The I.B.M. Blog & Articles

The International Brotherhood of Magicians

27 Mar

April Broken Wand Honors Sixteen People

Category: Broken Wand   Posted by: C. DENNIS SCHICK



John Eli Abernathy, 90, of Tavares, Florida, died November 15, 2016, from complications of renal failure, diabetes, and a massive heart attack. He was a former member of the I.B.M. (1999-2012). He was a member of Ring 258 (Leesburg, Florida). Known as “Santa,” he enjoyed coin magic and had many books and videos on the subject. He performed mostly for friends, family, and Ring members. He was the official Ring photographer. He attended high school in Frankton, Indiana, and served in the U.S. Navy for twenty-five years, in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. After retiring, he worked for I.B.M. as a customer service engineer. Survivors include his children, John, Mark, Sharon, Coreen, and Luana, and their families. 



Robert G. Allen (a.k.a. Robert Campbell), 70, of Las Vegas, Nevada, died October 29, 2016. His I.B.M. member number was 24829, and he had been a member since 1972 (forty-four years). He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 257 (Las Vegas, Nevada). He spent fifty-five years in show business, including magic, music, hypnosis, comedy, and acting, in the theater, television, and movies. For the past twelve years he entertained with productions such as The Haunted Vegas Tour, The Vegas Mob Tour, The Goodsprings Ghost Hunt, and The Casino Tour. Survivors include his wife, Deborah; children, Heather Campbell and Melissa Danielson (Dwane Chance); grandchildren Vanessa, Isabelle, Tanner, and Emmalee; mother, Ann Campbell; brother Allan (Tami) Campbell; and brother-in-law, Steven Bush. Memorial contributions may be made to the Robert George Allen Memorial Fund, c/o Nevada Community Foundation, 410 S. Rampart Blvd., Suite 390, Las Vegas, NV 89145, or



Donald Bartol Banks, 87, of Sacramento, California, died November 8, 2016. His I.B.M. member number was 24679 and he had been a member since 1972 (forty-five years). He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 192 (Sacramento, California), and the Society of American Magicians. Born and reared in Jersey City, New Jersey, at the age of nine he received a Gilbert Mysto Magic Set for Christmas, launching his life-long love of magic. In fourth grade he even made an original illusion, cutting a dowel into six pieces. painting them white, and fastening matches on the end so he could pull out “candles” already lit. At thirteen he discovered Max Holden’s Magic Shop in Manhattan, and spent many Saturdays hanging out there, meeting many famous magicians. During his long daily swims for exercise, he memorized the Nikola Card System, and he even remembered it into his eighties. He joined the Army Air Corps in 1946 at the age of seventeen, graduating from Radar School. While serving in the Panama Canal, he met fellow magician and soldier Paul Diamond, who later became a close friend. After the service, he worked for the State of California as a Radio Communications Operator, and magic disappeared from his wife. But in 1971 he stumbled across Buma’s House of Magic in San Francisco and magic resurfaced. When he retired in 1988, magic took over. He had co-founded “Sacramento’s Secret Seven,” a group of close-up magicians, and the “Tuesday Magic Group.” He also invented a number of magic effects, including “The Hole Card Penetration,” “Shooting Blanks,” and “Dazzler.” In addition to magic, Don loved dancing, movies, and pizza. Among survivors are his wife of fifty-three years, Marilee; daughters Kim (Walt) Longton, Libby, and Amy Dorsey; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. A Broken Wand Ceremony was performed at his memorial service.




The I.B.M. Headquarters Office recently was notified that John L. Blogin, 81, of Kansas City, Missouri, died January 10, 2016. His I.B.M. membership number was 19902, and he had been a member since 1964 -- fifty-two years. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Excalibur (fifty years a continuous member). He attended DeLaSalle Military Academy, and served three years in the Navy. He was an air traffic controller for thirty years, then taught air traffic controlling for another nine years. In addition, he ran Honest John’s Fireworks for more than sixty years. He and his wife took groups of fireworks dealers and friends to China each October for over twenty years. At the time of his death survivors included his wife, Nancy; children Monica (Richard) Harden, Veronica, Mary Catherine, John Jr., and Joan (Mark) McCormack; eleven grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and several step-grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to NorthCare Hospice, 1500 Meadow Lake Parkway, Suite 200, Kansas City, MO 64114.



Robert (Bob) Eric Cassidy, 67, of Clifton, New Jersey, died February 24, 2017. He was a former member of the I.B.M. (1980-1985). Born in Kearney, New Jersey, he became interested in magic as a boy while watching Mark Wilson’s television show. He and his brother frequently visited the Mecca Magic Shop in Bloomfield, New Jersey, as well as Tannen’s Magic Store in New York City. At twelve, he performed on “Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour.” After serving in the U.S. Navy, he worked on Holland American Cruises as a mentalist and hypnotist, while attending Montclair College. He went on to earn a law degree from Seton Hall Law School. With three others he founded the Psychic Entertainers Association and edited its monthly journal. He wrote several books on mentalism, including Pseudomentally Yours, The Art of Mentalism, and The Artful Mentalism of Bob Cassidy. He was a popular performer at such venues as the Magic Castle, Playboy Clubs, and conventions. Survivors include his daughters, Lana Cassidy and Alycia Galway; four grandchildren; mother, Inge; and brother, Tom.




Recently the I.B.M. Headquarters Office was notified that Jack James Deno, 62, of Kokomo, Indiana, died September 9, 2016. His I.B.M. member number was 35004, and he had been a member since 1979 (thirty-seven years). He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). Born in Columbus, Ohio, he earned degrees in Electrical Engineering -- a B.S. from Ohio State University and a M.S. from the University of Illinois. He worked for General Motors and Delphi for more than three decades, including three years in Melbourne, Australia. As a young teenager, he worked for a magic store in Columbus, Ohio. Magic became his life-long hobby and he entertained many people throughout his life. Survivors include his wife, Jayne; sons Daniel (Kristen Sciaccotta) and David; and brothers Michael (Darlene) and Arthur (Julie). Memorial contributions may be made to the Indiana University of Medicine Alzheimer Disease Research Fund:



Msgr. Vincent N. Foy, 101, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, died March 13, 2017. His I.B.M. member number was 12634, and he had been a member since 1980 (thirty-seven years). He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 17 (Toronto, Ontario). In his seventy-eighth year of priesthood, he was the oldest and longest-serving priest in the history of the Archdiocese of Toronto. He graduated from St. Augustine’s Seminary in 1939, and earned a doctorate in canon law. In 1957, Pope Pius XII named him a Prelate of Honour, earning him the title of Monsignor. He retired in 1979 but remained active during his thirty-eight years of retirement. His persistent pro-life preaching and writing led to him being named Pro-Life Man of the Year and inspired a thirty-minute documentary on his life. Magicians in Toronto and beyond knew of him for his contributions to magic literature, including publications released under the pen name Dr. George E. Casaubon, as well as his assistance in writing important books, The Magic and Methods of Ross Bertram, and Bertram on Sleight of Hand. Later, in his nineties, Ron van Someren photographed him performing nearly one hundred one-handed cuts with playing cards he invented, which were compiled and published in A Cut Above in 2011. 



Hudson F. Grotzinger, 92, of Loveland, Colorado, died January 25, 2017, after a long illness. He held I.B.M. membership number 6747 since 1941 -- seventy-six years! He was a member of the Order of Merlin Excelsior (sixty years a continuous member). He also was a charter member of Ring 250 (Fort Collins, Colorado), of which he was a past president. For over two decades he was an integral part in the success of the Magic in the Rockies convention. He became fascinated with magic about age eleven when world-class magician Bill Baird  performed at his church. Hudson went to the library and found magic books to read. His Sunday School teacher, who was a retired vaudeville magician, taught him more tricks. When he received five dollars to perform at a birthday party, it sparked a passion for performing. As a soldier during World War II he performed for his fellow troops during down time. And later, when he worked at Hewlett-Packard, he drove the engineers crazy trying to figure out his tricks. Along the way he picked up the stage name, “Old Son of a Witch.” In addition to performing magic, he was a magic inventor and manufacturer. He made custom exotic wood and metal magic wands, selling them under the name “Excalibur.” He helped develop key parts for Walter Blaney’s Stainless Steel Miracle Levitation Hoop. And he built -- and sold -- a “better Card Duck” when he was disappointed in the one he had purchased. He said his favorite part of performing magic was to watch the reactions of people. Survivors include his wife of forty-nine years, Gloria; and daughters Debi, Lynn Bond, Linda, and Reverend Terri, and their families.



Jeffrey Blaine Hepburn, 61, of Urbandale, Iowa, died February 23, 2017, after a prolonged fight with cancer. His I.B.M. membership number was 41916, 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 Ring 167 (Des Moines, Iowa), of which he was a past president, and the Society of American Magicians. Early in life he found his true vocation, teaching high school chemistry. He earned a B.S. from the University of Northern Iowa and a M.S. from the University of Iowa. By adding a second love -- magic -- he not only taught students how much fun chemistry and science could be, he also taught other teachers how to become more effective as well. He gave over one hundred and fifty presentations -- including performing chemistry magic shows -- at science and chemistry conventions around the world. One of his popular presentations -- “A Magical Chemistry Extravaganza” -- was usually hosted by local colleges and/or high schools. He received many awards and recognitions for his teaching and for his teaching of teachers. In addition to teaching and magic, he was a chef and wine connoisseur. Survivors include his brothers, Scott (Denise) and Greg (Kathy); and sisters, Kim (Craig) Wiles and Dawn (Tom) Camamo. Memorial contributions may be made to the chemistry program at Central Academy, or to the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, 1915 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50309. The Broken Wand Ceremony was performed at his memorial service.



Arshad Khan, 72, of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, died February 5, 2017. His I.B.M. member number was 27693, and he had been a member since 1974 (forty-three years). He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 235 (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada). He was a dedicated psychiatrist in Kitchener-Waterloo for twenty-nine years, and a devoted member of the community. Survivors include his wife, Rita; children Rajal (Jennifer), and Aanchal (Bradley); brother, Amin (Talat), and sister, Parveen.



David Lloyd Mayer, 87, of West Chicago (Fredericksburg), Illinois, died February 12, 2017. He was a former member of the I.B.M. (1975-1991). Born in Wheaton, Illinois, he served in the U.S. Army, and also earned a Master’s Degree. Survivors include his wife, Shirley; daughter, Pam (John) Mayer-Caes; son, Steve (Nary); son, John (Anne); son Peter (Carla); daughter-in-law, Melissa Gatrell; fifteen grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Memorial contributions may be made to Liberia Life Ministries, 260 West 560 Geneva Road, Carol Stream, IL 60188.




Recently the I.B.M. Headquarters Office learned that Blair George McEwen, 56, of Corinth, Texas, died July 31, 2016, following a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer.  His I.B.M. member number was 71107, and he had been a member since 2013. Born in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, he and his family lived in Barron, Wisconsin (where he met his wife), and Sedalia, Missouri. He has a man of many talents, including being a certified welder, a Corps of Engineers worker, and a businessman who excelled in executive sales for Culligan Water. During the past eleven years he was a successful Realtor. along with his wife and son. A deeply religious man, he helped plant new churches, as well as worked with church youth organizations. He loved the outdoors, from hunting with a bow, to camping trips to racing. He and his son traveled the country on the Superkart USA pro series. He loved to travel the country with his wife on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.  Survivors include his wife of thirty-six years, Brenda; children Briana (Jordan) Wollman, and Berek (Mallory); and four grandchildren; and his siblings and their families. Memorial contributions may be made to Wells Fargo Memorial Fund: Blair McEwen Memorial Fund, 2611 Cross Timbers Road, Flower Mound, TX 75028.




Daniel Murray Miller, 84, of Great Neck, New York, died March 13, 2017. His I.B.M. membership number was 42500, and he had been a member since 1987 (twenty-nine years). He was a member of the Order of Merlin (twenty-five years a continuous member). He was also a member of Ring 244 (Long Island, New York), Ring 317 (Suffolk County, New York), the Society of American Magicians, the Long Island Magic Club, and the Que Club (an invitation-only group). In 1980, a friend invited him to attend an adult education magic course with him, and Dan discovered his passion. But he was destined for a magical life from the start. He was born at 3:30 in the afternoon on, yes, 3/3/33. For the next four decades “Magic Dan” was never without a deck of cards in his pocket or a trick up his sleeve. Wherever he went he loved to bring smiles and laughter to whoever he met, wherever he was. Survivors include his wife of fifty-nine years, Myra; daughter, Dana; and grandson, Marco.



Gerald D. “Jerry Fields” Rosenfield, 85, of Mattapan (Boston), Massachusetts, died February 19, 2017. His I.B.M. member number was 23190, and he had been a member since 1970 (forty-seven years). He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He also was  a member of Ring 122 (Boston, Massachusetts), of which he was a past president; the New England Spotlighters, the American Guild of Variety Artists, and the Society of American Magicians. His interest in magic began as a boy and he spent many afternoons at Holden’s Magic Shop in Boston.  While he worked at Jordan Marsh in Boston, he met his wife, Anna, who also worked there. They married, raised two daughters, and began a sixty-five-year magical partnership. “The Amazing Fields” were featured on the cover of the June 1988 issue of The Linking Ring. Over the years they performed thousands of shows. at venues from country clubs and county fairs to television appearances. They produced over one hundred and thirty magic lectures and events, including their “Legerdemain Lectures at Leisure,” “Sunday Sorceror’s Soirees,” and “Magic Weekends.” They performed and supplied entertainment for the Middlesex County Fair for twenty-five years. For forty-five years the Fields operated an entertainment agency, specializing in over ninety unusual novelty acts which included their own Fields Circus. Jerry built most of his own props and illusions. His house was full of display cases and bookshelves full of magic. He was a founding member of the New England Magic Collector’s Association. In addition to magic Jerry had many other interests, including astronomy, photography, stamp collecting, hunting, sport fishing, and a CB Club he founded. He was a U.S. Navy veteran during the Korean War. He was one of the first people to embrace the Apple Macintosh computer. He worked for Stoddards of Boston and Camfour, Inc. Survivors include his wife, Anna; daughters Denise and Cheryl; grandchildren, Elizabeth, Luke, Lena, and Max; and five great-grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to: St. Jude Children’s Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.



Rex William Williams, 81, of New Zealand, died February 25, 2017. His alter ego was “Rexano the Tipsy Trixster.” Remarks made at his funeral described his basic act: With background music, Rex would mime the part of a slightly inebriated English gentleman, wearing top hat, white tie and tails and standing next to a lamppost. He showed a puzzled expression as unexpected things started to happen: billiard balls appearing at his fingertips, and then disappearing; a lighted candle multiplied into two, then three, then four, then return to one. On and on. The audience roared. He performed at many venues -- cabarets, concerts, banquets and corporate parties -- wherever entertainment was needed. Another of his most popular routines was his eight-minute Chinese Linking Rings, which often went on for twenty-five minutes or more. He also teamed up with other magicians -- Ray Lewis, Watson Raines, and Graham Pratley -- to perform comedy sketches. Survivors include his wife, Loraine; children Anthony (Maria) and Shirelle (Todd), and their families; and grandchildren Brodie, Tayla, and Brooks. Memorial contributions may be made to Heritage Lifecare (for the Edith Cowell Comfort Fund). The Broken Wand ceremony was conducted in his honor.



James (Jim) E. Zachary, 83, of Mulberry, Florida, died in mid-March, 2017. He was a former member of the I.B.M. (1966-2011, forty-five years). He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He was a past International President of the Society of American Magicians (1980-81). Born in Hartford, Connecticut, he was a conductor and brakeman for the New Haven Railroad. He was best known for his dice-stacking abilities, his book Zacks Stacks (1980), and a related video, as well as his high-quality magic tables. He took lessons from Slydini. In Connecticut he co-owned magic manufacturing companies with Ken Allen, and later. his own Magic Workshop. He and his wife, Joyce, moved to Florida in 1982. Jim and his son operated Magical Enterprises, producing quality coin boxes, close-up suitcases/tables, and other products. Their slogan was “Good things are not cheap and cheap things are not good.” S.A.M. Assembly 266 is named after him. Survivors include his wife, Joyce, and their two sons.














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