BROKEN WAND SEPTEMBER 2016
Kenneth (Kenny) George Baker, 81, of Preston, England, died August 13, 2016 after an extended illness. He was best known as the actor who portrayed the lovable robot character R2-D2 in the Star Wars motion pictures, beginning in 1977. According to reports of his death, the three-foot-eight-inch actor started performing as a teenager as part of a troupe called “Burton Lester’s Midgets;” one of his performing skills was doing magic tricks. Later he worked as a disc jockey and then as a clown with Billy Smart’s Circus. Still later he toured the country for nine years doing panto and ice shows, before forming a comedy-musical duo called the “Mini-Tones.” He also appeared in other motion pictures, including “The Elephant Man,” “Willow,” and “Labyrinth.” We add his name to the list of celebrities who once performed magic.
DALE R. FEISTER
Recently the I.B.M. Headquarters was notified that Dr. Dale Robert Feister, 87, of Rawson, Ohio, died May 17, 2016. His I.B.M. membership number was 27103, and he had been a member since 1974. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 205 (Lima/Findley, Ohio), Ring 56 (Evansville, Indiana), and the Society of American Magicians. Born in Dola, Ohio, he served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War (1947-53). He received an electrical engineering degree from Ohio Northern University, and his medical degree from Kirksville College. He practiced medicine for forty-one years, delivering approximately ten thousand babies in his career. He loved to fly, and to build magic illusions, which he sold worldwide. Survivors include his wife of sixty years, Elsie; son, Dr. Wayne (Dawn) Feister; two grandchildren and a great-grandson; and sisters Jean Mason and Shirley (John) Hindall. Memorial contributions may be made to the Salvation Army or to Gospel Fellowship Church, 5124 County Road 37, Rawson, OH 45881.
ROBERT H. FILIPS
Robert (Bob) H. Filips, 87, of Struthers, Ohio, died July 15, 2016. His I.B.M. number was 9096, and he had been a member since 1946. He was a member of the Order or Merlin Excelsior (sixty years a continuous member). He also was an active member of Ring 2 (Youngstown, Ohio, named after him). He had a passion for magic since age nine, was a member of the Youngstown Magic Club for over seventy-three years, and received the Spirit of Magic Award at the 2006 Columbus Magic Festival. Bob was born in Youngstown, and was a lifetime resident of the area. He served in the U.S. Marines during World War II, and later returned to service in 1952 during the Korean War. He earned a degree in accounting from Youngstown State University, and worked for thirty-seven years with Republic Steel, retiring in 1990. In addition to magic, he loved vacationing in Florida, golf, and playing games of chance at casinos. Survivors include his wife of sixty-two years, Rosemarie; and a sister, Erma Baumstark. Memorial contributions may be made to Westside Cats Humane Society, 2217 Mahoning Ave., Youngstown, OH 44509.
MARIO A. GOTTUSO
Recently the I.B.M. Headquarters was notified that Mario A. Gottuso, 81, of Marcy, New York, died December 27, 2015. His I.B.M. membership number was 30358, and he had been a member since 1976. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 101 (Utica, New York), and the Society of American Magicians. He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, 1953-57, during which he was stationed in England, where he met his wife. He graduated from Syracuse University, and worked in the Aerospace Electronic System Department of General Electric for thirty-three years. He performed magic as “The Great Macaroni.” In addition to magic, he loved traveling, writing, and solving crossword puzzles. Survivors include his wife of nearly sixty years, Beryl; daughters Gina Mancini and Donna Dodson; four granddaughters and one great-granddaughter. For his family he wrote his autobiography, “The Times of My Life.” Memorial contributions may be made to Stevens-Swan Humane Society, 5664 Horatio St., Utica, NY 13502.
KEVIN J. HURLEY
Kevin Jerome Hurley, 34, of Brookline, Pennsylvania, died July 30, 2016. His I.B.M. membership number was 61344, and he had been a member since 2000. He was a member of Ring 13 (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), and the Society of American Magicians. He was both a magician and a stage hypnotist. He was the son of Jeanne M. (Alter) and Jerome E. (Marae) Hurley; and brother of Meghan (Colin Penfield) Hurley.
KENT A. ROBERG
Recently the I.B.M. Headquarters learned that Kent A. Roberg, 64, of Pleasant Valley, New York, died October 30, 2015. His I.B.M. member number was 70583, and he had been a member since 2012. Born in Oak Park, Illinois, his family moved to California when he was a toddler. Growing up there, he began his career with International Business Machines in Los Angeles, before transferring to Poughkeepsie, New York in 1983. Had had been looking forward to retiring last December, after forty-one years of service. In addition to magic, he was an amateur radio operator. Survivors at the time of his death include his wife, Debbie; children Brian (Carin), Kevin, and Kristen (Jeremy); five grandchildren; brother Carl (Cindy); and sister Maryann (Jeff). Memorial contributions may be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society or to Harvest Hills Animal Shelter, 1389 Bridgton Road, Fryeburg, ME 04037.