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The International Brotherhood of Magicians

01 Nov

November Broken Wand pays tribute to eight magicians

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

The Broken Wand in the November 2012 issue of The Linking Ring honors seven magicians and one magician's assistant. We publish the list here in order that friends might contact the surviving family members to express their condolences. Also, when we have been given the information, we include names and addresses of organizations to which memorial contributions may be made. We appreciate being notified of magician deaths. Please don't assume that someone else has notified the I.B.M. Headquarters.


Clifford Grover Cleveland, 74, of Erin, Tennessee, died September 5, 2012. His I.B.M. membership number was 25881, and he had been a member since 1973. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). Born in Michigan, he and his wife moved to St. Petersburg. Florida, and later to Tennessee in 1999. Among survivors is his wife, Alda.


Melba Dew, 101, of Arizona, died September 29, 2012. She was not an I.B.M. member, but her late husband, Danny, was a forty-year I.B.M. member, until his death in 1996. Originally from Colorado, she met Danny there in the late 1920s when he moved there. She became his partner on stage and off, for over sixty years. They toured the midwest, primarily doing school assembly shows. She also was a partner with Danny in his businesses. After their career on the road, they settled in Phoenix. In addition to his being a head chef at several venues over the years, they owned a magic store, manufactured magic (including Paul Fox Cups which Melba polished herself); a catering business; and a show business booking agency. Danny and Melba were the subjects of a Genii magazine story in 1979. They were honored with two sold-out banquets, one in the late 1970s and another in the 1980s, by Ring 55. A Broken Wand Ceremony was conducted in her honor.


Tom Gallo, 55, of Tacoma, Washington, died September 11, 2012. He held I.B.M. membership number 65330, but was currently inactive. He also was a member of the Society of American Magicians, and Circus Fans of America. His mother worked for a local television station in Tacoma, where he met a mentor, Bill McClean, who taught him magic. He performed throughout the Northwest and Canada, combining magic, mentalism, and escapes. Because of his weight -- 400 pounds -- he was known as the “World’s Largest Escape Artist.” Amazingly, he did all the escapes -- including all the classics -- very well. For the past sixteen years he was part of the comedy team, “The Rowdy Referees,” with his close friend Patrick Slusher. Survivors include a daughter, Lauren; and a sister, Mary.


John Charles Harwood, 82, of Hazelhurst, Wisconsin, died September 23, 2012. His I.B.M. member number was 40220, and he had been a member since 1985. He was a member of the Order of Merlin (twenty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 287, the Golf Coast Magicians Guild. John’s father believed that every child should have a hobby, so he brought home for his son a magic trick from a business trip. John performed it to his kindergarten classmates, and his magic career began. He performed at service clubs, libraries, and summer parks programs. After a sabbatical leave for college, marriage and starting a career, he resumed magic when his children came, for birthday parties, and in his sales and marketing career in the foundry industry. He traveled throughout the world, and always had magic in his pockets to perform. After retiring in 1991, he continued performing. In 1999 he became a Lifetime Member of the Society of American Magicians. He had fun billing himself as “The World’s 14th Greatest Magician.” Survivors include his wife, Janet; children Ken, Pam Tabberson, and Scott; four grandchildren, and one great-grandson.


Joseph Stevens Lefler, Jr., 70, of Dunn, North Carolina, died September 20, 2012 after a long battle with cancer. His I.B.M. number was 25669, and he had been a member since 1973. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He was a member of Ring 23, the Blackstone Ring. He also was a member of the S.A.M., The Gathering, CMC, Triangle Santa Buddies Association, Inner Magic Circle, and KidAbra International. Born in Ohio, magic became a passion at an early age, and consumed him the rest of his life. He was a world-class performer, owner of a magic shop (Pandora’s Box), a manufacturer of magic props and equipment (including his popular suitcase table), an owner of an entertainment booking agency (Fun-Tastic Entertainment), and sold all sorts of sound equipment (Magic and Sound Systems). He loved children and entertaining them, especially in playing Santa each Christmas. Mr. Lefler was a Vietnam veteran and served in the U.S. Air Force. Survivors include his wife, Sue; sister Judith (Michael) Kuenzli; brothers James and John (Sue); a niece and a nephew. Memorial donations may be made to International Myeloma Foundation, 1265 Riverside Dr., Suite 206, N. Hollywood, CA 91607. Condolences may be sent to Sue Lefler at 603 Christmas Tree Road, Dunn, NC 28334. Sue will continue to sell his tables ( An In Memoriam appears elsewhere in this issue.


The I.B.M. Office recently learned that Michael Makman, 71, of New York, New York, died March 26, 2012. He was a former member of the I.B.M. (1989-2003). Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Mike wanted to be an actor ever since high school. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon (Pittsburgh) with a B.F.A. in drama, and left for New York City immediately, where he worked from for the rest of his life. He made a good living as an actor, in New York, in national touring companies (Godspell, 1776, Oliver, and The Fantasticks), in commercials, on soap operas, and on radio shows. He created “Professor Putter” for television’s “Romper Room,” (and later toured with it), created a suitcase called his “Gadgetorium,” and learned magic tricks to demonstrate all his original gadgets. He wrote a book, “Metrocard Mania with Professor Putter,” and was on the cover on the May 1999 issue of The Linking RIng, in which he authored the One-man Parade.


The I.B.M. Office just learned that William Lloyd McIlwain, 70, of Lexington, South Carolina, died April 19, 2012, of kidney and heart failure. His I.B.M. membership number was 26870, and he had been a member since 1974. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians. A University of South Carolina graduate, he spent forty-two years with the South Carolina Department of Transportation, He was active in his Presbyterian church, including going on mission trips to Peru, Guyana, and Costa Rica. He also was active in many community organizations, including Scouts, the YMCA, and the zoo. He performed as “Wooly Willy” and “The Great What’s His Name,” and also as the Hamburglar at McDonald’s openings. Survivors include his wife of forty-six years, Mary; children Hope (David) Wood, Dawn (Mike) Merck, and Andy (Wendy); and four grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church, 5503 Sunset Boulevard, Lexington, SC 29072, or Riverbanks Zoo, 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia, SC 29210.


James Allen Schuyler, 75, of Halethorpe, Maryland, died October 10, 2012 after a brief battle with cancer. His I.B.M. number was 23552, and he had been a member since 1970. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 179, the George Dency Ring. Born in Baltimore, he was the oldest of seven children. His work career included being a rigger, a policeman, and a crane supervisor for the Maryland Port Administration for twenty-five years. In addition to performing as a magician and clown, he loved to read, and play music on his guitar. Survivors include his wife of fifty-six years, Marie; and children James (Karen), Wayne (June), and Diana (James) Conti; brother Glen; sisters Juanita Calendine, Jean Hause, and Janet Jackson; and eleven grandchildren. Memorial donations may be made to the Kennedy Krieger Foundation, 707 N. Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21205, or the American Cancer Society, 1041 Route 3, Gambrills, MD 21054.

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