The I.B.M. Blog & Articles

The International Brotherhood of Magicians

25 Oct

15 Magicians Receive Tributes in November Broken Wand

Category: Broken Wand   Posted by: C. DENNIS SCHICK





William (Bill) Thomas Benson, 76, of Los Gatos, California, died September 4, 2017, from kidney cancer. His I.B.M. membership number was 65871, and he had been a member since 2005 (twelve years). He also was a member and officer of Ring 216 (San Jose, California). Born in Topeka, Kansas, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and flight training and flew twenty-eight missions during the Vietnam War. After a second deployment he earned an MBA from Columbia University, and moved to San Jose, California to pursue a real estate career. There he became a real estate industry leader, first at Coldwell Banker and later at Koll Company. A believer in education, he taught Junior Achievement classes, and served on the TMCA board. In addition to magic, he was passionate about robotics and astronomy. Other hobbies included fly fishing, SCUBA diving, sailing, golf, and world travel. Survivors include his wife of thirty-seven years, Mary; daughter and stepsons, Jennifer McDowell, John Lawson, and Jeffrey Campbell; brother Michael (Elaine); seven grandchildren and step-grandchildren; and mother of Jennifer, Cynthia. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of the Valley, 4850 Union Ave., Campbell, CA 95008, or American Cancer Society:



Laurence (Laurie) Phillip Brokenshire, 64, of Stubbington, Hampshire, England, died August 4, 2017, of brain cancer. He was a member of the Associated Wizards of the South, the Winchester Magic Society, and the Portsmouth and District Magic Circle. He performed magic (including table magic for members of the British Royal Family), and carried his magic bag frequently, looking for opportunities to spread laughter and wonder. Born in Plymouth, his early interests in magic, puzzles and chess followed him throughout his life, excelling in all three. After graduating from the University of Exeter, he joined the Royal Navy as an instructor (his father’s career and service branch). His career developed as a submariner and later as a senior Royal Navy officer (Commodore), retiring in 2003. He then was appointed Commodore of the UK Sea Cadet Corps for several years. A hobby which took over his life was puzzling. It was estimated that he owned the largest collection of puzzles in England. He even built an addition to his house to accommodate them all. He and his wife traveled the world to international puzzle parties. But his distinguished career and hobbies were not enough. He and his wife, in addition to rearing four children of their own (Sarah, Matthew, Rachel, and Philip), fostered nearly seventy children over two decades. And having swum the English Channel thirty years earlier, when he was diagnosed with his terminal cancer in 2016, he and his family initiated a charity swim of thirty miles, hoping to raise $40,000; they raised nearly $60,000. Survivors include his wife of thirty-seven years, Ethel; and their children and their families, including five grandchildren. 



Oran B. Dent, 79, of Centerville, Ohio, died recently. His I.B.M. membership number was 15764, and he had been a member since 1956 (sixty-one years). He was a member of the Order of Merlin Excelsior (sixty years a continuous member). He also was a member of I.B.M. Ring 5 (Dayton, Ohio), Ring 71 (Cincinnati, Ohio), and Ring 324 (Middletown, Ohio), as well as Society of American Magicians, Assemblies 3, 50, and 56. Born in Memphis, Tennessee, he earned a B.A. degree from Rhodes College, a M.A. from Vanderbilt University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee. While a student he was an assistant director and actor for the Memphis Children’s Theatre. He retired as a clinical psychologist with the VA Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio in 1996. He also served on the faculty at both Miami University and at Wright State. His contributions to magic included performing, researching, collecting and writing (The Linking Ring, The New Tops, Genii, The Pentacle, The Mentalist, and others). A Broken Wand Ceremony was conducted at his graveside service. 



Marilyn L. Douglas, 69, of Corpus Christi, Texas, died October 1, 2017 after a courageous battle with breast cancer. Her I.B.M. associate membership number was 24261, and she had been a member since 1971 (forty-six years). She was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). She also was a member of Ring 157 (Corpus Christi, Texas). As a member of the Texas Association of Magicians, she helped her husband, Joe, win the trophy for Best Club Magic in 1971. They recently celebrated their forty-eighth wedding anniversary. Magic was always a part of their marriage. She was active in her church, especially in women’s, Bible, and children’s ministries. In addition to her love of the Lord, other passions  included her family, magic, traveling, Italian food, and chocolate. Survivors include her husband, Joe; daughters, Mekelle (Danny) Waters, and Christina (Jeremy) Gabrysch, and son, Joey; and grandchildren, Nate and Taylor Gabrysch, and Logan and Deacon Waters. Memorial contributions may be made to Stonecroft, at



John Gapp, 83, of Gloucestershire, England, died September 25, 2017 from heart problems. He was past president of the Society of World Deaf Magicians. His stage name was “Johnny Fantastica.” His photo and a short biography were in Simon Carmel’s 2013 book about deaf magicians, “Invisible Magic.” Gapp’s daughter called Carmel about her father’s death. 




Recently the I.B.M. headquarters office was notified that John William Ice, 82, of Houston, Texas, died May 15, 2017, after a long battle with dementia. He was a former member of the I.B.M. (1955-2013, 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 39 (Houston, Texas), and the Society of American Magicians. For Ring 39 he was the longtime auctioneer for their annual auctions. Born in Anna, Illinois, he had a long career in the printing business in both Chicago and Houston. Survivors include his daughters, Susan (Scott) MacCall, and Karen Baker; grandchildren Kasey, Kelly, and Randy Baker; and his ex-wife of twenty-one years, Kathy Walker. The Broken Wand Ceremony was performed at his memorial service.



Clement (Clem) J. Kinnicutt, 77, of Albany, New York, died September 23, 2017. His I.B.M. membership number was 37777, and he had been a member since 1982. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 186 (Albany, New York), the Society of American Magicians, SAM Assembly 24, and the Magic Circle in London, England. He served as S.A.M. Life Membership Chairman, being one himself. Born in Albany, he was a long-time freelance photographer with the former Knickerbocker News. He retired as a regional supervisor after a twenty-nine year career with Niagara Mohawk Power Company. He became interested in magic at the age of eight when he saw a magician by the name of Eddie perform at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City. Magic became a lifetime hobby. Over the years he helped raise more than $300,000 for various charities using magic. In addition to magic, he loved his church, ocean cruises, visits to Disney World, and visiting national parks. Survivors include his wife, Jean; children, James (Luisa), Jeffrey, and John (Diane); and eight grandchildren. In his honor twenty fellow magicians came and performed the Broken Wand Ceremony.




Recently the I.B.M. headquarters office was notified that Charles Walter Kirchner, 74, died April 22, 2017. His I.B.M. member number was 32996, and he had been a member since 1978 (thirty-nine years). He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). As a young child he fell in love with magic when his mother took him to see Harry Blackstone. He created his own magic act and performed at birthday parties and community events throughout high school. He discovered the power of business cards and became a local celebrity by passing them out everywhere. In 1960 his family moved to Southern California, with Chuck attending Cal State Long Beach, majoring in theater arts and minoring in music. He was an accomplished musician, playing clarinet and drums. At age twenty-two he bought a small party outfit, extending his entrepreneur experience. In 1973, he and his wife, who he met in college, started Magic City and grew it into one of the world’s largest magic wholesale businesses. Chuck loved to entertain, and created two characters which audiences loved, Buster Balloon and Mr. Lots-of-Fun. In addition to magic, other interests included photography, camping, and garden railroads.  Survivors include his wife of fifty-four years, Katherine; and children Charles and Gerald, and their families.



James S. Locke, 72, of Farmington, New Hampshire, died September 14, 2017. He was a former member of the I.B.M. (1988-1994). He was a member of Ring 166 (Manchester, New Hampshire). He began a military career shortly after high school and traveled the world with his wife, Susan, and their growing family. After leaving the military, he began a career as a magician, performing in many locations, and forming a multi-generational act with his son, Brian, and grandson, Devon. He encouraged and helped Susan in fostering many children. After Susan died he remarried and they developed their own interests, including the Native American culture. Survivors include his wife, Elizabeth; children, Joyce Locke, Terry (Newell) Brewer, and Brian (Angela); six grandchildren; and sister, Mary Smith. Memorial contributions may be made to the Seacoast Cancer Center, 789 Central Ave., Dover, NH 03820.



Paul Maurice McCallie, 72, of Fosterville, Tennessee, died September 28, 2017, after being struck by a car while crossing the road to his mailbox. His I.B.M. member number was 35729, and he had been a member since 1982. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member. He also was a member of Ring 58 (Knoxville, Tennessee), Ring 37 (Nashville, Tennessee), and was a charter member of Ring 252 (Murfreesboro, Tennessee). Born in Shelbyville, Tennessee, he served two tours of duty in the U.S. Army in the 82nd Airborne Division. Then he was a security guard for Dell Corporation, from which he retired. Survivors include his siblings, David (Bonnie), Marilyn Morgan, Martha (Tony) Helton, and Marjorie Cantrell. Memorial contributions may be made to the Shelbyville Bedford County Public Library for the McCallie Reading Room; the Tennessee Fisher House at the Alvin C. York Medical Center, Murfreesboro, TN; or to the American Diabetes Association.



John R. (J.R.) Selders, 83, of Salem, Ohio, died September 5, 2017. His I.B.M. membership number was 22947, and he had been a member since 1969 (forty-eight years). He also was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years). Born in Killbuck, Ohio, he graduated from Kentucky Christian University, with post-graduate training in psychology and counseling at Youngstown State University and two hospitals. He served churches in Ohio and Missouri for fifty years as a local minister. He also led Christian Service Camps, and was director of the Principles of Abundant Living Seminar. He was an after dinner and motivational speaker, using magic and humor. 

The Ohio Safety Commission hired him to present a safety message at Safety Banquets held throughout the state. He also gave seminars on motivation, goal-setting, management skills, in-house training, and positive thinking. He was a member of the National Speaker’s Association. Always active in community affairs, he was a chaplain for the police department and the voluntary fire department, served on the P.T.A., and participated in community variety programs as a singer and comedian. Survivors include his wife of sixty-three years, Shirley; daughter, Deanna (Art) Anderson; two grandsons, Adam (Lindsey) and Ryan (Talia); four great-grandchildren; sister, Evelyn (Jim) Childers, and brother-in-law Gary (Sandy) Mayfield. Memorial contributions may be made to Crossmark Ministry, P.O. Box 304, Washingtonville, OH 44490, or to Samaritan’s Purse, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607, to aid Hurricane Harvey relief.



Charles (Chuck) D. Smith, 87, of Florida, died September 21, 2017 from complications of a stroke. He was a member of Ring 170 (Orlando, Florida) and Ring 258 (Leesburg, Florida). Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he lived there and in New York before moving to Florida. He was an independent film-maker, cameraman, film editor and partner in Sandcrest Media with his son, Chris. Over the years he worked with all the major networks -- ABC, NBC and CBS. As a boy, he fell in love with magic while watching a performance by Marvin (“Mr. Electric”) Roy and Dell O’Dell. He spent time at Cantor’s Magic Shop, learning from the demonstrators there. He began performing magic in high school at talent shows and other venues, including the VFW and other lodges in the area. His stage name was “Stylesmith.” He also performed during his time in the U.S. Air Force. He wrote about magic in various publications, including The New Jinx. He created a seven-disc set called “ENIGMA -- the DVD.” He also wrote a book, which is yet to be published. His other interests included gardening, classic movies, cooking, travel, wine-making, and his family. Survivors include his children, Brooke Langan, Jeff, and Christopher, and their families. A Broken Wand Ceremony was conducted by members of Ring 258.



Philip Morris Daniel Smith, 82, of Charlotte, North Carolina, died September 24, 2017 after a long illness. He was a former member of the I.B.M. (1962-2014 -- fifty-two years). He was a member of the Order of Merlin Excalibur (fifty years a continuous member). Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, at the age of six his father took him to Colon, Michigan to buy some magic tricks. That led him to the stage, and he never left. He also became interested in ventriloquism and he performed with “Smitty” all over, even on radio. He moved up to larger illusions and “Ghost” Shows, which were popular in the 1950s. He had a girlfriend as an assistant, and later married her. He had the idea of renting movie theaters, selling tickets and then performing magic and spook shows in them. Known as “Phiip Morris, he spent a lifetime entertaining the world -- on stage, on radio and television, in the movies -- everywhere. He was the frequent ringmaster for the Royal Hannaford Circus. He couldn’t find a source for gorilla suits, so he started manufacturing them. In the mid-1960s he began producing family fantasy-themed shows, the first called “The Wonderful World of Fantasy,” which toured with six people. He and his wife accumulated a bunch of costumes in their basement, so they added more and established Morris Costumes, which today is the world’s largest suppliers of costumes, magician supplies, and theatrical supplies. They bought an empty warehouse to accommodate it all. Morris Costumes is still operated by three generations of the Morris family. In 1979 he and Dennis Phillips co-wrote the textbook on haunted houses called “How to Operate a Financially Successful Haunted House.” It is still in print and is the master manual for the industry.  Yes, he did it all and left a wonderful legacy. Survivors include his wife, Amy; daughters Terri and Sandra, and son, Scott, and their families, including six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. 




Recently the I.B.M. headquarters office was notified that Karl J. Wagner, 84, of Indianapolis, Indiana, died May 13, 2017. He was a former I.B.M. member. Born in Phoenix, Arizona, he served in the U.S. Navy for five years during the Korean War. He was a professional entertainer and magician, touring the country performing at elementary schools from coast to coast. He literally “wrote the book” on safety magic, entitled “Safety Magic for Children.” He also performed magic in other venues for all ages. One of his biggest joys was bringing smiles to people’s faces, so smile right now because of him. Survivors include his daughter, Amy (Paul) Dietz, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.



James Peter Watt, 77, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, died April 23, 2017. His I.B.M. membership number was 30076, and he had been a member since 1991. 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. Born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he worked for several companies over the years, including Sears, Ed Fisher Datsun, Coleman’s Ice Cream, and Oregon Dairy. He became interested in magic at age twelve after receiving his first trick as a gift from his mother. Magic became a lifelong passion, from stage shows to restaurants throughout the Lancaster and York areas. He was particularly known for his Fire Wallet and his illusion Man in a Cage Carried by a Gorilla. In addition to magic, other interests included scuba diving, trapshooting, and drag racing. Survivors include his son, Steve (Lisa) and several nieces and nephews. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice and Community Care of Lancaster, P.O. Box 4125, Lancaster, PA 17604, or to the Lancaster County SPCA, 848 S. Prince St., Lancaster, PA 17603.



















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