Here is the Broken Wand for November 2011; These are published in the November issue of The Linking RIng but we list them here for additional emphasis. If you know of any magician who dies, we would appreciate any information on them, including newspaper or funeral home obituaries. Please send to Dennis Schick, Broken Wand editor, at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
BROKEN WAND NOVEMBER 2011
The I.B.M. Office recently learned that LeRoy (Roy) Armstrong, 85, of El Cajon, California, died July 26, 2011. His I.B.M. membership number was 7368, and he had been a member since 1943. He was a member of Ring 76, the Honest Sid Gerhat Ring, and the Order of Merlin Excelsior (sixty years a continuous member). He received it in person at the 2010 I.B.M. convention in San Diego. He also was a member of the Society of American Magicians for thirty-three years. His interest in magic began at age six, when he sent in “White King D” soap box tops for a magic trick. Later he did magic at the local movie theater’s Saturday matinees. He joined the U.S. Navy at age seventeen, and served 1943-1946 on an ammunition ship in the South Pacific. He was a teacher and principal at several La Mesa and Spring Valley schools, retiring in 1982. Since retiring, he and his wife continued giving magic shows in various venues, including volunteer shows at the local Children’s Hospital. Survivors include his wife of fifty-nine years, Betty, and sons Dave and Mike, and their families.
GLORIA J. COTHERN
Gloria June Cothern, 86, of Dalton Gardens, Idaho, died August 22, 2011. Her I.B.M. number was 32796, and she had been an associate member since 1978. She was born in Decatur, Illinois. She served as an Air Force wife and mother for twenty-two years, crossing the Atlantic Ocean eight times, and the Pacific twice. She visited numerous foreign countries, lived in three, and also lived in six states. She was a Girl Scout Leader for twelve years. After moving to Idaho forty-three years ago, she helped her husband build their Dalton home, became a ham radio operator for triathlons, and regularly donated blood. At age fifty-six she returned to school and earned a nursing license, and then finished a B.S. degree. Following retirement as a nurse, she and her husband traveled extensively. Over the past six years she sent over seventy boxes of donations to soldiers in Iraq. Survivors include her husband of sixty-six years, Bill; daughters Susan, Marilyn Annable, and Patricia Hogan; eight grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
THEODORUS DE LEEUW
Theodorus Johannes Gerardus Maria de Leeuw, 78, of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand, died August 13, 2011 of emphysema. He held I.B.M. number 39713, and had been a member since 1984. He was a member of Ring 160, the Kiwi Magic-Tony Wilson Ring, and was a member of the Order of Merlin (twenty-five years a continuous member). He was introduced to magic at the age of eight by an uncle, who gave him a box of tricks for his birthday. Born in Holland, he came to New Zealand following World War II, with a box of tools, looking for a new life away from his war-torn homeland. He became a respected builder, building over one hundred homes, including his own, as well as numerous buildings. He also was an overseer with the Ministry of Works. He was a loyal member of Ring 160, traveling eighty miles each week to their meetings. In addition to magic, he loved restoring old cars (1912 and 1914 Model Ts), surfcasting and fishing, and making magic props. He performed as Theo the Magician. Survivors include his wife of fifty-three years, Noeline; sons Theodore and Andrew, and daughters Patricia and Angela. A Broken Wand Ceremony was given in his honor.
Robin Dewitt, 74, of Canoga Park, California, died September 23, 2011. He was a former member of the I.B.M., from 1993 to 2007. In his youth, his father taught him his first magic tricks -- Ring on String and a card trick. Later, his Uncle Don bought him a set of Buddha Papers, and still later, his first Mysto Magic Set. He “rediscovered magic” in the early 1970s, and heard his first lecture on mentalism. His character, Kardor was born in 1980 in a local Ring contest, and it became his signature the rest of his life. He won many awards, and was widely know for his whacky stage persona. He joined and was active in the Psychic Entertainers Association. He also was active in “The Elders,” a Southern California mentalism group.
John Kermit Dickerson, of Denton, Texas, died September 15, 2011 after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. He was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from DePaul University in Chicago, and worked for Atlantic Richfield Company for thirty-two years, including a stint in Alaska as an auditor on the pipeline project. After retirement in 1985, he was a partner in Kermit’s Cinnamon Roll Shop in Redondo Beach, California. In 1988 he sold his share and moved to Walnut Creek, California, to start a second career as a substitute teacher in elementary schools (in California, Nevada, and Arizona). He loved to travel and he and his wife did so, to over thirty countries. He was a master of one-liners, many of which appeared in Readers Digest. Survivors include his wife of twenty-eight years, Mary; stepson Michael; first wife Muriel; their daughter Cathryn, their son Kevin; grandson Dylan; and sister Karleen Williams.
EDWARD B. KIRK
Edward Bis Kirk, 82, New Cumberland, West Virginia, died October 9, 2011. His I.B.M. number was 28366, and he had been a member since 1975. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of the Mystic Magicians of Beaver Valley, and the World Clown Association. He served in the U.S. Army, and was retired from National Steel in Weirton, West Virginia, where he worked as an electrician for thirty-two years. Survivors include his wife of thirty-eight years, Sharon; sisters-in-law Barbara (Gerald) Lyautey, BethAnn (Ronald) Bentley, and Karen (Dave) Dulaney; and brothers-in-law Ervin (Chloe) Willey, and Joe (Brenda) Willey.
FRANKLYN D. LUTTRELL
Franklyn Dean Luttrell, 78, of Ankeny, Iowa, died September 15, 2011, after being hit by a pickup truck while he was on duty as a crossing guard at a school. His I.B.M. number was 18411, and he had been a member since 1961. He was a member of Ring 167, the Justo Hijo of Magic Ring, and of the Order of Merlin Excalibur (fifty years a continuous member). He was born in Dallas, Texas, and graduated from Texas A&M University in 1956. He served two years in the U.S. Marines, and was a Dallas police officer, a private detective, and an insurance claim adjuster. After he retired he served as head of security for a high rise office, and finally, as a school crossing guard, where he loved his kids. Survivors include his wife of fifty-one years, Deanna; children Frances (John), Carrie, Teresa, Franklyn Jr. (Stephanie); six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
WILSON C. MCARTHUR
The I.B.M. Office recently learned that Wilson Cooper McArthur, 75. of Provo, Utah, died April 5, 2011. He was born in North Carolina, and served four years in the U.S. Air Force. After thirty-five years in the nuclear utility industry, he retired from the Tennessee Valley Authority. He and his wife served a LDS mission at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City for a year. Survivors include his wife Robbie, three children, twelve grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, three brothers, and a sister.
EARLE D. OAKES
Earle Dennis Oakes, 88, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, died September 18, 2011, of a stroke. His I.B.M. number was 17461, and he had been a member since 1977. He was a member of the Order of Merlin (twenty-five years a continuous member). While he did not like school in his youth, he did enjoy drawing. So it was natural that when he left the U.S. Army Air Corps after World War II, that he used his G.I. Bill to major in architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1951. While he built a career in architecture, he sketched magic drawings on the side. In 1980, magic won out and he started drawing magic art and illustrations full time, including for The Linking Ring. He also illustrated numerous magic books. His last drawings will appear in the December issue of Genii magazine. An “In Memoriam” was printed in the October issue of The Linking Ring (page 73). Survivors include his wife of sixty-one years, Helen; sons Dennis (Debra), Jeffrey (Nicole) and Dave; daughter Peggy (Saul) Shorr; eight grandchildren; two brothers, and four sisters.
Robert Rodriguez, 80, of La Puente, California, died October 11, 2011. His I.B.M. number was 45140, and he had been a member since 1989. He was a member of Ring 21, the Carl Fleming Ring. He also was a member of the Society of American Magicians, Assembly 22., and was a member of the S.A.M. Hall of Fame. He was a graduate of the Chavez College of Magic, and excelled in performing. When David Copperfield was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it was Mr. Rodriguez who presided over the ceremony, in his capacity as President of Ring 21. He was born in Texas and developed a life-long interest in magic after witnessing the tent show performance of Willard the Wizard. The family moved to California in 1944, where, as a teenager he spent much of his free time in local magic shops. In 1952 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served twenty-three years. Part of his service was managing NCO clubs and providing entertainment, including magic. After retiring he returned to Los Angeles and continued performing magic. He was a mentor and friend to many magicians.
JOSEPH R. SACCA
The I.B.M. office recently was notified of the death of Joseph R. Sacca, 61, of Woodlyn, Pennsylvania, on June 17, 2011. His I.B.M. membership number was 27115 and he had been a member since 2004. He was a member of Ring 6, the Delaware Valley Conjurers Club. Born in Philadelphia, he was an IT Manager, employed by the Steel Workers Pension Trust. In addition to magic, he enjoyed playing tennis and golf, and watching western movies. He was active with the Folsom School House Senior Center, and the Knights of Columbus. Survivors include his wife, Linda; daughters Danielle Sacca, Stephanie (Ray Devine) Chesney, Melissa O’Neill, and Natalie (Dale Hutcherson) Zinni; two brothers, and five grandchildren.
ANTONIO A. SOLIS, SR.
The I.B.M. Office has learned that Antonio A. Solis, Sr., 58, of Bacoor Cavite, Philippines, has died, but has not been able to locate any additional information.
BURTON S. SPERBER
Burton S. Sperber, 82, of Malibu, California, died September 30, 2011. His I.B.M. number was 32063, and he had been a member since 1977. He was a member of the Order of Merlin (twenty-five years a continuous member). He was the founder and chairman of the board of Calabasas-based ValleyCrest Landscape Companies, the nation’s largest landscape services company. According to his obituary in the Los Angeles Times, his lifelong love of magic rivaled his passion for horticulture. Mr. Sperber and his father bought a small nursery in 1949 for $700, and grew it into a mammoth company with one hundred and fifty locations around the world, and over nine thousand employees. He still called himself the “head gardner.” He was introduced to magic at age ten by his uncle, a magician at the Magic Castle. He became an accomplished magician, and was a member of the Inner Magic Circle in London. Over the years he accumulated one of the nation’s largest collections of magic books, dating to the 1500s, and wrote a number of magic books himself. Survivors include his wife of sixty-two years, Charlene; son Richard; daughters Ellice and Michelle; sister Deanna Colton; and seven grandchildren.