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The International Brotherhood of Magicians

05 Oct

October Broken Wand Pays Tribute to 11 Magicians

Category: Broken Wand   Posted by: C. DENNIS SCHICK

 Broken Wand for October, 2015:


Norman George Bigelow, Sr., 71, of Woodsville, New Hampshire, died August 16, 2015. He was a former member of the I.B.M. He also was a member of Ring 122 (Boston, Massachusetts). He was a world-famous escape performer, billing himself as “The World Master Escape Artist.” As a teenager he was an apprentice to The Great Reno (Frank Renaud), a vaudeville-style escape artist. He started performing escapes in 1972 with Irv Weiner doing an opening act. His fascination with escapes included performing many of Houdini’s escapes (he once said “Houdini lives in me.”), becoming an expert in picking locks and breaking into (and out of) safes, writing extensively in magic magazines, building most of his own apparatus effects, and developing numerous original effects. His act for many years featured three major effects: “Trial by Fire,” “Straitjacket Escape,” and “The Doors of Death.” Survivors include his wife of twenty-eight years, Janet; two children, two step-children, seven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and a sister. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, Centralized Processing Center, 30 Speen Street, Framingham, MA 01701.




The I.B.M. Headquarters recently learned that John Walter Campobasso, 90, of Las Vegas, Nevada, died May 4, 2015. His I.B.M. member number was 39719, and he had been a member since 1984. He was a member of the Order of Merlin (twenty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 76 (San Diego, California), and Ring 257 (Las Vegas). He loved to perform for his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He worked in construction for sixty years, had an Italian restaurant, an alfalfa farm and an avocado ranch, and worked for Home Depot for fifteen years. In addition to magic, he loved singing and his sailboat. Survivors include son Joe (Margie); daughter Toni (Carl); six grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; brothers Tony, Nathan, and Frank; and sister Josephine.    




Donald Daniel Engstrand, 84, of Huntington, New York, died July 30, 2015 after a long illness. He held I.B.M. member number 61969 since 2001. He also was a member of Ring 244 (Long Island, New York), and the Society of American Magicians. His love for magic started on his seventh birthday when he received a magic set from his parents. He started performing on street corners in downtown Tottenville, Long Island. He saw magic as a way to prevent bullying. He also included magic in everything he did the rest of his life. He attended the Alviene Academy of Arts in New York City, where he met his wife. Later he earned degrees from Rider College, Rutger’s University and Stonybrook University. He served in the military during the Korean War, after which he worked for Western Electric, New York Telephone Company, and Verizon, retiring after thirty-two years. He created the New York Telephone Pioneer Clown Unit to perform in hospitals and orphanages, inspiring Pioneer Clown Units throughout the country. He created Tello, the N.Y. Telephone Company Clown to represent the company. He also founded Aabo Productions, an entertainment company which booked him as a magician, mentalist, mind-reader, hypnotist and ventriloquist. His stage name was “The “Amazing Mr. E.” He wrote four mentalism and magic books. Survivors include his wife of sixty-one years, Claudia; daughter Beatrice, and two adopted grandchildren, Claudia and Cheyanna. 




Kenneth Edwin “Red” Euton, Sr., 91, of Refugio, Texas, died September 8, 2015. His I.B.M. member number was 33706, and he had been a member since 1978. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 157 (Corpus Christie, Texas), and was active in the Texas Association of Magicians (TAOM). Born in Grete, Texas, he joined the U.S. Army and served during World War II. He worked at Quintana Petroleum until 1950 when he was recalled to active duty, 1950-53. He then returned to Quintana, retiring in 1986. He was active in several organizations, including the Masons and Shriners (where he was Playboy the Clown). Survivors include his wife of over six decades, Francis; sons Charles, Timothy, and Joel; daughters Kitty Pace, Connie Swartz, and Terrisa Cortines; fifteen grandchildren, and eighteen great-grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, 6977 Main, Houston, TX 77030, or South Texas Children’s Home, P.O. Box 1210, Beeville, TX 78104.




Roger Barry Firestone, 76, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, died August 3, 2015. His I.B.M. number was 51912, and he had been a member since 1995. He also was a member of Ring 150 (Fort Lauderdale, Florida), as well as the Fort Lauderdale Magic Society. For over two dozen years he performed magic for all kinds of audiences, from parties and banquets, to corporate trade shows and other events. He billed himself on his Facebook page as “Party Time Magic’s Magic Maestro,”  and “South Florida’s Premiere Magician Illusionist.” Among survivors is his wife, Linda.




The September issue of the Ring 25 (London, England) magazine reported the death of John Greenwood, 83, June 20, 2015. According to the article, he worked for the police force and at one time was head of security at Scotland Yard. For many years he was the Returning Officer of the Magic Circle. He was remembered for performing The Royal Flush at late night sessions of Ring 25 conventions. He and his wife, Adela, who survives, were regulars at the Ring 25 conventions for many years.




Michael A. Hilburger, 75, of Williamsville, New York, died August 11, 2015. His I.B.M. member number was 25812 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 also was a member of Ring 12 (Buffalo, New York). Born in Buffalo, he began performing magic at the age of eleven, influenced by Gene Gordon, one of the founders of the I.B.M. From 1971-1991, he was a regular performer at the world-famous Forks Hotel Magic Bar in Cheektowaga, where he worked side-by-side with Eddie Fechter and Karl Norman. He attended forty-three Fechter’s Finger Flicking Follies in Batavia, serving on its Board of Directors for many years. He was a longtime popular high school teacher and athletic coach, having earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Canisius College. In addition to magic, he loved hiking and camping. Survivors include his wife of forty-eight years, Judith; sons Jonathan (Kim), Andrew, and Steven (Lauri); and two grandchildren, Sam and Grace. A Broken Wand ceremony was held in his honor. (Most of this obituary was written by Michael shortly after he was diagnosed with cancer.)




Derek W. Hilton, 81, of Bedfordshire, England, died June 22, 2015, according to the Ring 25 magazine. He was a former member of the I.B.M. (1974-1989). He was born in Oldham, and became interested in drama and the theater at an early age. He developed an interest in magic after receiving a box of magic at age seven. He was too young at age twelve to join The Order of the Magi, so he started his own group, the Top Hat Magic Club; it flourished for sixteen years. At age fifteen he started performing paid shows in various venues, and after his national service in the Royal Air Force, moved up to performing in music halls and other venues. He joined the Rank Organization and managed theaters for them. He went to the United States in 1968 for two weeks, but stayed until 1987. While there he joined both the I.B.M. and the S.A.M. As a boy he saw the Dante show, which gave him the idea to start his own Sim Sala Bim show with Thom Dunlap, and they toured New England with it for ten years. When he returned to England, he started a smaller version of the show as fundraisers for charitable organizations. It will continue as a legacy to him. 




Recently the I.B.M. Headquarters was notified that E. Bradford Holbrook, Jr., 87, of Durham, North Carolina, died January 5, 2015. His I.B.M. member number was 13342, and he had been a member since 1952. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Excelsior (sixty years of continuous membership). He also was a member of the Magic Castle and the Society of American Magicians. Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he was reared in New Orleans. He held B.A. and J.D. degrees from Tulane University, and practiced law for over six decades, both in private practice and working for Freeport Sulphur, Ticor Title Insurance, and The Nature Conservancy. His lifelong passion was performing magic which he did for thousands of people in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. He was a past-president of the New Orleans Ring; won a close-up award at the I.B.M. convention in 1966; and mastered the perfect Faro shuffle, which he used for numerous card effects. Survivors include his three children, Ford, Keith, and Kerry; and three grandchildren, Ashley, John and Andrew.




Edward L. Loveland, 76, of Auburn, Washington, died May 30, 2015. His I.B.M. membership number was 15040, and he had been a member since 1971. He was a member of the Order of Merlin  Shield (thirty-five years of continuous membership). He was a member of Ring 52 (Seattle, Washington), the Emerald City Wizards, and the Society of American Magicians. He grew up in Pocatello, Idaho and spent four years in the Air Force. Then he earned an electrical engineering degree from the University of Utah, and worked in hospitals in Missouri, Colorado, and Washington. After retiring he enjoyed traveling, gourmet cooking, and gardening. His magic interests included performing mentalism and bizarre magic, and he had several effects published in magic magazines. Survivors include his wife of twelve years, Sandra; daughters Vanessa Bloy and Krista Hale; step-daughters Melissa Fackrell and Melynda Schmitt; sister Judy Taylor; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. A Broken Wand Ceremony was held at his Celebration of Life service.  




Donald Fredrick Stiefel, 86, of Corpus Christi, Texas, died August 24, 2015. His I.B.M. member number was 30253, and he had been a member since 1976. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 157 (Corpus Christi, Texas), the Texas Association of Magicians, and the Inner Magic Circle in London, England. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, he served in the U.S. Navy from 1948-67. In business, he was an award-winning Cutco salesman, owner of AA Ducks “Do-it-yourself” Automotive, and owner of Balloon Express. His community service and volunteer work were wide-ranging, from Citizens Police Academy and Jerry Lewis Telethons to the Chamber of Commerce and Disabled American Veterans. He loved to perform -- especially as Ducko the Clown -- at birthday parties, in television commercials, and at special events. He was active in Clowns Incorporated, and was co-founder of the local chapter of Clowns of America. In addition to clowning and magic, other hobbies included fishing and taking cruises (twenty-nine). Survivors include six children: Judy Baker, Debra (Jack) Harris, Roger Macdonald, Donna (John) Gonzales, Peggy (John) Guerra, and Dan (Gina); eighteen grandchildren; nineteen great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandson. 









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