Jakie grew up in Breckenridge, Texas where football and oil and gas were a way of life. Jakie was a standout varsity football player at Breckenridge High. Following high school he went to the University of Oklahoma and was a starting halfback during the 47 game winning streak which is the longest in college football history.
Jakie graduated in 1959 and returned to Breckenridge to start his venture as an independent oilman and continue a 50 year tradition started by his late father, J. D. Sandefer, Jr. who was a well-known oil producer in Breckenridge and was a spokesman for the oil and gas industry. Jakie's father was also a founding member of the IPAA, was on the WWII Petroleum War Council, and was the first president of the National Stripper Well Association.
Jakie soon moved to Abilene where he was joined by Thurmon Andress and they concentrated their oil and gas activities in west and west central Texas. He and Andress operated under the name of Mellon Energy, named for their partner, the O'Connor family, in Victoria, Texas. They also had a company named Sandefer & Andress, Inc. In 1975, they opened a Houston office and commenced their business operations in the Gulf Coast. In 1979, Jakie moved to Houston to further expand his exploration activities. He was later joined by Stephen F. Smith and together they formed Sandefer Oil & Gas, Inc.
Through the course of his career, Jakie caused over 600 wildcat wells to be drilled in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. During a 10 year span between the 1980’s and the 1990's, Sandefer Oil & Gas, loc. was recognized as one of the most active independent operators in the United States, primarily in the upper Texas Gulf Coast, South Louisiana and Oklahoma, investing over $600 million in capital expenditures.
In 1986, Mr. Sandefer helped his son Jeff form Sandefer Offshore which became a highly successful offshore exploration company. The Sandefer name has been prominent in the oil business in Texas for over eighty years.
The Sandefer family has a long tradition of valuing education, a trait that Jakie strongly embodies. The former J.D. Sandefer (Jakie's grandfather) served as president of Hardin- Simmons University for 31 years. Jeff Sandefer, after selling his oil company, founded Acton MBA for Entrepreneurship which is one of the top MBA schools in the United States, rated ahead of Harvard, Wharton and Stanford by the Princeton Review. Throughout the years, Jakie has made many significant contributions to enhance academics and athletics at OU where he was recognized as a Distinguished Alumni in 2000.
In 1990, Jakie was selected by his peers to be a member of the All-American Wildcatters - a prestigious group of oilmen in both major companies and independents, and entering the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame in 2007. Among his other honors, he was elected president of Spindletop International, an oilmen’s charity organization for children. Jakie is the proud parent of three: Jeff, Julie and Laurie. He has seven grandchildren, and is married to Melissa Lemke Sandefer.