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The International Brotherhood of Magicians

01 Feb

Broken Wand has 19 magicians for February 2013

Category: Broken Wand   Posted by: I.B.M. Website Editor

The Broken Wand which appeared in the February 2013 issue of The Linking Ring included obituaries for nineteen magicians, according to Broken Wand editor Dennis Schick. "This is a record number of obituaries for one month," said Schick, "but we had an unusually large number of deaths which were older than six months ago." The I.B.M. membership committee does a great job making contacts for membership renewals. Often that is when we learn of a member's death. But we do want to include these in the archives, as well as to give public notice of the deaths." As always, we ask anyone who hears of a magician's death, to notify the I.B.M. Office ASAP.


Ray. F. Bittenbender, 63, of Boyertown, Pennsylvania, died December 21, 2012, of lung cancer. His I.B.M. member number was 22432, and he had been a member since 1968. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 57, the Mingus Magic Ring. He worked as a weaver at Bally Ribbon Mills for the past forty-five years. He performed under his own name and as Ray Brodan. He was a member of the Janus Theater Company in the 1980s and 1990s. He is survived by numerous cousins and extended family.


Louis William “Bill” Chaudet, 91, of Fair Oaks, California, died January 5, 2013, of Alzheimer’s disease. His I.B.M. number was 51842, and he had been a member since 1995. He was a member of Ring 21, the Carl Fleming Ring, and Ring 326, the Harry Blackstone Jr. Ring. He also was Charter Member #8 of the Magic Castle, and later was made a Life Member. He grew up in Hollywood; his father was a writer and director, and his mother was a vaudeville musician. As a young man he was inspired by seeing the Blackstone Magic Show, and soon became Blackstone Sr.’s protege, traveling with the show as his assistant. He was officially named Blackstone’s successor in 1947. Much later, when Harry Blackstone Jr. decided to carry on in his father’s footsteps, Mr. Chaudet graciously stepped aside and returned the “successor” title to the Blackstone family. His wife, Mary, also worked as an assistant to Blackstone, Sr., and she became Bill’s assistant when he left the show. After he left the Blackstone organization, Bill built his own successful career in magic. By 1960 was in heavy demand as a technical advisor for film and television, both behind and in front of the camera. His hands would often replace the star’s in card work. He trained many stars, from Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, to Don Rickles, Jill St. John, and the cast of “Gilligan’s Island.” He was a contributor to The Conjurer, Genii, and other magic magazines; and created a number of magic effects, including the Air Mail Silk Production, and his famous Microphone Suspension. Chaudet is survived by his wife, Emmy, and a daughter from his first marriage.


Harry Elliott Colestock, Jr., 89, of Petoskey, Michigan, died December 28, 2012, following a heart attack in October. During his stay in the hospital he continued to do magic for the staff there. His I.B.M. number was 28440, and he had been a member since 1975. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 210, the Hank Moorehouse Ring/Ann Arbor Magic Club. A World War II Army Air Corps veteran, he was an electrical engineer, and because chief engineer for several companies, holding forty-two patents. One of his greatest achievements was to design the computer that helped put John Glenn into orbit. He also worked on the lunar landing program. In addition to magic, Mr. Colestock was an accomplished watercolorist (in several galleries), singer (in church and in a chorale), clown, poet, and writer. His interest in robotics led him to create illusions for David Copperfield and others. He was married to his first wife, Marian, for fifty-seven years, and they had two sons, who survive: Harry III, and Patrick, and their spouses, Rochelle and Lorrie. Other survivors include four grandchildren; brother Bob; stepson Ken; and numerous nieces and nephews. Also surviving is Mr. Colestock’s second wife, Marilyn, who he married twelve years ago.


Eniko Drach, 77, of North Miami Beach, Florida, died recently, according to her long-time friend, Maria Ibanez. Her I.B.M. number was 64636, and she had been a member since 2004. She was an inactive member of Ring 45, the Syd Bergson Ring. Maria said that about two decades ago, Eniko married magician Guy Drach (Guyini), and became his inseparable partner. It was the second marriage for both of them. With magic as a major part of Guy’s life, it became important to her, too. She learned magic tricks, performed with him, and attended Ring and S.A.M. Assembly meetings. She even maintained her I.B.M. and S.A.M. memberships after he died in 2009. She and Guy loved to travel, including to her native Hungary, to visit her two daughters, son-in-law, and grandchildren, who survive.


The I.B.M. headquarters recently learned in “Canada’s Magic” of the death of Steven Felsher, of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on January 7, 2012, after a lengthly illness.


The I.B.M. Office has just learned that John B. Gagliardo, 93, of Bay Shore, New York, died July 24, 2011. His I.B.M. membership number was 11795 and he had been a member since 1950. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Excalibur (fifty years of continuous membership).


Imam Hossain, 71, of New York, New York, died in December, 2012, while visiting his family in Bangladesh. He was an inactive I.B.M. member, with the number 21332, and had been a member since 1967. He was a member of the Order of Merlin (twenty-five years a continuous member). According to the New York Times, “He was best known for his unique style, and as the proprietor of ‘Mostly Magic,’ the Greenwich Village nightclub (and restaurant) in New York City.” During his childhood, his father invited a traveling street magician to perform for the family. He taught Imam a coin trick, which was his only formal magic lesson. He developed his own sleights, routines, and style. From age twelve he toured India as a dancer, while co-producing plays, musicals, and variety shows. He graduated from Dhakar University, then went to Canada and earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in engineering at the University of Ontario. In 1970 he moved to New York City and performed at Dick Brooks’ Magic Townhouse. Survivors include his wife, Evelyn, and daughter, Dena.


The I.B.M. Headquarters recently learned that Roger N. Kallet, 81, of Rockledge, Florida, died August 30, 2011. His member number was 53099, and he had been a member since 1996. Born in Syracuse, New York, he was a U.S. Air Force veteran. He worked at Chrysler Corporation, Eastern Airlines, and retired from NASA in 1981. Survivors include his sister, Cynthia (Vic) Ciaccio; children, Mark (Nancy), Steve (Rose), and Maureen (Craig); and four grandchildren.


The I.B.M. Office recently learned that Donald Stanley Kazuk. 82, of Alma, Michigan, died June 11, 2011, and his wife died the following day. His member number was 57101, and he had been a member since 1997. He was a member of Ring 303, the Ron Murphy Ring. He was a printing business owner/operator.


Thomas (Tom) Arthur Owen, 79, of Fulwood Preston, England, died December 2, 2012. His I.B.M. number was 50209, and he had been a member since 1993. He was a member of Ring 25, The British Ring. He performed as “Magic Tom.” He joined the Blackpool Magicians Club in 1954, and rose to president; later he was made an Honorary Life Vice President. He was a Joint Convention Organizer for many years. He held the MIMC with Gold Star. Mr. Owen was a familiar figure in the Dealer’s Hall of the Blackpool Convention, where he was a vendor for fifty-five years, in his striking fez and Dagger Through Head, demonstrating the Rising Matchbox, of which he sold thousands over the years. Survivors include sons Jonathan and Philip; stepchildren Simon and Carolyn; and five grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Catherine’s Hospice, c/o Martin’s Funeral Home, 188, Tulketh Brow, Ashton-on-Ribble, PRESTON, PR2 2JJ.


Robert Gilbert Posson, 92, of Denver, Colorado, died September 18, 2012. He held I.B.M. number 36233, and had been a member since 1980. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He was born in Spirit Lake, Iowa; and grew up in Norton, Kansas. He lived in Denver since 1957. He worked in heating and air conditioning, and was a volunteer fireman. He was very active in Boy Scots, achieving the ranks of Life, Order of the Arrow, and Silver Beaver (seventy-five years of service). He was a World War II veteran, and was a Life Member of the V.F.W. and the American Legion. In addition to being a magician, he was a professional clown, and founded the Colorado Clown Alley. He was a lifetime member of the World Clown Association, the Clowns of America, and the Mile High Magicians. He put up handmade Christmas yard decorations for over seventy years. Survivors include his wife Dorothy. Memorial contributions may be made to his church, Garden Park Community Church, 1720 S. Alcott St., Denver, CO 80219.


General Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr., 78, of Tampa, Florida, died December 27, 2012, from complications of pneumonia. He was a former member of the I.B.M., holding number 24184. Long-time Washington, D.C. magic store owner Al Cohen let us know this information, saying that he had signed Gen. Schwarzkopf’s application when he was a Colonel. Al also said that the General came to a magic convention in St. Petersburg, Florida many years ago, to watch Al’s Pernell Zorch Act. Afterward the General came backstage and said that he screwed up as much as Al did, but in his case it wasn’t on purpose. Schwarzkopf was born in Trenton, New Jersey, where his father was founder and commander of the New Jersey State Police. and led the famous investigation of the Lindberg kidnap case. Norman followed in his father’s footsteps to West Point. Later. of course, Gen. Schwarzkopf went on to command Operation Desert Storm. His last duty assignment was in Tampa, where he settled after retiring in 1991. He wrote a best-selling autobiography, and was a national spokesman for prostate cancer awareness, and for recovery of the grizzly bear, among other charities, Survivors include his wife, Brenda, and three children, Cynthia, Jessica, and Christian.


Riley Creighton Shull, 82, of West Columbia, South Carolina, died December 30, 2012. His I.B.M. member number was 33804, and he had been a member, 1978-1992. He was a member of Ring 105 and Ring 144. He was a past president of Ring 105 and was the ring’s oldest member. He performed magic and ventriloquism along with his wife, Flo; together they were named the South Carolina Magician of the Year in 2000, having entertained throughout the state for many years. He also was an accomplished rider of Paso Fino horses. Survivors include five children, sixteen grandchildren, and thirteen great-grandchildren. A Broken Wand Ceremony was presented at the gravesite. Members of Ring 105 were honorary pallbearers.


Dick Johannes William Sieber, 68, of Rotterdam, Netherlands, died December 7, 2012, from cancer. His I.B.M. number was 56402 and he had been a member since 1996. His stage name was “Tricky Dicky” and he also used The Magic Factory as a professional name. From the time he was four years old he developed an interest in magic. He could not get enough of it, and spent hours in a local magic store, watching other magicians. As he grew and developed in magic, he enjoyed sharing and teaching others. He came to greatly enjoy performing for sick children and adults alike in hospitals, bringing smiles and laughter where there were none. He was an active member of Magic Care in the Netherlands, a group which performed and raised funds for sick children. He was a sales representative for Samsung cameras throughout the Netherlands, for which he was honored as the Best Importer in Europe. In addition to magic, his other favorite hobby was singing; he recorded two CDs. Survivors include his wife of forty-five years, Francine; two daughters, Sharon and Danielle; a son, Rudd; and two grandchildren. A Broken Wand Ceremony was conducted at the local Ring meeting, and a rope trick was performed at his funeral in his honor.


Sanford (Sandy) J. Singer, 81, of Prim Springs, Tennessee, died October 22, 2012. He was a former member of the I.B.M., holding number 20206. According to several sources, he was a magician, ventriloquist, pilot, musician, and Tournament Bridge Player (a Life Master). But most of all, Sandy Singer was a radio man. His career started at age twelve. As a child actor in Chicago, he started on radio shows such as Captain Midnight, Jack Armstrong, and Tom Mix. He worked as a piano-playing DJ for a radio station in Peoria, and for radio stations in Georgia, Iowa, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Dallas, and Nashville, among others. He worked in television production in Chicago for sixteen years, then returned to his radio roots. He loved Frank Sinatra and had a weekly show devoted to his music.


Robert (Bob) A. Steiner, of California, died January 4, 2013. He was a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and was past national president of the Society of American Magicians (S.A.M.), in 1988-89. He was inducted into the S.A.M. Hall of Fame shortly before his death. He was active in debunking psychics, and was active in the skeptic community, including joining with James Randi on numerous projects, to discredit those who claimed special psychic powers. He wrote the entry on “cold reading” in the Skeptic Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience, and the entry on “fortune telling” in the Encyclopedia of the Paranormal. He also wrote “Don’t Get Taken,” a book about how to avoid being conned. He was a founder of the Bay Area Skeptics.


The I.B.M. Office recently learned that Dr. Frederick (Fred) O. Tietjen, 86, of Osage Beach, Missouri, died February 20, 2010. His I.B.M. member number was 66010, and he had been a member since 2006. He was a member of Ring 349, The Society of Lowcountry Magicians.


Scott Bennett York, Jr., 75, of Manassas, Virginia, died December 28, 2012, from complications after a fall. His I.B.M. number was 23277, and he had been a member since 1970. He was a member of the Order of Merlin (twenty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 50, The Nation’s Capitol Ring. He was a Safety Defects Investigator for the U.S. Department of Transportation. He became seriously interested in magic in the late 1960s, and focused on close-up magic, developing relationships with the leading close-up magicians during the 1970s and beyond. He was an active lecturer throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. Mr. York was a prolific creator of magic; here is a small sample: videos (“Professional Tricky Bartender: The Scotty York Video”), marketed effects (“Goldfinger,” “Fabulous Red Snapper,” “Passport Switch Wallet”), magazine-published routines (Genii, Magic Menu, Kabbal, etc.), and other publications (“The Scott York Lecture Book,” “Scott York on Cups and Balls,” and “For Your Eyes Only”). In addition to magic, Mr. York was interested in sports cars (racing), sailing, and golf. He is survived by his children: Heather, Bruce, and Nicole; his grandchildren, Augustus, Dodge, Eve, Ella, and Spencer; step-grandchildren Calla and Hannah; and his first wife, Virginia. A Broken Wand Ceremony was conducted at his memorial service by long-time friend and past I.B.M. International President Bill Wells. An In Memoriam is published separately in this issue.


The I.B.M. Headquarters recently learned that Lewis Harry Zell, 81, of Vero Beach, Florida, died August 23, 2012. His I.B.M. number was 66952, and he had been a member since 2007. He was born in Philadelphia and lived in Florida since 1997, coming from West Schulyer, New York. Before retiring, he owned and operated his own luncheonette, and insurance agency. Later he worked as an auditor and retired a second time. He served in the U.S. Navy, 1950-54. In addition to the I.B.M., he was a member of an amateur radio club and taught computer classes. Survivors include his wife of forty-six years, Karen; son James; daughters Katherine Jacobs, Cheryl Everill, Gayle Hobbs, Donna Dempsy, and Karen Enrico; two sisters; and sixteen grandchildren.

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