The I.B.M. Blog & Articles

The International Brotherhood of Magicians

29 Nov

Ten Magicians Honored in December 2014 Broken Wand

Category: Broken Wand   Posted by: C. DENNIS SCHICK

The following are the obituaries for ten magicians whose deaths the I.B.M. has learned about since last month. This brings the total of obituaries published in the Broken Wand in The Linking Ring during 2014 to one hundred and forty-three. 

We remind everyone to please notify the I.B.M. Headquarters or the editor of the Broken Wand -- Dennis Schick -- when you hear about the death of a magician or a magician's assistant, at




Bernard Samuel Lerner -- known mainly by his stage name, Bobby Bernard -- 83, of London, England, died November 10, 2014. He was a former member of the I.B.M. (1992-2011). He was a long-time member of The Magic Circle but had not been able to attend in recent years. He held the MIMC with Gold Star. The son of theater costume and set designers Leah and Joseph Lerner, he was a natural performer. He joined the school dramatic society and later was a member of the Bransby Williams Theatre Company. As a child he couldn’t say “Bernard” so he was called Bobby. When he was twelve his mother suggested that he put the two names together to form a stage name (with emphasis on the second syllable of Bernard). Over his colorful life he worked as a magician, mindreader, ventriloquist, and actor. He managed the magic department in Hamley’s Toy Store in London, and was a magician on a cruise ship. For over twenty years he played the eighteenth century conjuror Isaac Fawkes at magic conventions. He was a popular lecturer and teacher of many successful magic acts. In 1982 Val Andrews published The Coin and Card Magic of Bobby Bernard. Survivors include a nephew, Ivor Solsberg and family. 




Recently the I.B.M. Headquarters learned that Martin Brian Erdman, 77, of Greenwich, New South Wales, Australia, died May 5, 2014. His I.B.M. member number was 19792, and he had been a member since 2011. He first joined the I.B.M. in 1964, then later became inactive. He was a well-known record producer. He started his career in the mid 1950s in his parents’ record store in Rose Bay. He built his first studio in the back of the shop. He sought out young, upcoming singers and launched many careers. In 1993 he opened his own record store in Sydney. In 1969 he started his own record label, DuMonde Records. In 1973 he became the house producer for Festival Records. In recent years he set up Oz Songs website and reissued many of his early recordings on CD. Survivors include his wife, Sandra; former wife, Dulcie; children Ian, Anne Trenholme, Allan and Rebecca; and grandchildren.




Recently the I.B.M. headquarters learned that Kevin William George, 67, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, died May 4, 2014 from a massive stroke, after several heart attacks and problems with diabetes. He was a former member of the I.B.M. (1994-2013). He was a member of Ring 28 (Edmonton). He developed a love for dogs and helping other people in his youth, which led to his life’s work. He opened his own security firm, training guards, correctional officers, and jail riot squads, as well as training dogs to track criminals and search and rescue dogs to find missing persons in storm-damaged sites. His animal-training skills even led him to train the elephant at the Edmonton Zoo. He used magic throughout his life, both to teach and to lighten tense situations. In addition to magic, other interests and skills included ju-jitsu (including teaching self-defense classes for women), conga drums (in bands), and rodeo clowning. Survivors include his mother, Henrietta; brother, Kerry; son, Ryan and his family; and granddaughter, Carmen.    




Recently the I.B.M. Headquarters received notice that Eric Desmond Golding, 73, of Whitchurch, Cardiff, Wales died July 28, 2013 of cancer. His I.B.M. member number was 22394, 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 25, The British Ring, and The Magic Circle. He performed using the stage name “Goldini.”




Rev. Mervyn Jennings, 75, of Romford, Essex, England, died August 23, 2014. His I.B.M. member number was 43724, and he had been a member since 1988.  He was a member of the Order of Merlin (twenty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 25 (The British Ring). He was a priest, retired from full time ministry. He was Curate at Holy Nativity and St. Martin’s, Knole, Vicar of Cressing, and Vicar of St. Francis. In addition to magic, he enjoyed photography, books, writing, and composing music. Survivors include his wife, Ann, two children, and four grandchildren. 




Gary Lynn Purdue, 67, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, died October 6, 2014 of cancer. He was a former member of the I.B.M. (1974-1979). Born in Indianapolis, his family moved to new Mexico in 1949. There he held undergraduate and graduate degrees in geology from the University of New Mexico, and later taught in that school’s physical education department for more than four decades. He discovered karate and became a nationally-ranked competitor in fighting, forms and weapons forms, winning or placing in more than two hundred tournaments. He was honored by several martial arts societies and halls of fame. Survivors include his wife, Donna; daughter Shauna (Troy) Babcock; brother Keith; and niece Michelle Purdue-Story.    




Marshall F. Schultz, 93, of Huntington, West Virginia, died November 4, 2014. His I.B.M. member number was 34308, and he had been a member since 1979. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of RIng 39 (Houston, Texas), and Ring 71 (Cincinnati, Ohio). Born in Kentucky, he was a computer programmer with Occidental Petroleum. Survivors include daughters Carol Brizendine and Marcia Swann and their families. 




Recently the I.B.M. Office learned that Dr. Theodore (Ted) S. Smith, 93, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, died August 18, 2012. His I.B.M. member number was 16151, and he had been a member since 1956. He was a member of the Order of Merlin Excalibur (fifty years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 19 (Minneapolis). Born in Washington, D.C., he lived in Hawaii, the Philippines, California, Oregon, and New York. He graduated from the University of Oregon and the Oregon Health Sciences University, and served as a doctor with the U.S. Army’s 155th General Hospital in England during World War II. He was a pediatrician and allergist in Minneapolis for many years. He also taught at the University of Minnesota. He used magic in his practice with children, distracting them. Survivors at the time of his death were his sons Michael, William, and James, and their families.  




Alfred (Alf) Spence, 89, of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, died June 23, 2014 of cancer. He was a former member of the I.B.M. (2001-2007). He also was a member of Ring 92 (Vancouver). He had polio from the age of three months and depended on leg braces until age eight; but he never complained. He always appreciated the financial support by the Freemasons to help pay for his thirteen childhood operations. Later in life he became an active Shriner to give back to them and to help other people. He worked in the radio broadcasting industry, retiring from the Canadian Broadcasting Company in 1983. Following retirment he channeled his energies into the Vancouver Magic Circle, the Burnaby Miniature Railway, the Sherlock Holmes Stormy Petrels, and the Shriners. In addition to magic, his interests included repairing vehicles and electronics, and recording music and voice. He became a pilot at age sixty-four and a miniature steam locomotive engineer at age eighty-one. He considered members of The Magic Circle as his extended family. Survivors include his wife of sixty-four years, Joyce; children Gary (Ana), Lea (Ross), and Vanda (Guy); grandchildren Ryan, Shannon, Kaytlyn, Samantha, Benjamin, Damian, and Jason; and great-grandchild, Isla. 




Lester Fulton Weeks, best known as Larry Weeks, 96, of Brooklyn, New York, died October 13, 2014. He was a former member of the I.B.M. (1984-1985), and was a member of the Society of American Magicians. Born in Salem, Massachusetts, his family moved to New York City in 1929. When he was ten, his father taught him several magic tricks. He learned to juggle and earned the nickname “Speedsational.” He developed an act called “Juggling for Fun” which toured in New York, Boston, and Montreal. In the late 1930s he performed magic in New York City parks with Abe Hurwitz and his Peter Pan Magic Club. Later in the U.S. Army, he became part of the “This is the Army” traveling show, originating the juggling apples act by biting them. After the war he developed a children’s show, made and marketed seamless sponge balls (Spongecraft), booked other performers, and came up with the idea of the first “All Day Magic Convention.” It was so successful he produced a total of forty-eight during his lifetime. He was a collector of vaudeville props, books, juggling and magic props, escape tricks, and movies starring Houdini, Charlie Chaplin, and W.C. Fields. The S.A.M. performed a Broken Wand Ceremony in his honor. He is buried in the same cemetery as the Houdini families.   





In the October 2014 Broken Wand we listed the date of death for T.H. Mel Moore incorrectly. He died September 6, 2014. We are sorry for the error.


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