The Friendly Federation

Founded to Serve

Southeast Federation
of Mineralogical Societies, Inc.

Ronald Joseph Denton
(July 2, 1939 - February 19, 2018)

Mr. Ronald Joseph Denton, age 78 of Brasstown Creek Estates, Young Harris, passed away peacefully, with his loving wife by his side and surrounded by close friends, on Monday February 19, 2018, in the Union General Hospital, following an extended illness. Mr. Denton was born on Jul2, 1939, in Jamaica, NY, the son of the late Joseph C Denton and the late Dorothy Lee Denton. Ronald was a member of Sharp Memorial United Methodist Church and the Ft. Benning Masonic Lodge F&AM. He began his career with the U S Customs service as a Sky Marshall and retired as a Senior Special Agent from Customs’ National Firearms Program Staff at Fort Benning, GA, as an instructor, after spending many years of working drug interdiction in FL, NC and SC. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Robert Lee Denton, his only sibling, a NYPD Officer, killed in the line of duty. Surviving Mr. Denton are his loving wife and best friend of thirty-two years, Anna Wetherington Denton of Young Harris, one daughter and son-in-law, Susan and Todd Pangman of Centreville, VA, one son and daughter-in-law, Ron (Jr) and Karen Denton of Isle of Palms, SC, sister-in-law, Ilene W. Caton of Gastonia, NC, brother-in-law, Les Wetherington of New Bern, NC, nieces and nephews, Michelle, Angie, Kasi, Evan and Dana; four grandchildren. Matthew, Bryce, Alexandra and Connor, a host of church family and many friends. Ron loved rockhounding, taking classes at William Holland school of Lapidary arts and especially opal cutting. He was Past President of the Southeast Federation of Mineralogical Society, past president of the Tri-State Gem & Mineral Club and East Alabama Gem & Mineral Society. He was a Towns County Sherriff’s Office CLEA volunteer. He loved boating, golfing, touring the US in his motor home, and taking cruises with his wife and friends. A memorial service will be held at a later date at the Sharp Memorial United Methodist Church with interment to following in the Green Leak Memorial Park Cemetery, in New Bern, NC. In lieu of flowers if you wish, the family requests that donations be made to Sharp Memorial United Methodist Church or William Holland School of Lapidary arts in memory of Mr. Denton. Mountain View Funeral Home in Blairsville is in charge of arrangements. You may sign the family guestbook and send condolences on line at


2009 President of the SFMS

Obituary for Mrs. Betty McLaurin James
Betty McLaurin James, 82 passed away Friday, February 3, 2017 at her home in Florence. Visitation will be Saturday, February 4th from 5:00 -8:00 p.m. and Sunday, February 5th from 1:00 p.m. until the 2:00 p.m. Funeral Service at Chancellor Funeral Home in Florence. Burial will follow at Glenwood Memorial Park in Richland.
Mrs. James was born in Puckett, MS to Dee and Lucille McLaurin. She was raised in Raleigh before moving to Florence over 20 years ago. She was a member of Liberty Baptist Church and a member of the Mississippi Gem and Mineral Society. She enjoyed traveling all over the United States.
Mrs. James is preceded by her parents; her husband, Thomas G. James, Jr.; brother, Billy McLaurin; and sisters, Johnnie Bell Robey and Mildred Wade. She is survived by her children, DeAnn Henderson of Florence and George David (Dianne) Henderson of Raleigh; 4 grandchildren; 5 great grandchildren; and brother, Samuel (Linda) McLaurin of Raleigh.

From the Harrison County Gem & Mineral Society

Thursday, December 27, 2012
Robert Neuschaefer of Valley Springs, CA

Robert William Neuschaefer Age 74 passed away at his home in Valley Springs, Ca on December 15, 2012.

Born 11/01/1938 in San Francisco, CA to parents William and Roberta Neuschaefer. He completed his Bachelor's degree in Engineering and worked for Marshalls Space Flight Center NASA for 37 yrs.

Mr. Neuschaefer was the president, Curator & Field Trip Leader of Huntsville gem and mineral society in Alabama, & member of the Roving Rockhounds.

His hobbies included being a member of United Church of Christ, Rockhounding, traveling, and teaching children about rocks. 

Robert is survived by his wife Bonnie Neuschaefer of Huntsville, AL, Son, Richard William Neuschaefer of Marietta, GA, GrandDaughters, Melissa Schaefer of Houston, TX. & Melanie Schaefer of Kelso, TN, Brother, Richard W. Neuschaefer of Los Gatos, CA, Cousin Dianna Murphy of Lodi, CA, Niece, Kelli (Charles) Flesher, Great Nephews, C.J., Rob, Ryan, & Alex Flesher. 
Predeceased by, Twin Brother, Frank Edgar Neuschaefer, Mother & Father, & Uncle Robert Edgar Richards. 

Memorial Services will be held at United Congregational Christian Church 701 S. Hutchins, Lodi, CA. Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 2:00 P.M.

Visitation will be held at Laughlin Funeral Home in Huntsville, AL Friday, January 4, 2013 from 6-9 P.M.

Funeral Services will be held at United Church of Huntsville, AL 7906 Whitesburg Dr. S. Huntsville, AL Saturday, January 5, 2013 at 11:00 A.M.

Graveside Service at Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville, AL. A reception will be held at United Church of Huntsville, Al following graveside services.

In Lieu of flowers donations may be made to the American Parkinson's Foundation. The family would like to thank Caregivers Shirley Wilson, Sheneka McKneely, & Elenenh Hall.

(Obit in newspaper)

I just received a call from a friend of Bonnie Neuschaefer to let us know that Bob Neuschaefer - known as Alabama Bob to his rockhounding friends - passed away this past weekend. Bob & Bonnie were in California at the time and had planned to return to their home in Huntsville, Alabama for Christmas. Unfortunately Bob's health deteriorated and after some medical interventions, he was returned home where he passed away in his sleep a few days later.
Those of you who took summer field trips with CCFMS in the 90s until about 2010 will remember Bob as the muddiest, most enthusiastic rockhound ever. He had a gentlemanly southern drawl and loved to tell jokes while tirelessly digging for rocks. Bob was always the last to leave a collecting site because there was always something more to be found. Even when Parkinson's came into his life, he did not let this slow him down. With Bonnie at his side, he kept rocking all around the world - whether he was walking under his own steam or rolling along in a wheelchair. His spirit was boundless - almost as vast as his love for Bonnie.
Because Bob & Bonnie were known to many, I am sending this email out to those rockhounds I believe may have known them. Please spread the word. Bonnie would appreciate knowing that Bob's friends have been informed.
Elfi Berndl' (FaceBook)
(from the January 2013 Music City Rockette, Middle Tennessee Rockhounds)

GMS President - 1989 & 1990 
SFMS Georgia State Director
Mayo Foundation Treasurer

March 16th, 1932 - December 25th, 2012
Frank B. Decaminada, of Alpharetta, GA, passed away early Christmas morning. After over 35 years with Rockwell International, Frank began his second career in gems and minerals. He was an avid collector and was involved in the Georgia Mineral Society and Cobb County Gem and Mineral Society as well as other local and national organizations. He was instrumental in establishing the society’s scholarship fund. He is survived by his wife Caroline, daughters Dianne (Nino) Capoccia, Carol Zen, and son, David Decaminada; grandchildren Christopher Capoccia, Erick (Aime) Stenborg, Christine (Justin) Joseph, Karl Stenborg, Stephanie (Thomas) Boehm, and Melodie (Thomas) Miller; five great-grandchildren Samuel, Olivier and Marguerite Stenborg, and Daniela and Nino Boehm. Visitation will be held at Northside Chapel, Roswell, GA on Friday, December 28 from 6-8 p.m. A funeral mass will be held at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, Roswell, GA on Saturday, December 29 at 10:30 a.m. Internment will be at Resurrection Cemetery in Lewis Center, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Mineral Society’s Mayo Educational Foundation, Inc. c/o William Waggener, 4138 Steve Reynolds Blvd., Norcross, GA 30093. Northside Chapel Funeral Directors, Roswell, GA., 770/645-1414.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Mineral Society’s Mayo Educational Foundation, Inc. c/o William Waggener, 4138 Steve Reynolds Blvd., Norcross, GA 30093.
Resurrection Cemetery, 9571 N. High Street, Lewis Center, OH 43035
6:00PM to 8:00PM on Friday, December 28th, 2012 at Northside Chapel Funeral Directors and Crematory
10:30AM at St. Andrew's Catholic Church on Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Dear SFMS, JGMS and friends,

I am sad to inform you that Mr. Gene R. Roberts passed away Wednesday. I called him earlier and his son answered and informing me of his passing.

Florida Times Union Obituary

Gene R. Roberts, 75, passed away Wednesday, August 8, 2012. Hardage-Giddens Town & Country Funeral Home, 7242 Normandy Blvd., Jacksonville, FL. 32205. 904-781-9262.

The family has requested that his viewing will be family only.

The funeral will be Monday August 13, 2012 at 11am at the Jacksonville National Cemetery.

Jacksonville National Cemetery
4083 Lannie Road
Jacksonville, FL 32218-1247

I am honored Gene opened his heart and allowed me to be a part of his life. Gene and my family shared nothing but good memories. Gene had a strong passion for America, Family and friends. I am truly a better person for knowing him. There is no higher pedestal a revered man could be put on.

A few years ago, four rock hounds went on a rock collecting canoe trip. We left the house very early in the morning and headed off to the river 100 plus males away. We stopped at a nearby cracker-barrel for breakfast about the time they opened. We enjoyed a hot meal and finished about the time the sun came up. We got to the creek and 2 miles later downstream we had already shared so much together. The sights and sounds of the river were broken up into periods of calm still areas and the occasional small fast rapids. A playful paddle slap of water at one another kept each other in check as we traveled. Excitement quickly overcome us all as we reached the outcropping. We were having a great time. Each of us were rooting around in the bank and the river bottom showing off what each of us had found. A few hours later we were all sitting on the edges of our canoes; a little wore out as we were sharing the moment with sandwiches and drinks before heading back. Mother nature had been holding back the weather for us all morning and how thankful we were. A truly wonderful morning. There were no expected weather conditions other than partly cloudy skies and a 15% change of rain late in the afternoon. This was nothing for a couple of Florida boys so we weren't worried about it. As the very cold, very large rain drops started to fall, we all feverishly packed up and headed back. The last 1/2 mile was a torrential downpour. The ominous clouds were swirling erratically and it got very dark very quick. The slight fear fell upon us as we heard a thunderous locomotive approaching through the woods. I know I was thinking tornado! The weather had turned so fast it was unnerving. The slightest veer of your canoe while paddling in the strong winds would track your canoe off course. By this point I jumped out of my canoe and I tied it to the back of Genes. Then pulled both Gene in his canoe and mine in the pouring rain the rest of the way to the ramp. After loading up the canoes and gear, we all dried off and changed clothes and safely made the trip back home. After the others had left, Gene hung back to talk. Gene had the time of his life. His inner child had been released and he simply couldn't hide it, you could literally squeeze him and get pure joy despite the stormy end to our day. It was if the sun had been blindly bright all day!

Gene was passionate about exploring our great land and our ability to continue to do so. This is one of the reasons why Gene gave so selflessly to us and the Rockhound community.

It's admiral for a man to possess respectable traits; Gene was honorable for heroically using them!

Respectfully, Jason Hamilton

CASTEEL, Paul Casteel
, 88,
 passed away peacefully, on February 21, 2012. He was a beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Paul was born in Middleburg, Fl. and was a lifelong resident of Jacksonville. As a United States Navy Veteran, he served his country as a Naval Signalman during World War II and Korean War on the USS Electra (AKA-4). He was honorable discharged in 1954. He then worked at USF&G Insurance Company for 31 yrs. and retired in 1985. After retirement, he worked as a Silversmith/Jewelry Designer where he passed on his passion by teaching classes at local schools in the Jacksonville area including DuPont Middle School. He was also a Director, teacher and mentor of the William Holland School of Lapidary Arts in Young Harris, Ga. He also taught at John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC. He was a member of The American Legion Post No. 88 and a Lifelong member of The Jacksonville Gem and Mineral Society.
He is predeceased by his loving wife of 67 years Jackie Casteel. Children Paulette Casteel Burke (John), James Casteel (Elizabeth), Douglas Casteel; Grandchildren Kimberly Casteel Guerra (Travis), James Casteel (Connie); Great-grandchildren Blair, Chase, Madison, Nol, Hannah and baby Casteel due in September; cousins, Kathy and John Hendershot.A Graveside service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 25, 2012 in Oaklawn Cemetery. The Family will receive friends at the funeral home at 10:00 a.m. prior to the service. HARDAGE-GIDDENS OAKLAWN CHAPEL, 4801 San Jose Blvd is serving the family.
October 9, 1931-12/01/2010

It is with a very heavy heart that I report that Olin Banks passed away today.  We at the Cobb County Gem & Mineral Society owe Olin a debt of gratitude for his many hours of volunteering at the workshop as well as his constant smile and support of our club and workshop.

Ruth Rainey

Olin will also be greatly missed by The Georgia Mineral Society where he volunteered to exhibit and demonstrate his faceting expertise at our many club shows, presented many programs at our membership meetings, and did what ever he could to promote our society to the general public.  He was also a GMS trustee for many years.
Jim Flora
GMS Webmaster
Olin Banks had been the SFMS Georgia State Director for many years during the 1990's and early 2000's!

Jeanette Banks

 (September 6, 1933 - June 16, 2009)

 Jeannette had been on the board of directors of the Mayo Foundation since 2000.  She and her husband, Olin, were longtime Georgia state directors for the SFMS and involved in the SFMS stamp program.  Jeannette was also a longtime member of many Georgia gem and mineral clubs and was especially involved with the Georgia Mineral Society, the Cobb County Gem and Mineral Society, and the Cotton Indian Mineral Society.

Sign the Guestbook at White Columns Funeral Chapel.
Share your thoughts and memories about Jeanette Banks in the guestbook.

Sign the guestbook
Read the guestbook


2009 SFMS Bulletin Contest Chair
  • It is with great sadness that I inform you that Ed Johnson, our former president, died last night. 

    Jacksonville Gem and Mineral Society of Jacksonville, Florida

David T. Tuttle, 67, of Yulee, passed away, August 22, 2008.

David had been undergoing chemotherapy at the Baptist Medical Center in downtown Jacksonville  for his  recently diagnosed aggressive form of leukemia.

David was a past president of the Southeast Federation of Mineralogical Societies, Inc.(1994)  and a 30+year lifetime member of the  Jacksonville Gem and Mineral Society (Jacksonville, FL) .  He was also a member of the North East Florida Astronomical Society.

David was an accomplished author and writer.  He began writing in the 5th grade, but didn't get serious until retiring with 32 years military and civilian government service.  

David Tuttle's books -
Fernandina's Lost Island-co-authored by David Tuttle / Cara Curtin
Leopard of Fernandina by David Tuttle
Murder in Fernandina - collaborative work with lead author David Tuttle
Pirates, Gamblers and Scalawags- book of short stories by David Tuttle

David T. Tuttle Sr.
(The Florida Times-Union.)
TUTTLE Mr. David T. Tuttle, Sr., age 67, of Yulee, passed away on Friday evening, August 22, 2008 at Baptist Medical Center- Jacksonville. Born in Newton, New Jersey, he was a son of the late Lauren and Elizabeth Thomas Tuttle. Mr. Tuttle and his family had lived in north Jacksonville for many years before locating to Yulee in 1989. Mr. Tuttle served 4 years in the U.S. Air Force as a Ground Radio Operator and 24 years in the Florida Air National Guard as an aircraft electronics technician. While serving in the U.S.A.F. he was part of the 2nd Mobile Communications Squadron, an Emergency Recovery Team in Africa assigned to NASA for project Mercury and several NATO and UN African missions. After 28 years of combined service, he retired in 1994 as a Master Sergeant. In 1994 he began working at Publix in Fernandina Beach, which he retired from in 2000 as a manager of the Photolab. An avid rock and gem hunter and collector since 1975, he had served as President of the Jacksonville Gem and Mineral Society and the Southeast Federation of Mineralogical Society. As a Facetor and Mineral Collector, along with his wife Barbara, they had co-directed Lapidary workshops in Little Switzerland, NC. A licensed commercial pilot, Mr. Tuttle collected any stamps containing a photo of a plane. Other interests include Astronomy, which he enjoyed through his membership in the North Florida Astronomical Society and the Saxophone, which he played with the New Horizons Band, affiliated with the Amelia Arts Academy. A published author, he was in the process of completing the fourth and final book in a murder mystery series. Mr. Tuttle had been a longtime member of the Northside Bible Church where for 13 years he had served as Treasurer. Also for a 13 year tenure he had served as Troop Leader for Boy Scout Troop No. 535 at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Jacksonville. He is preceded in death by: a son, Jon Tuttle, who passed away in December of 2007, and three brothers, Lauren P. Tuttle, Jr., Richard B. Tuttle and John P. Tuttle, Sr. He leaves behind, his loving wife of 48 years, Barbara Halter Tuttle, Yulee, one son, David T. Tuttle, Jr., and his wife Deborah, Jacksonville, a daughter in law, Linda Graham Tuttle, Jacksonville, one sister, Andrea Toohey, Jacksonville, grandchildren, Thomas Henry Tuttle, Charlotte Marie Tuttle, Joseph Edward Graham, Sean David Tuttle, Cameron Elizabeth Tuttle and several nieces and nephews. Also, Harold Tuttle, uncle and Gwen and Bob Erdlitz, aunt and uncle.

Funeral services will be at 2:30 pm on Wednesday, from the Burgess Chapel with Reverend Wayne Bailey, officiating. Mr. Tuttle will be laid to rest beside his son, Jon, in Bosque Bello Cemetery, Fernandina Beach with full military honors. His family invites guests and friends to visit on Tuesday from 5:00 - 7:00 pm at the funeral home.

Please share his life story at OXLEY - HEARD FUNERAL DIRECTORS

Please Sign the Guestbook @

In Memory of Mary Evelyn Chambliss
October 10, 1948 - July 5, 2008


Mary’s involvement with the Jacksonville Gem and Mineral Society was “multifaceted”. She attended field trips and meetings, worked the fairs, outfitted the picnics, exhibited her collection of rocks and minerals and gifted many of her pearls and treasures.  Her official duties over the years included being field trip co-chair with Charlie Broome, angel program chair, JGMS treasurer, and JGMS president.  For the past 8 years, Mary chaired the annual club show committee while battling her cancer and was always present at her show “desk”.  She will be deeply missed as a dedicated member, enthusiastic rockhound, and loyal friend. 

Mickey Cecil
Jacksonville Gem and Mineral Society


TriState Lapidary Club of Johnston County, North Carolina, lost a valued member on November 9th. 2007.  Ira A. Abernathy, Jr, was not only the founder of the club, but the Membership Chairman, the Federation Liaison, and the Editor of "The Prospector Newsletter".   Ike, as we knew him, was 90
years young.  Living in Benson, North Carolina, he was formerly from North Canton, Ohio.  He was born in Newland, North Carolina; and resided in the Canton area most of his life, returning to North Carolina in 1995.  Ike was the founder and owner of the Custom Machine Shop in Canton, which he operated until his retirement in 1980.  He pass away un-expertly in Johnston Memorial Hospital in Smithfield, North Carolina, preceded in death by his wife, Marjorie. Survived by two daughters, Tammy Abernethy and Holly Brewer and her husband Albert and two grandsons, Trey & Aaron Brewer.  Memorial service was held on Sunday 11th, at the Elizabeth United Methodist Church in Smithfield.  His body was taken to Canton, Ohio, for burial at the Forest Hills Cemetery.
Not only was he a master with cabochons, but was also a master in wood working.  He enriched, empowered, and encouraged the lives of all with whom he came in contact.  The club members will feel a lasting loss and he will greatly missed.

Respectfully Submitted, Clea Gallian, Secretary of TriState Lapidary Club.

SFMS Field Trip Committee:
Property Sold - Site Closed!!!

(The state mineral of Georgia) 

This property has been SOLD and is CLOSED to ALL mineral collecting.   This location is now a subdivision of buildable lots for sale. 

HACKNEY FARM WAS a world class site for Staurolite (Fairy crosses) and
had been open to collectors for over 70 years!

SFMS Field Trip Committee:
Important - Black Mt., NC Kyanite Location Closed 
Attention All rockhounds

This Black Mountain Kyanite site listed on page 26 of my book, "A Rockhounding Guide to North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains" is now closed to all collecting. I have just been informed by a local property owner that "rockhounds" have been accessing his property to collect without permission. To make matters far worse, certain individuals had the gall to use a chainsaw to cut trails while others stole boards from a nearby construction site to lay down over wet areas and build small foot bridges. 

I can't begin to express my disgust for the complete disregard of common courtesy demonstrated by these fools. These are the types of individuals who sully the reputation of all rockhounds and cause sites to be forever closed. Before these unfortunate events, the owner was more than willing to allow rockhounds to access his property to collect. 

On page 18 and 19 of my book, I wrote the following that should be taken to heart by every rockhound: 

"Common courtesy and good manners are as important in the field as any equipment. Too many sites still bursting with minerals have been closed forever because of the boorish nature of just one person. A collector would do well to adhere to the following Code of Ethics put forth by the American Federation of Mineral Societies: 

1. I will respect both private and public property and will do no collecting on privately owned land without the owner’s permission. 

2. I will keep informed on all laws, regulations or rules governing collecting on public lands and will observe them. 

3. I will, to the best of my ability ascertain the boundary lines of property on which I plan to collect. 

4. I will use no firearms or blasting material in collecting areas. 

5. I will cause no willful damage to property of any kind – fences, signs, buildings, etc. 

6. I will build fires in designated or safe places only and will be certain they are completely extinguished before leaving the area. 

7. I will discard no burning material – matches, cigarettes, etc. 

8. I will fill all excavation holes which may be dangerous to livestock. 

9. I will not contaminate wells, creeks, or other water supply. 

10. I will cause no willful damage to collecting material and will take home only what I can reasonably use. 

11. I will support the rockhound project H.E.L.P. (Help Eliminate Litter Please) and will leave all collecting areas devoid of litter, regardless of how found. 

12. I will cooperate with field trip leaders and those in designated authority in all collecting areas. 

13. I will report to my club or federation officers, Bureau of Land Management, or other proper authorities, any deposit of petrified wood or other material on public lands which should be protected for the enjoyment of future generations for public educational and scientific purposes. 

14. I will appreciate and protect our heritage of natural resources. 

15. I will observe the “Golden Rule,” will use “Good Outdoor Manners” and will at all times conduct myself in a manner which will add to the public stature and public “Public Image” of rockhounds everywhere. 

The author can not stress enough the importance of obtaining permission to enter private property to rock collect. Too many collecting sites have been closed forever by angry landowners that became upset because negligent rock hounds chose to dig on their properties without permission. How would you react if you looked out your front window and saw someone digging a hole in your front lawn? YOU MUST OBTAIN PERMISSION TO ACCESS ANY SITE LOCATED ON PRIVATE PROPERTY. PLEASE GET PERMISSION BEFORE YOU ENTER AND DIG!" 

Property access and ownership can change at the mere stroke of a pen or whim of a landowner. Therefore, except for a few sites, no ownership information is provided in this book. However, obtaining permission to enter a property should always be obtained prior to any collecting trip. You should be prepared to track down the owner of a property by knocking on a few doors in the vicinity or by visiting the County courthouse for records. Take time to visit with a property owner to gain his trust. Talk about the weather, his livestock, his family, your family or any other small talk that comes to mind. But, whatever you do, wait until it appears that the owner is losing interest before you ask for permission to access his property to collect. If the owner is a commercial enterprise, he may require a brief safety training session and/or that a waiver be signed before granting permission to enter. If it appears that an owner is reluctant to grant permission, it may! be prudent to offer some money for the privilege to collect. But, be careful, offering money is construed by some to be an insult. A doctorate in psychology might be a real plus for some of the more delicate negotiations." 

Please strictly adhere to the code of ethics and obtain permission to collect. We have only ourselves to blame for the closing of yet another site. 

Please help me by spreading the word about the closing of the Black Mountain kyanite site. 

Mike Streeter
SFMS North Carolina State Director

"A Rockhounding Guide to North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains" by Mike Streeter

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