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Heavenly Rockhounds



The following outstanding rockhounds were known by many of us.  We would like to honor them for their many years of devoted service enriching the rockhounding community and the Federations.

bulletDee Holland ( - 12-9-2020)
bulletCarolyn Weinberger ( - 3/25/2019)
bulletJune Zeitner
bulletGus Meister
bulletCathy Gaber ( - 12/1/2007)
bulletBill Cook ( - 9/4/2006)
bulletFred Pough ( - 4/2006)
bullet Mel Albright ( - 11/2004)
bulletKen Zahn
bulletJ. C. "Cal" Keator ( - 3/30/2003)
bulletBarbara Goss Pettit ( - 1/??/2003)
bulletJohnnie Short (4/27/1920 - 1/1/2003)
bulletRobert Beachler, Jr. (1920 - 12/ 24/2002)
bulletCharles Leach (2/3/1920  - 1/20/2002)
bulletJohnnie Short (4/27/1920 - 1/1/2003
bulletRobert Beachler, Jr. (1920 - 12/24/2002
bulletJohn "Jack" Hanahan (8/5/1924 - 10/28/2001)
bulletRita Weinstein ( - 1/15/2001)
bulletHoward Binkley ( - 12/15/2000)
bulletOlive M. Colhour (4/02/1898 - 11/24/2000)
bulletBeverley Hafeli (7/18/1931 - 11/02/2000)
bulletJessie Hardman ( - 6/25/2000)

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Dee Holland

Dee Holland passed away December 9, 2020. He was the last of a group of pioneers in the Northwest Federation. Dee, along with Ed Romack, John Spunaugle, Cliff Jackson, Dorothy & Glenn Lee and Richard Glissman all hung around together and created so many things we can all look back on with awe and reverence. The fellas were all involved in faceting, they were all involved in competitive rules and exhibiting, they were all involved in the formation of ALAA, American Lands Access Assn. Dee was NFMS president in 1987-88 and went on to be AFMS president, 1998, and finally in his later years, he was president of AFMS Scholarship Foundation.

His great love was judging competitive exhibits all over the regional federation shows, and worked hard to update the AFMS Rules. Along with Jay Bowman, they created the first program of bringing people from all the regional federations to Wildacres for a week-long seminar of teaching how to judge competitive exhibits. Both Dee and Jay always said, 'you are not a judge, YOU are a teacher.'

Dee had been in bad health for many years, but he leaves a legacy we will not soon forget.

Shirley Leeson, AFMS President 2008

June Zeitner

I've just learned that June Zeitner passed away last evening at her home. She was 93 and had been in failing health for some time.

The recipient of the first AFMS Recognition Award, June certainly brought the joys of our hobby to the public through her books and articles in Lapidary Journal and Rock & Gem Magazine. She was active in the Midwest Federation, serving as president in 1968-69 and served as a bulletin judge for the AFMS annual contest for many years. On a personal note, her comments were wonderful...helpful and to the point!

She attended many AFMS conventions over the years and she was a regular fixture at the Tucson shows. Having dinner with June was always great fun as she regaled the group with stories about her rockhounding adventures throughout the US.

June was also the founder of the Rockhound Hall of Fame and the recipient of the Carnegie Award in 2005.

If any of you have any anecdotes that you would like to share for the next AFMS Newsletter about June, please send them to me.

Carolyn Weinberger, AFMS Editor


��..from Dona Leicht, member of the Mineralogical Society of Southern California.

There was an era in mineral collecting when the �club� was the thing. It was where we all gathered together to learn, to laugh, to collect, to sponsor shows and in general be the �goodwill� ambassadors of the mineral hobby. Gus Meister spent a goodly part of his life as one of these �ambassadors.

Gus�s story is actually the �American Dream.� come true. With only $20. in his pocket this young man left his homeland of Germany to come to America. For someone who had finished his apprenticeship as a machinist, washing dishes to make his way in the �big city� of New York was hardly an auspicious beginning to his new life. Several jobs followed including some time with the Waltham Watch Company in Massachusetts. In 1932 a friend suggested a trip across the country and when they landed in California there was no question in Gus�s mind that this is where he would stay, although his love of �road trips� never waned.

And stay he did�. To do successful work as a machinist, marry a lovely lady named Edith and raise two daughters. The family moved to his beloved home in Altadena in 1956 and remained there his entire life. He owned Meister Engineering Corporation located in Pasadena, California. He specialized in prototype and short-run machining for many industries including aerospace and specialty cameras. He is a life member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

An announcement in the local paper about meetings of the Mineralogical Society of Southern California prompted Gus to attend and his interest in minerals became a life long hobby from that point in 1954. He studied geology and mineralogy at Pasadena City College and joined �study groups� held in various collector�s houses in the area, names like, Chapman, Hill, VanAmridge, Calvert, Rodekor, Streeter, all movers and shakers of their day.

Gus loved the thumbnail size specimens and assembled quite a collection. It is Gus we can thank for new rules in competitive displays that allow for some �flair.� Previously thumbnails were displayed in unflattering wooded boxes with dividers. When Gus was disqualified during a competition for his deviation from the �rules� he took it upon himself to change the rules! As President of the California Federation and finally AFMS President he nudged them into a bit more forward thinking regarding displays. Thanks, Gus.

Ever the machinist, he thought that the current crop of breakers to trim specimens were too imprecise, rough and clumsy, and especially for smaller specimens. They the �Meister Trimmer� was born in the early 1960�s. Wayne and I still have ours as I�m sure many others do as well. Gus also engineered a faceting machine, originally called the Alter Faceter � renamed the Facet-Meister in its later years. I know of people who still use this machine.

Feisty, but always fair, Gus will be missed by his friends. Can you hear the faint sounds of the harmonica? I wonder if we can ever replace the camaraderie of those early mineral societies?

Gus served as President of the CFMS in 1969. He was CFMS Rules Chair in 1966 during the AFMS/CFMS show in Las Vegas. He served as AFMS Rules Chair at the National show in 1972 and was elected during this show for the AFMS Regional VP from California.

In 1976, the year Gus was AFMS President, the AFMS annual show and convention was held in Austin, Texas. It was a huge Texas-style show. The membership for the combined federations was 67,455. The Scholarship Fund has just topped $200,000. The grand total to run the AFMS for the year 1976 was $7,981.89. Most chairmen didn�t put in their expenses. It�s sad that at this time the president did not have a message each month in the AFMS Newsletter. We don�t have any words of wisdom from this very special person, but the quiet things he did still linger on�.

In his later years, after his beloved wife Edith passed away, Gus traveled to Germany many times getting to know his country of origin. His recent years left his with poor eyesight, it slowed him down, but didn�t stop him altogether. He passed away in his beloved home in Altadena, with his daughter Annie by his side, as she has been for many years.

Shirley Leeson,
AFMS Historian

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Cathy Gaber

It is with profound sorrow that I must tell you that Cathy Gaber passed away this morning. She had spent the last month in the ICU in the hospital battling kidney and liver problems as well as two intractable infections.

In recent days she was placed on a respirator and given dialysis in the hope that both would allow her functions to begin healing, but evidently the problems were too deep rooted. Bruce indicates that even had she survived this ordeal, her quality of life would have been unstable and greatly diminished.

There will be a memorial service in Washington, DC, but as yet no date has been set.

Should you wish, contributions in Cathy's memory should be made to either the AFMS Scholarship Foundation % Bob Livingston (checks to AFMS Scholarship Foundation) 59 Ely Drive; Fayetteville, NY 13066-1001

or Eastern Foundation Fund % Ellery Borow (checks to EFF) PO Box 47; Waterville, ME 04903-0047

Cathy was a good friend to many, past president of the EFMLS, one of the mainstays of the Wildacres faculty, an incredibly talented author, and talented craftsperson who inspired and influenced so many of us.


Carolyn Weinberger, AFMS Editor

As a memorial to Cathy�s long commitment to writing, teaching, and service within the mineral and
craft communities, the family has established the Catherine J. Gaber Endowment Fund for Education in
Mineralogy at the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum at Michigan Technological University.

Catherine J. Gaber Endowment Fund for Education in Mineralogy
Contributions may be made payable and sent to:
�Michigan Tech Fund�
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
Add the notation that they are for the
C. J. Gaber Endowment.

Bill Cook

I've just learned that Bill Cook passed away at his home yesterday afternoon. He had been battling pancreatic cancer.

Many remember Bill for his work with the AFMS Uniform Rules where he served on the AFMS Committee and as a judge of competitive exhibits at most AFMS and many regional Federation Conventions. He was very active in the Midwest Federation as well, serving as Treasurer of the MWF Endowment Fund.

Bill and his wife Anne took countless mineral displays to Tucson each year where they also participated in the annual Mineral Syposium and Micromount Symposium held during the club show there. Bill was a species collector and could always be found, Fleisher in had, roaming in and out of the various mineral dealers at Tucson, Denver, Rochester and other major assemblages of mineral collectors.

Contributions in his memory should be made to the AFMS Scholarship Foundation, % your local federation liaison.

Anne's address

Carolyn Weinberger, AFMS Editor
Received 9/5/2006

Fred Pough

We just returned from the Rochester Mineral Symposium and unfortunately have some sad news to report.

Fred Pough, who would have turned 100 this coming June passed away while attending the symposium. Shortly after arriving and talking with a few friends in the lobby, he collapsed. He was given CPR within seconds by someone with 30 years of ER experience and another nurse and transported to the local hospital where he passed away about an hour later.

Fred was excited about coming to the symposium so he could be with his many friends. His family feels that this was the perfect place for him to have passed, among his many friends and doing what he'd devoted his life to.

Many (most?) of us have a copy of Fred's most popular book - "A Field Guide to Rocks & Minerals" which first appeared in 1953 and was revised many times since. It's still in print and still a best seller.

About 5 years ago Fred donated many of his mineral slides to the EFMLS for our use. These are being duplicated and organized and will represent future programs for our library. A generous donation, now even more treasured.

Contributions in Fred's memory may be made to the AFMS Scholarship Foundation (checks to "AFMS Scholarship Foundation" and sent to Bob Livingston, 59 Ely Drive; Fayetteville, NY 13066.


Carolyn Weinberger AFMS Editor

Ken Zahn

I've just learned that Ken Zahn, Eastern Federation President 1967-68 and AFMS President 1976-77 passed away. He was in his 90's.

Ken may be best remembered for his regular Conservation & Legislation columns in both the Eastern and American Federation Newsletters. Ken really started the ball rolling in alerting us to pending legislation in Washington that could affect our collecting activities - a mission which continues to this day.

Contributions in Ken's memory may be made to:

AFMS Scholarship Foundation
% Bob Livingston (or your regional AFMS Scholarship representative.)
59 Ely Drive
Fayetteville, NY 13066
(checks payable to "AFMS Scholarship Foundation")

Carolyn Weinberger

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Rita Weinstein

In Memory: Rita Weinstein
SFMS Immediate Past Secretary
Member of Jacksonville Gem and Mineral Society

We must report, with deep sadness, that outgoing SFMS Secretary Rita Weinstein passed away in January.  The following information from the Jacksonville Gem and Mineral Society newsletter was provided by David Tuttle.

We are saddened by the passing of Rita Weinstein on January 15, 2001.  Rita spent the last 15 months in and out the hospital and nursing home being treated for cancer which had spread throughout her body.  Besides being keenly interested in the lapidary arts, Rita was an avid fan of the opera.  She know the English translation of many operas and enjoyed telling the stories which opera presents.

Over the years, Rita had been active in youth activities at her synagogue, taught Hebrew and helped out in any capacity the rabbi asked of her.  Rita took many classes at her favorite workshop, The William Holland Scholl of Lapidary Arts.  After taking "Opal Cutting" several times, Rita came back to the Jacksonville Gem and Mineral Society and taught classes in opal cutting at our own workshop.. One of her favorite activities with the JGMS was to go on field trips and enjoy not only the rock digging but the social aspect of the field trips.  Rita considered her rockhound friends as part of her family.

Rita had served the Jacksonville Gem & Mineral Society as Secretary, Youth Activities Chair, and Scholarship Awards Chair.  Rita also served the Southeast Federation as Secretary for four years; tirelessly striving to keep the most accurate records possible and do her part in helping to guide the Federation's actions on the right course.

Rita's unsurpassed enthusiasm will be missed.

via the Lodestar, the SFMS Newsletter February 2001

Howard Binkley

Howard Binkley,  just retired editor of SCRIBE and president of the EFMLS in 1998-99  passed away on 12-15-2000 at the age of 80. Contributions in Howard's memory should be made either to the

Eastern Foundation Fund (checks to EFF)
%Carl Miller
8300 Old Cavalry Dr
Mechanicsville, VA 23111-4534

or  the AFMS Scholarship Foundation (checks to AFMS Scholarship Foundation)
% Mary Bateman
2700 S 9th St #203
Arlington, VA 22204-2328

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Olive M. Colhour
By Bill Luke

Olive M. Colhour, known to rockhounds everywhere, passed away peacefully on November 24, 2000, the day after Thanksgiving, at the age of 102. With her passing, the rockhounding and lapidary world has lost one of its most gifted artists. She had lived for several years with her son and his wife north of Seattle. Recently, she had been in a rest home and had enjoyed generally good health.

Olive was born April 2, 1898, in New Zealand, and lived for some time in Vancouver, B.C. She had two grown sons by a previous marriage when she met and married Ralph Colhour in 1937. They lived in Keyport, Washington, where Ralph was a machinist and builder. During World War II, Olive worked in the machine shop at the torpedo station.

Olive began her beautiful, artistic lapidary work when she was 56 years old. With no knowledge, training nor equipment, she began to find the beauty in rocks. Ralph, a machinist, built tools and equipment for her to work with and she joined a rock club in 1948 in hopes of learning from others. Just a few years later she won the Best of Show award at the 1955 show in Yakima, Washington. Within four years of her initiation into the lapidary field, she had won every American Federation of Mineralogical Societies award in all nine categories. In the next couple of decades we were all to learn of her works through many articles in Lapidary Journal and shows throughout the United States and Canada.

Olive's first book, "My Search for Beauty", was published in 1993. Here, along with photos and descriptions of her beautiful works, you will learn about field trips, outdoor stories about people met along the way and some philosophies of an artist. A second book was published in 1997 and the first printing completed just in time for her 100th birthday! It contains stories and poems by both Olive and Ralph and many of the Lapidary Journal articles. From these works, we learn that Olive was sincere, humorous, dedicated, humble and had been given a talent that she said was "a gift from God."

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Beverley Hafeli
July 18, 1931 - November 2, 2000

Mrs. Beverley Hafeli, 69, of Mapa, Calif., died Thursday, November 2, 2000, at the Kaiser Medical Center in Vallejo following a lengthy battle with cancer.

Beverley was born in Napa, Calif.  She was a member of three time president of the Napa Valley Rock and Gem Club, member of the Calaveras Rock and Gem Club, and president elect of the California Federation of Mineralogical Societies in 1999.  She was forced to resign this position when her disease was diagnosed.  She enjoyed rock hounding and used her talents to instruct others in the art of crafting wire trees at Camp Paradise.

Mrs. Hafeli was preceded in death by her son, Joseph Edward Hafeli, Jr. in 1991. She is survived by her beloved husband of fifty years, Joseph Edward Hafeli; daughter, Diana KcKeown, and her husband, Michael, all of Napa; and a number of nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be sent to either the California or AFMS Scholarship Foundation or the charity of your choice.

via AFMS Newsletter, December 2000

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