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The International Brotherhood of Magicians

27 May

11 Magicians Honored in June 2017 Broken Wand

Category: Broken Wand   Posted by: C. DENNIS SCHICK



Paul Diamond, 88, of Jensen Beach, Florida, died May 7, 2017. He held I.B.M. membership number 17440 since 1959 (fifty-eight years). He was a member of the Order of Merlin Excalibur (fifty years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 150 (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida), Ring 45 (Miami, Florida), and Society of American Magicians Assembly 49, which bears his name. Born in Brooklyn, and later lived in White Plains, New York, he was a magician, magic dealer, and popular lecturer. Paul and his wife, Andi, owned and operated Paul’s Magic and Fun Shop in Searstown in Ft. Lauderdale for many years. It was a favorite magician stopover and hangout, giving a start to dozens -- perhaps hundreds -- of magicians. He billed himself as “Mr. Humble,” an amusing contrast to his somewhat loud and direct manner. He was a talented magician and lecturer, spreading his magic wisdom through the country, and beyond (Europe, Asia, Far East, etc.). For many years he was a familiar face at every Florida magic convention, both as a Master of Ceremonies and as a dealer. Survivors include his daughter, Jodi, and sons Wayne and Rick, and their families.



Jorge R. Matos Garcia, 54, of Canovanas, Puerto Rico, died April 26, 2017, according to Maria Ibanez. He was a former member of the I.B.M. (1997-1999). As a mentalist, he performed using the names “The Jack” and “Magicman.” One Internet post on his death said he was a creative performer, but also loved to help and share magic and performing knowledge with other magicians, young and old alike. 



William Monroe Martin, 90, of Nortonville, Kentucky, died March 16, 2017. His I.B.M. member number was 12433, and he had been a member since 1987 (thirty years). He was a member of the Order of Merlin (twenty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of the Society of American Magicians. Mr. Martin was a local musician for over fifty years, and loved playing the guitar. Among survivors are: his wife of fifty-four years, Maria “Cele;” sister, Naomi (Boyd) Spiker; brother, Sidney; and several nieces and nephews.



Michael A. O’Dowd, 76, of Barnhart, Missouri, died April 12, 2017. He was widely known as the owner of O’Dowd Magic Books, which he started about 1977. His Website says “O’Dowd Conjuring Since 1952.” It goes on to say, “After fifty years of magical performing, collecting, researching, writing and manufacturing magic tricks, and selling other collections, these listings are comprised of the acquisitions for the O’Dowd Library of Conjuring.” He was even signed up to be a vendor at the I.B.M./S.A.M. Combined Convention in July, and had bins ready to load, according to his daughter. He became fascinated with magic in his youth when a magician came to his elementary school, and Michael talked him into coming to his class and doing tricks. At age twelve Michael started riding his bicycle an hour-and-a-half one way to get to DeVoe’s Magic Den in downtown St. Louis. There he worked at whatever he could to earn money to buy magic tricks. Gene DeVoe became his mentor, even teaching Mike his Sub Trunk, which he was known for. In 1964-65 he traveled with Billy Choate’s Carnival Kid Show, and later with the Ken and Roberta Griffin Show. He was a fifty-year member of the Society of American Magicians. For thirty-three years he was a Territorial Sales Manager for Flexible Steel Lacing. Survivors include his daughter, Kelly (Eddie) Jones; grandson, Riley Jones; and sisters Trish Bohn and Barbie Higginbottam. Memorial contributions may be made to The Magic House Children’s Museum, 516 Kirkwood Road, St. Louis, MO 63122;




Word has come from Mandy Davis in the United Kingdom, that Graham Reid has died. Graham was one of the late Paul Daniels’s closest friends, a magic legend, both being members of the Middlesbrough Magic Society. Graham later became one of Paul’s magic advisors on his television series. And that led to Graham becoming close friends with the late Ali Bongo, another magic legend. He was generous with his time, advice and mentoring.




Henry (Buzz) R. Ringe II, 80, of Marlton, New Jersey, died from head injuries suffered in a fall at home, according to his wife. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and raised in Chesnut Hill, he spent summers on Cape Cod, and later at Camp Mowglis in New Hampshire. After two years in the U.S. Navy, he graduated from Franklin and Marshall College. He taught briefly before joining NFL Films in 1968, working there over three decades. Among his many works were the films, “The Sensational Sixties,” “You Make the Call,” and “Lost Treasures of NFL Films.” He co-authored “SCORE!,” the autobiography of Hall of Fame radio announcer Gene Hart. He was a lifelong supporter of Camp Mowglis, serving on its staff and board of trustees. He loved to perform elaborate magic shows for his family and friends. Survivors include his wife, Sarah (“Sally”); his children and grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to the Holt-Elwell Memorial Foundation at, in support of Camp Mowglis.



Rev. Kurt Anthony Spengler, 75, of Lombard, Illinois, died May 7, 2017. He held I.B.M. member number 51963, and had been a member since 1995 (twenty-two years). He also was a member of Ring 43 (Chicago, Illinois), and the Society of American Magicians. He was a retired teacher with the Chicago Public Schools for thirty-five years. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from DePaul University, a Bachelor of Laws from LaSalle University, and a Master of Arts from Rosary College. A member of the Basilian Fathers of the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church, he was ordained, was a Chaplain, and a Captain in the Civil Air Patrol. Survivors include his wife, Roberta; children, Mark (Eve), Heidi (Luis) Posada, and Emilian (Julie Castro); seven grandchildren; brother, Bruce, and sister, Dana (William) Nosek; and brother-in-law Robert (Patricia) Stuckman.




Recently the I.B.M. Headquarters office was informed that John Niles Sponseller, 84, of North Canton, Ohio, died September 18, 2016. His I.B.M. member number was 38241, and he had been a member since 1982 (thirty four years). He was a member of the Order of Merlin (twenty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 243 (Canton, Ohio). He was a graduate of Staunton Military Academy, Mount Union College, and the Cleveland-Marshall Law School. He spent his working career as a practicing attorney with his family’s law firm, Sponseller and Rothermel, and as owner of the Midland Title Agency. He was a U.S. Navy veteran, serving as a meteorologist in the Canal Zone in Panama. In addition to magic, he loved golf, hunting bowling, traveling and hosting family reunions and fine dining. He also was a private pilot. Survivors include his wife of sixty-one years, Carol; children, John (Mary Ann), James (Kristie), Patricia Feigle, and Nancy (Jeff) Rothermel; and five grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to Habitat for Humanity, or Stark County Humane Society.



Sophia Szilagyi, 96, of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, died December 16, 2016, according to Joan Caesar. She was a former member of the I.B.M. (1986-2014). She was a member of the Order of Merlin (twenty-five years a continuous member). She also was a member of Ring 49 (Hamilton, Ontario) and Ring 235 (Kitchener, Ontario). Originally from Hungary, she lived in England several years before moving to Canada. In her profile in the Ring 235 newsletter in 1987, she said shortly after her husband died four years earlier, she didn’t want to spend Christmas alone so went on a group bus trip to Florida. One day when it was cold, she walked to a plaza near the hotel, and saw a man selling magic tricks. She stopped, he showed her how to do several tricks, and then and there fell in love with magic. She did such a good job entertaining people on the bus on the ride home that the tour director said she should keep doing it. She took a magic course, loved to practice, and performed the rest of her life. At one performance, the emcee introduced her as “Madam X” (probably not know how to pronounce her name). She liked it so kept using it. She said she never had stage fright; she was a natural performer, having studied piano and dance in her youth. Ring 235 Secretary Darryl Hutton said she rarely missed a Ring meeting, attending (and performing) until her mid-nineties. She didn’t have a computer so he called her the day before each meeting. She was awarded a Life Membership in Ring 235.   



Rev. William (Bill) Larry Tresslar, 84, of Martinsville, Indiana, died April 28, 2017. He was a former member of the I.B.M. (1998-2007). He was a member of Ring 336 (Nashville, Tennessee). He earned his Doctor of Ministry at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, and ministered to communities across Central Indiana for thirty-eight years for the United Methodist Church. In addition to magic, he loved the outdoors, photography, electronics, woodworking, inventing, and mechanics. Survivors include his wife of fifty-five years, Betty Sue; daughters Shannon (Terry) Dodson, and Karen (Mark) Wolf; four grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.  Memorial contributions may be made to Autism Speaks, Inc., 1 East 33rd Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016.



Arno Ziesnitz, 88, of Springfield, Virginia, died April 30, 2017. His I.B.M. membership number was 20708, and he had been a member since 1966 (fifty-one years). He was a member of the Order of Merlin Excalibur (fifty years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 50 (Washington, D.C.). Born and raised in Germany, he immigrated to America in 1950. Shortly after he arrived in this country, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served two years during the Korean War. After his discharge he attended San Jose State on the G.I. Bill, working at night as a police officer for the City of San Jose. After graduating he became a Treasury Agent, working for twenty years in foreign countries while attached to U.S. Consulates and U.S. Embassies in Europe and Asia. While in Hong Kong for three years, he met his Australian wife, Sharon. After retiring, he and his wife became private art dealers. Arno’s interest in magic started during his childhood in Germany when he saw “Marvelli” perform the Dancing Cane. Years later when assigned to Germany, he joined the German Magic Circle and also the I.B.M. in 1966. He is survived by his wife, Sharon.















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