The I.B.M. Blog & Articles

The International Brotherhood of Magicians

01 Mar

13 Magicians Honored in March 2016 Broken Wand

Category: Broken Wand   Posted by: C. DENNIS SCHICK




Richard Arthur Amon, 69, of Wichita Falls, Texas, died February 10, 2016, killed in a motorcycle accident. His I.B.M. member number was 49349, and he had been a member since 1993. He also was a member of the Society of American Magicians, Ring 174 (Dallas, Texas), and Ring 15 (Fort Worth, Texas). Because of his love of magic, he drove more than four hours several times a month to attend Ring meetings. Born in Quincy, Illinois, he served in the United States Army. After retiring from the Army, he used his G.I. Bill and Veteran’s benefits to study the art of magic at The Chavez School of Magic in California. Among survivors are his father; brother John (Mary); sister Laura (Daniel) Baker; four nieces and nephews; twelve great-nieces and nephews; and his beloved German Shepard, Petro. 




Robert (Bob) Forester Brown, Sr., 94, of Sacramento, California, died February 7, 2016. His I.B.M. member number was 6224, and he had been a member since 1955. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Excelsior (sixty years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 192 (Sacramento, California), the Society of American Magicians, and the Magic Castle. He was one of the founders of the Sacramento Magic Club. Born in Sacramento, his interest in magic began at age eleven in the form of a Christmas gift -- the Gilbert Mysto Magic Set #1 (he received #2 and #3 the following two Christmases). Subsequently he discovered Thayer’s Magic Studio Catalog, and attended his first magic convention (P.C.A.M.) in San Francisco in 1939. Magic was firmly planted. His strong sense of devotion to his community and country were reflected into his serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, and his serving multiple local organizations over the years after he was discharged. He was honored as Outstanding Young Man of the Year for his service and leadership. He had a distinguished fifty-two-year career as an insurance salesman with Mutual of New York (MONY), regularly earning membership in the Million Dollar Round Table. After retiring he worked for Pacific Life. He used magic in his work, as well as taught other people how to use magic effectively. His stage show, “The Magic of Make Believe” was well-received throughout the world for over thirty years. Survivors include his four sons, Rob (Mary), Steve (Wendy), David (Kathy), and Garrett (Sharon); sister Marion; nine grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.




Maurice E. Cotter, 97, of Saginaw, Michigan, died January 27, 2016. He was a former member (1971-2012) of the I.B.M. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 212 (Saginaw, Midland, Bay City, Michigan). When he was in high school he saw a magician in a fair side show. The next year the magician returned and Maury worked up enough courage to ask him where he could buy tricks, and the magician referred him to Abbott’s in Colon, where he bought the same tricks he saw the magician perform. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, he worked as a bookkeeper for the Saginaw News, and worked as a part time pro magician. Following his retirement in 1983, he worked as an income tax consultant for H&R Block, for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, and for Habitat for Humanity. On his ninety-fourth birthday his Ring gave him a birthday party, and Ring members did those same tricks he first saw and bought. Survivors include his two children, Michael and Kerre; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Gene Anderson




Joseph S. Davis, 85, of Naples, Florida, died January 24, 2016. His I.B.M. membership number was 8954, and he had been a member since 1982. He was a member of the Order of Merlin (twenty-five years a continuous member). Originally from Chicago, he graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Business School, before serving as an officer in the U.S. Navy, 1953-56. He had a successful thirty-seven-year career with May Department stores, in Denver, Colorado, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Hartford, Connecticut, Akron, Ohio, and finally, back to Denver, rising to president and CEO at several stops. He retired in 1993, but retained his love for retail the rest of his life. His volunteer efforts were exemplary, making major contributions to civic, arts, and educational institutions wherever he lived. In Denver, he even taught at the University of Colorado Business School. He and his wife moved to Naples in 2010; after fifty-six years of marriage, she preceded him in death. Joe passed his love of magic on to his sons  (and hopefully his grandson). At a recent Genii Convention, there were three generations: Joe, his sons Mark and James, and James’s son, Ben. Survivors include children Betsy (Bill) Banks, Kathy (Paul) Guay, Mark (Karen), and James (Geri); eight grandchildren; and sister Mirrel Weinstein. Memorial contributions may be made to Neighborhood Health Clinic, 121 Goodlette-Frank Road, Naples, FL 34102; St. Matthew’s House, 2001 Airport Road S., Naples, FL 34112; or National Jewish Health, P.O. Box 17169 Denver, CO 80217. Condolences to




Dennis J. Debondt, 58, of Chicago, Illinois, died February 13, 2016 from cardiac arrest after a bout with internal bleeding. He was a former member of the I.B.M. (1988-2004). Born in Mexico, Missouri, he grew to six feet, seven inches, wearing a 52XL suit, and size 15 shoes, and billed himself as the “Sears Tower of Magic.” With a degree in business from the university of Missouri, he was sought after for coaching in business matters. He took up magic in his 20s in Chicago, using it as a sales rep for a children’s clothing line. He was popular throughout Chicagoland performing magic in restaurants, kids events, Chicago Blackhawks gatherings, at the racetrack and other venues, including sales meetings, and corporate retreats. He gave back, too, performing for free at children’s hospitals, seniors homes, churches, and schools. In addition to performing magic, he played the guitar and ukulele, and loved fishing. Survivors include his wife of twenty-six years, Jane; daughter Samantha, son Jack, mother Alma Jean, and brothers Larry, Kevin and Michael. 




Ronald Gene Doane, 74, of Liverpool, New York, died January 23, 2016 following an extended illness. He was a former member of the I.B.M. (1958-2002; and 2011-12). He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 74 (Syracuse, New York), the Society of American Magicians, and of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians. Born in Syracuse, New York, his early education was in a one-room schoolhouse in Liverpool, giving him both a thirst for and a broad foundation of knowledge. He graduated from Syracuse University and taught in high school in Fulton, New York, taking a special interest in teaching students with learning disabilities. He developed his interest in magic as a child, and it became a passion the rest of his life. He performed in both stage and close-up venues, from historic theaters and concert halls, to restaurants, libraries, and on sidewalks. He was an avid magic collector (including over one thousand magic books) and magic convention attendee. An active Christian in his Baptist church, he loved using magic to proclaim the gospel, and even wrote a book about it, “Mental Magic for Gospel Magicians.”  Survivors include his brother, Marshall. Memorial contributions may be made to the North Syracuse Baptist Church, 4205 Main, Syracuse, N.Y. 13212.



Irene Larsen, 79, of Los Angeles, California, died February 25, 2016. Born in Steuhlinger, Germany, her long career in magic got started in 1956 when she attended a magic show and was invited on stage by magician John Daniel. The following year she came to the United States, married Daniel and worked for Owen Magic, a manufacturer of magic products. She toured on the school circuit with Daniel and Bob Towner. In 1963 she married Bill Larsen Jr., and they became co-editors of Genii magazine, and were co-founders of the Academy of Magical Arts at the Magic Castle. In addition to magic, another of her passions was for animal rights. Survivors include three children: Dante (with John Daniel), and Heidi and Erika Larsen; and four grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to Last Chance for Animals, or any animal welfare organization.




Joan E. Lehr, 74, of Wentzville, Missouri, died February 15, 2016, after a several-year battle with cancer. She was a former member of the I.B.M. (1973-2011). She was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). She also was a member of Ring 174 (Dallas, Texas), the Society of American Magicians, and the Texas Association of Magicians. She served as the National Secretary for the S.A.M. for a period, and served in several positions for her local Assembly, including president. Beginning in 1972, she performed as Flower The Klown with her husband, Chuck. They performed in Hawaii, North Dakota and Dallas, among other places, for seniors, hospital patients and birthday kids. They won a T.A.O.M. trophy for their Comedy Stage act. She was named “Citizen of the Year” in 1994 for her outstanding volunteerism in Mesquite, Texas. Volunteering was something she did her entire life. Survivors include her husband, Charles (Chuck); sons Michael (Irene), and Mitchell (Lynn); mother, Mildred Burke; brother Russell (Marcia) Burke; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to the donor’s choice, in care of Pittman Funeral Home, P.O. Box 248, Wentzville, MO 63385.




Carl R. Macan, 82, of Overland Park, Kansas and Jupiter, Florida, died February 15, 2016 after a prolonged bout of pneumonia. His I.B.M. membership number was 59389, and he had been a member since 1998. He also was a member of Ring 129 (Kansas City, Missouri), and Ring 117 (West Palm Beach, Florida). Born in Kansas, City, Kansas, to Croatian immigrants, he married Martha Ann in 1955 and they raised four children. She died in 1978 and he married Elaine in 1993. He served in the Kansas National Guard in the 1960s, and was a pharmaceutical representative for Bristol Meyers Squibb for thirty-six years before retiring in 1994. Volunteering was an important part of Carl’s life, for such groups as the American Red Cross, and the police department. He also was a judge for Golden Gloves, and a referee for youth basketball, football, and wrestling. In retirement he took up golf and became an active magician. He chaired the I.B.M. Order of Merlin Committee. Survivors include his wife, Elaine; sons Charles (Dara) and Robert (Laura); daughters Carla (Dan) Dyer, and Amy (Steven) Obermueller; stepdaughter, Cindy (Michael) Kerwin; brothers Ed and Joe; sister Louise Grosko; ten grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. A Broken Wand ceremony was performed in his honor.




Alfred Jerome (Jerry) Mentzer, 75, of Greenville, South Carolina, died January 31, 2016. His I.B.M. member number was 16576, and he had been a member since 1957. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Excalibur (fifty years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 142. Born in Wheeling, West Virginia his family moved to Mount Pleasant, Ohio when he was a boy. He was a good student, and developed an early interest in magic, reading every magic book in neighboring libraries. He earned degrees from Ohio State University and Bowling Green University, and spent a thirty-year engineering career with Union Carbide Amoco. His work took him often to Buffalo, New York, where he visited Eddie Fechter at the Forks Hotel. This friendship led to Jerry writing and publishing “Magician Nightly -- “The Magic of Eddie Fechter” in 1974. This was just one of over forty books which he wrote, including “Card Cavalcade,” “Counts, Cuts, Moves and Subtlety,” “The Magic of Paul Harris,” “Card File,” “Card to Wallet: The Book,” and “Magic With Finger Rings.” Jerry was the founder of the magic publishing and supplies company, Magic Methods. In March 2014 he turned over the operation of the company to Eddy Wade, to whom he had been a mentor. Survivors include daughters Marykay Mentzer and Barbara Greene; four grandchildren; and brother Lawrence. Memorial contributions may be made to the I.B.M. Endowment and Development Fund, 13 Point West Blvd., St. Charles, MO 63301-4431. A Broken Wand Ceremony was conducted in his honor.




Thomas (Tom) Blaine Mullica, 67, of Las Vegas, Nevada, died February 18, 2016, from complications following hernia surgery. His I.B.M. member number was 20102. He was a member of the Order of Merlin (twenty-five years a continuous member). Born in Waupun, Wisconsin, he enlisted in the U.S. Army at age eighteen, serving in Korea and Germany. After his discharge he moved to Colon, Michigan and jumped head-on into magic, working at the Abbott’s Magic Company. Then be moved to Atlanta, Georgia and opened his own bar, the Tom-Foolery (1976-1987), where he met Red Skelton. With Red’s advice and blessing he moved to Paris and performed as a headliner at the world-famous Crazy Horse Saloon. With a new idea, he returned to the United States in 1991, and prepared a new show, “Red Skelton: A Performance Tribute.” After seventeen years (1998-2015), mostly in Branson, Missouri, he changed his life again. moving to Las Vegas, Nevada to return to his magic roots with a new act. Still planning new projects, he went into the hospital for a routine hernia operation, which went horribly wrong. Blood clots led to strokes led to organ failure led to unexpected death. Survivors include his husband, Steve Holmes Mullica. An In Memoriam to Tom appears elsewhere in this issue.




The I.B.M. Headquarters recently learned that T. Duane Price, 75, of Huntsville, Alabama, died August 24, 2015. His membership number was 27342 when he was a member, 1974-2010. He had rejoined the I.B.M. in February, 2015. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He started in magic in 1954, putting on a magic show with a friend for their church youth group. That led to birthday parties and later working his way through college doing magic. He credits local magic dealer Robert Chadwick and magic collector and attorney Don Spurrier with early help in his career. His stage name was “Tilton the Terrible.” He retired from Georgia Tech as Director of the Missile Defense Date Center, and was Program Director at Teledyne Brown Engineering for thirty years. In addition to magic, he was an avid golfer, bowler, wood worker, fireworks enthusiast, and book collector. Survivors at the time of his death included daughters Karen (Scott) Martin, and Nancy Ann (Tom) Frazier; and grandchildren Avery and Alex Behr. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alabama Kidney Foundation. 




Duane M. Wilhite, 66, of Live Oak, Texas, died December 20, 2015 in Sweetwater, Texas, while traveling to his eldest granddaughter’s wedding. His I.B.M. membership number was 60785, and he had been a member since 1999. He was a Lifetime Member. Using the name “Morgan the Clown,” he performed all over the country. He loved to perform Red Skelton’s rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance. He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1975 and served twenty-four years. Survivors include daughter Barbie (Dan) Reynolds, son Duane (Shellee); step-son David McMahon; step-daughter Melissa (Henry) Campa; brothers Dennis (Marlene), Steve; and Ron (Debbie); sister Mary (Tom) Haberkorn; and fifteen grandchildren. There was a military burial.




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