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The International Brotherhood of Magicians

16 Sep

Phil Willmarth Succumbs

Category: News   Posted by: I.B.M. Website Editor

This morning, Tuesday, September 16, 2014, Phil Willmarth died peacefully at his home in Durham, North Carolina, surrounded by family. 

He served as the 2007-08 International President of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and for almost thirty years worked for the organization's monthly journal, The Linking Ring, as Assistant Editor and Executive Editor.

In 1978 he became Assistant Editor and Parade Editor of The Linking Ring. As he became active in the I.B.M., he earned his way up on the Board to President-elect. But in 1992 when The Linking Ring needed his help, he resigned his officership to become Executive Editor and Business Manager. After fifteen years of keeping the journal on a solid foundation, he stepped down in March 2007 after his successor was selected, to prepare to become I.B.M. International President. He was inducted in July of that year in Reno, Nevada.


He discovered magic as a boy, with Will Lindhorst's book, A Bag of Tricks. Shortly thereafter he saw an ad by Douglas Magicland in Dallas, Texas and sent ten cents for their catalog. From it he bought Professor Hoffman's Modern Magic, then More Magic and Later Magic. He was hooked on magic, and especially magic books.  

Raised in New Castle, Pennsylvania, his interest in magic continued through high school, college, and into the  U.S. Army, and he married his first wife, Anne, in 1955 while still in the service. Following his discharge, they moved to Chicago where he worked in advertising and marketing research. Chicago was in its heyday as a magic mecca, and he was in magic heaven, surrounded by magicians. His magic interests developed and he became an active performer, lecturer, and author. He became active in both the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians.

Following his wife's death in 1985, he continued his work for The Linking Ring while also running his marketing research company. After he remarried, Phil and his wife Robbie moved to Durham, North Carolina, where he continued serving as Executive Editor of The Linking Ring and became International President.

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