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The International Brotherhood of Magicians

10 Sep

Ten Magicians Honored in September Broken Wand

Category: Broken Wand   Posted by: C. DENNIS SCHICK




     Eugene Burger, 78, of Chicago, Illinois, died August 8, 2017. He held I.B.M. number 14139. Burger became interested in magic in his youth and was strongly influenced by noted magician Don Alan. His magical pursuits were set aside as he earned degrees from Beloit College, Yale University, and the University of Illinois, and began a career in social services. In 1974, his interest in magic resurfaced. He performed in a variety of venues through the Chicago area, gaining fame as a close-up wizard and a magic guru. He helped start Jeff McBride’s Magic & Mystery School in Las Vegas, Nevada, and was its Dean. Burger wrote fifteen best-selling books for the trade, starred in eight instructional videos, and lectured extensively to magic groups in over a dozen countries. His writings have been translated into several languages. An In Memoriam appears in this issue.


Trevor Dawson, 82, of Clitherpe, England, died July 14, 2017, from a stroke from which he did not recover. His I.B.M. membership number was 24858, and he had been a member since 1972 (forty-five years). 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), the Society of American Magicians, the Inner Magic Circle, the Order of the Magi, and the Modern Mystic League (of which he was president three times). His interest in magic began when he was twelve when he assisted a magician on stage. He joined the Boy’s Magic Service, which brought him the monthly “Trixie” magazine. He put together his own stage show and performed at local churches and other venues. Later he added talents as a magic writer, lecturer, historian and collector. He wrote two books (“Charles Dickens: Conjurer, Mesmerist and Showman,” and “Signor Arvi: The Forgotten Illusionist”), a “One Man Parade” (The Linking Ring, August 2010), and many magazine articles. He also gave many magic talks and lectures. He started his own business, as a commercial property consultant and evaluator. He also was an auctioneer, which came in handy for magic auctions. Survivors include his wife of fifty-six years, Susan; children Caroline, Andrew, and Sarah; and grandchildren Edward, Sarah, and Abigail.      



Gerald Francis Herdegen, 76, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, died July 7, 2017. His I.B.M. member number was 35212, and he had been a member since 1980. He was a member of the Order or Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 211 (Grand Rapids, Michigan), of which he was a past president, and Clown Alley 44. He performed as “Choo Choo the Clown,” and primarily was a master balloon sculptor and twister. But he usually included magic among the balloons. He won many awards for his balloon twisting, was a frequent judge for balloone events, and had a passion for teaching it. Survivors include his wife of fifty-five years, Kathleen; children Joseph, Michael (Virginia) Patrick, Paul (Mary), and Deborah; eight grandchildren; siblings James (Judy), David (Bonnie), Mary Pechumer, and John (Carol). Memorial contributions may be made to the Food Pantry at St. Anthony Church, 2510 Richmond St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504.  




Recently the I.B.M. Headquarters Office was notified that Stephen Bradley Lazarre, 46, of Irvine, California, died December 30, 2016 of a sudden cardiac arrest. His I.B.M. member number was 43033, and he had been a member since 1988. He was a member of the Order of Merlin (twenty-five years a continuous member). Steve discovered magic as a young boy, and under the tutelage of Paul Smith, he developed his card and coin skills. He auditioned for and was accepted as at the Magic Castle in his early 20s. He never performed there, however, because he was a college student. He went on to earn advanced degrees and became a college teacher and a Marriage and Family Therapist. While he did perform at restaurants, and for his family and friends, his use of magic was mainly in the classroom, as part of his teaching. He also taught magic to his young nephews. Among survivors are his parents, Marilyn and Jack Lazarre. Memorial contributions may be made to the Hoag Hospital Foundation, Heart Evascular Institute, at




Recently the I.B.M. Headquarters Office was notified that Walter George Meier, Jr., 77. of Weedsport, New York, died June 22, 2016. He was a former member of the I.B.M. (1993-2014). Born in the Bronx, New York, he  left Buffalo State College early to join the U.S. Air Force, and was stationed in Germany. While there, as an accomplished banjo player he played with the Castlegate Trio, which had the number two song in West Germany. After the service he completed his education and taught art in high school for thirty-five years. He also loved the theater and helped produce many musicals and plays locally. He was an Eagle Scout and was active in Boy Scouts for many years. He started a magic club at the high school and was active in the Golden Ring Magic Club in Syracuse. Survivors at the time of his death included his brothers Peter and Roger; and his sister Ellen Ann Lively. Memorial contributions may be made to the Weedsport Central School District, 2821 East Brutus St., Weedsport, NY 13166, for an art scholarship in his name.




Recently the I.B.M. Headquarters Office was notified that Daniel D. Minnich, 55, of Laury’s Station, Pennsylvania, died December 29, 2016. His I.B.M. member number was 45942, and he had been a member since 1990. He was a member of the Order of Merlin (twenty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 32 (Allentown, Pennstlvania). He graduated from the Breeden School of Welding and worked as a welder for Electro-Space Fabricators for twenty-eight years before retiring. Always enjoying photography, he became a self-employed photographer. He also enjoyed skiing and was a ski instructor, as well as the Race Team Coach at Blue Mountain Ski Area, Palmerton. He played slow-pitch softball and also coached youth lacrosse. Among survivors at the time of his death were his wife of twenty-eight years, Pamela; son Daniel, III; and sister Kim Cooley. Memorial contributions may be made to: American Brain Tumor Association, 8550 Bryn Mawr Avenue, Suite 550, Chicago, IL 60631.




Scott Arthur Skjordahl, 72, of Jacksonville, Florida, died May 11, 2017 of acute myeloid leukemia, which was diagnosed only three weeks earlier. His I.B.M. member number was 50968, and he had originally joined the I.B.M. in 1994. He received his M.B.A. in 1968 from the Kellogg School of Northwestern University. He was a securities analyst; a franchise owner of six McDonald’s restaurants; the founder of Youth Leadership Jacksonville; a mediator for county, circuit, civil, family and appellate courts; and was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Phoenix. He also hosted a radio talk show and was an author. In addition to magic, his passions included flying and teaching. Survivors include his wife of fifty years, Judy; daughters Jennifer Stanton, Amy VanMersbergen, and Ashley Skjordahl; mother, Mildred; brother, Jeff; and three grandchildren.




Recently the I.B.M. Headquarters Office was notified that Jay Butler Teasdale, 91, of Biloxi, Mississippi, died February 21, 2017. His I.B.M. membership number was 64782, and he had been a member since 2004. He also was a member of the Society of American Magicians. Born in Berkeley, California, he served in the U.S. Army during World War II, in the Philippines, overseeing War Crime Trials. After the war he attended the University of California and Stanford, before beginning “his adventurous entrepreneurial career.” First he was a cattle rancher in Louisiana. Then he moved to New Orleans where he “enjoyed multi-faceted business pursuits, culminating in a fleet of offshore barges supplying oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.” His sailing adventures in the Bahamas with his first wife, Patricia, and their three children, prepared him for building a fifty-four-foot ketch in Belize which he sailed across the Atlantic. Other interests included flamenco guitar, magic, and writing a number of books. He wrote about a series of eighty-five long walks in various parts of the world with his second wife, Angela, as well as traveling through Spain and England with her. Survivors include his wife of thirty-eight years, Angela; sons, Bret and Brian; daughter-in-law Kim; granddaughter Victoria; daughter Kit (Morgan); and sister Beulah Jean Lang.




John Henley Heathcote Williams, 75, of Oxford, England, died July 1, 2017 after an extended illness. He was a member of the Magic Circle, learned fire-eating from Bob Hoskins, and even played the inscrutable magician Prospero in Derek Jarman’s 1979 film The Tempest. According to Simon Drake, he was a poet, playwright, polemicist, painter, sculptor, fire-eater, humorist, actor, ecologist, activist and -- a terrific magician. He was described as a genius with a sense of humor. He was a creative spirit who “had to do it all.” While his primary focus was on words -- poems, plays, articles, essays, and books -- he embraced all the performing arts in one way or another, including magic.  Over six hundred people attended his funeral, demonstrating the quantity and quality of people he touched. For a detailed feature obituary go to: Survivors include his longterm partner, Diana Senior; their daughters China and Lily; son Charlie (with the novelist Polly Samson); three grandchildren, Freya, Albi, and Wilf; and sister Prue.




Recently the I.B.M. Headquarters office was notified that William Walter Yost, 87, of Piedmont, Ohio, died December 17, 2016. His I.B.M. membership number was 17167, and he had been a member since 1958 (fifty-eight years). He was a member of the Order of Merlin Excalibur (fifty years a continuous member). He was a self-employed certified public accountant and insurance agent. In addition to magic, he loved flying his own airplane, having earned his private pilot’s license in 1955. He was a founding member and past president of the Harrison County Airport Authority, and played a key role in bringing the airport to Harrison County in 1962. Surviving at the time of his death were his wife of sixty-five years, Ruth; children Patricia (James) Kasik, and William Jr.; five grandchildren; and brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, David and Shirley Waller, Myron and Wanda Thompson, and Walter Thompson. A Broken Wand Ceremony was held in his honor. Memorial contributions may be made to the Piedmont United Methodist Church, 33070 West Main, Piedmont, OH 43983.






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