Broken Wand

Memorial LISTINGS For Deceased MemberS of The I.B.M.


29 Jan

10 Magicians Honored in February Broken Wand

Category: Broken Wand   Posted by: C. DENNIS SCHICK

BROKEN WAND — February 2019


James Laurence Caldwell, 81, of Austin, Texas, died September 21, 2018. His I.B.M. membership number was 66168. He had been a member since 2014. Born in New York City, he earned a Mechanical Engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1968, after which he served in the U.S. Navy, finishing in June 1962. Two months later he “killed himself” while lighting a backyard barbecue, leaving him with burns over seventy percent of his body, totally blind, and a paraplegic. He was told he had no rehabilitation potential and would have to spend the rest of his life in the hospital. He thanked them and moved out. He became a self-taught computer programmer, went to work for the telephone company, and was named the National Rehabilitant of the year in 1970. The following year he moved to Austin, and earned a doctorate in General Business in 1979, and went to work for I.B.M. as an advisory engineer. He was named Handicapped American of the Year in 1985. He also gave motivational speeches all over the country on behalf of I.B.M. He and his wife, whom he met while he was in graduate school, adopted three children in the mid-1980s. In addition to traveling with his family, he played the bagpipe, collected weapons and slide rules, and became an amateur magician. Survivors include his wife, Sue; children Laurence (Cassi), Tamara Morris, and James; sister, Gay LoCascio; and five grandchildren.



Dick Dean, 80, of London, Ontario, Canada, died January 22, 2019. His I.B.M. membership number was 13435, and he had been a member since 1952 (sixty-seven years). He was also a member of the Order of Merlin Excelsior (sixty years of continuous membership). He became interested in magic at age ten after receiving a magic book from his aunt and uncle. At age twelve he won first place in a talent contest at the London Hobby Fair. The region’s top magician, Everette Mires was there and saw Dicky’s sat. He became a life-long mentor and friend. The following year Dicky competed for a Kiwanis Club scholarship and won it over sixty acts competing. These successes led to him being invited to perform at the Abbott’s Get Together in Colon, Michigan. At age fifteen he enrolled in and graduated from the Chavez College of Magic in California. For ten years he taught school in London, but then he and his wife both left teaching to become professional magicians. He performed as “Dicky Dean the Magician.” Marg was his main assistant, but became an accomplished children’s magician herself. Survivors include his wife of fifty-one years, Marg; son Bruce (Andrea); grandchildren, Elliot and Miles; brother Tom (Ruth) and their family, Rob (Melissa), Jim (Michelle), and Beth (Drew). Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer Society of London and Middlesex. 



Paul Freeman, 91, of Great Britain, died October 21, 2018, according to his friend, Roy Field, in the Ring 25 magazine. Paul was on a Mediterranean cruise when he became ill. He was airlifted to a hospital in Spain, where he died. He was well-known as a magician, but even better known as an expert and lecturer on magic history, especially in the History of Mystery sessions. He became interested in magic as a boy, when he was given an “Ernest Sewell No. 2” magic set. He also went to local variety shows, especially if they had a magician. For a long, distinguished career in magic, he was honored by both the Magic Circle and the I.B.M. He served in the military during World War II, and entertained at camp concerts during his tour of duty. His primary occupation was in the secretarial field, serving top corporate executives as their assistants.



Jack Griggs, 82, of Great Britain, died January 6, 2019 of cancer. He was a Life Member of The British Ring, and had been editor of The Budget (the Ring 25 publication) for many years. He also was a Life Member and past president of The Order of the Magi. In addition to magic, he loved painting in watercolors and oils. He took art classes for many years, and his art talents were in demand by many authors to illustrate their books. After serving a distinguished career as a senior police officer, he took early retirement in order to pursue magic, painting, and Punch and Judy. He also loved to travel, especially with his wife before she died several years ago.



Dennis (Denny) John Haney, 73, of Essex, Maryland, died January 23, 2019, of cancer. He was owner and operator of Denny & Lee Magic Studio in Rosedale, Maryland. As a youth he was torn between music (trumpet) and magic. Trumpet won at first, but he switched to magic. He discovered magic by mail order, and began practicing and performing (church socials, birthday parties, etc.). He  discovered Phil Thomas’ Magic Mart and continued to invest the money made from a newspaper route (and performing) in magic tricks and hung out with other magicians. At age fifteen he took the Chavez School of Magic course via mail. As he got better and polished his act, he won prizes at area magic conventions. He was a Vietnam veteran, serving four tours of duty near the mountains in Pleiku. He used to entertain his fellow Army buddies at night with his sleight-of-hand skills. He fell in love with a Vietnamese girl (Lee) and they got married. After the service he began his career as a professional magician, with Lee as his assistant. In the 1980s and 1990s he was a successful corporate entertainer, for such clients as IBM, Pepsi, and General Mills. He also was a warm-up act for many stars, such as Joan Rivers, Dionne Warwick, Liberace, and Jerry Lee Lewis. After a long and successful career performing, he wanted to give back to the magic community, so took money he earned on the road and opened a studio where magicians could come and learn, practice their craft, rehearse, and exchange ideas. It became a popular hangout for magicians and other entertainers. It also was a magic shop. He and Lee divorced but he kept the name Denny & Lee for his act and studio. Survivors include his daughter Dawn (Chris) Campbell, and son, Dennis (Karie); four grandchildren; brother Greg (Karen) Nikoi, and sister, Geraldine (Richard) Watson.



Daniel (Danny) William Johnson, 87, of Arlington, Virginia, died January 9, 2019. Born deaf in Newark, Ohio, he became interested in magic as a teenager, and performed thousands of magic shows over a fifty-year career. He mimed all of his shows using candles, ropes, cards, linking rings, and even baked a cake in a boy’s shirt. While his primary audience was school assemblies, he also performed at birthday parties, nightclubs, and hospitals, among other venues. One of the many highlights of his long career was being named the Outstanding Magician in the first National Deaf Magician’s Tournament at the National Association of the Deaf Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1971. He also received numerous other awards, including in 2008 when the Society of World Deaf Magicians named him the Extraordinary Deaf Magician in the United States. He supplemented his magic life by owning several restaurants in Ohio, including a Dairy Queen and Pizza Parlor. In 1990 he moved to Florida where he lived for twenty-five years in semi-retirement. He performed as a street magician in Key West and Sarasota. In 2016 he moved to Arlington, Virginia to be closer to his family. Survivors include two sons, James (“Jamie”) and Daryl; three grandchildren; sisters Nancy Bates and Eloise Johnson; and brother, Douglas.




Recently the I.B.M. headquarters office learned that Richard Donald Kornacki, 80, of  Smithfield, Rhode Island (formerly of Greenville), died October 22, 2018. His I.B.M. membership number was 30077, and he had been a member since 1976 (forty-two years). He was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (thirty-five years a continuous member). He was a member of Ring 44 (Providence, Rhode Island). Born in Providence, he lived in Greenville since 1963. He served in the Navy Reserve. Most recently he was a Resident Ambassador at Brookdale. He performed for patients at area hospitals. He also entertained members of the Rhode Island legislature and its employees. Honorable contributions may be made to St. Philip Church, 622 Putnam Ave., Greenville, RI 02828.



Robert (Rob) J. LaCelle, 55, of Austintown, Ohio, died December 9, 2018. His I.B.M. membership number was 39673. He had been a member since 1984 (thirty-four years). He was a member of the Order of Merlin (twenty-five years a continuous member). He also was a member of Ring 2 (Youngstown, Ohio), and the Youngstown Magic Club. He jokingly would introduce himself as “John Doe” explaining that people would more likely remember his name. In addition to magic, his hobbies included skiing, traveling, photography, and anything having to do with Route 66. Survivors include sisters Patricia Hrinko, Annette Novosel, and Joan Mitchell; brother, Kenneth; and eight nephews and two nieces. A Broken Wand ceremony was performed in his honor.




Recently the I.B.M. headquarters office learned that Eric Gelinas Michels, 54, of Surrey, United Kingdom, died August 17, 2018. He held I.B.M. membership number 73444 since 2017. He was a member of Ring 25 (The British Ring). He was born in Maine, New England, where he lived until his mid-twenties. He earned a Master’s Degree, and was a Human Resources Director for UK Energy SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy). He became interested in magic at age nine when he received a magic set. He was a speaker and the regular show host at The Magic Circle. He collected magic posters, and had those for Houdini, Thurston, Harry Blackstone, Sr., among others. Survivors include his sons, Josh, and Sam; and daughter, Lottie.



Perley Edward Palmer, 75, of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, died December 21, 2018 of prostate cancer. He was a former member of the I.B.M. Born in Doaktown, he loved making people laugh, especially children. His performing name was simply “Perley the Magician.” He performed at birthday parties and other special occasions, and was a regular fixture at the Fredericton Exhibition. He will be missed by the love of his life, Valerie; his mother, Edith Kelly; children, Faye Kiss (Andrew), Michael (Charmaine), and Kelly Kim (Ill); fourteen grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; brothers Roger (Cathy), and Ivan (Janet); and brothers-in-law Ronald Ross (Mid), Bill Ross (Gayle), and Roger Ross (Elaine). 




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