherings always included wrestling matches, Monopoly, the Syndicate, Euchre, knee football, the Joe Club, nonstop teasing and laughter. There couldn't be a Peak wedding without Ken's rendition of Margaritaville. The memories, laughter and stories he left his family will be shared for years and years to come.
His more recent years with his wife Donna were his best. He found his equal in love and in intellect. They laughed all day and held each other all night. Their bond in both health and in sickness was unbreakable, and their love for each other was immeasurable.
Mr. Peak’s final months were spent fighting brain cancer, and he never gave up or quit pressing forward. His wife Donna was with him around the clock, and gave him the love and comfort of knowing she would always be there. He also had the love and support of his children, sister, and brother as he battled his illness.