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May-June 2017

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In Memoriam

Henry “Bumpi” Barwood was born in Alameda, California, in 1947, the only child of Hank and Reba Barwood. His nickname of Bumpi came from his parents because he bumped into things as he learned to walk. Bumpi was profoundly influenced by his parents' love of and engagement with the natural world as they explored the phosphate pits of central Florida and the piedmont of the southeastern United States. I met Bumpi when they moved to Auburn, Alabama, during our fifth-grade year. He was a sponge for knowledge, wanting to know about everything. In the seventh grade he designed and built a laser, but he couldn't figure out how to get a ruby that would work. This was the beginning of his tinkering with building the equipment he needed.

At Auburn University, Bumpi started as a music education major, but finding that was not for him, he changed his focus to geology. During college, we continued to collect minerals, begun years before, and had our first big trip traveling up the east coast, with highlights of collecting at Palermo, New Hampshire, and Franklin, New Jersey. This along with our collecting at Indian Mountain, Alabama, formed the basis of our mutual love of phosphates. After graduation he first worked at the Medical College of Georgia operating an SEM. From Georgia, he returned to Auburn to work on a master's degree in clay mineralogy. He then went to Virginia Tech where he earned his PhD in clay mineralogy and physics.

After a time with the Alabama Geological Survey in Tuscaloosa, Bumpi became the director of research for the Phosphate Institute of Florida. At about this time, he joined the Coon Creek Association of Arkansas, which was a huge influence on his interest in alkali minerals. He became the guru for Granite Mountain, Arkansas, syenite minerals.

After a few employment stops in Arkansas, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, Bumpi and his family moved back to Alabama in 2003 to be closer to his mother. When he took the position of professor at Troy University, it put the two of us in close proximity for collecting again. Treks to Arkansas continued twice a year, with the Jones Mill quarry becoming a favorite collecting spot. A new mineral was found at the 3M quarry at Granite Mountain and is in the process of being described. It will be named barwoodite. Although Bumpi's health was a problem, he was always ready to go to Arkansas. He hated to miss a trip thinking it might be his last. We went to Arkansas 16 April 2016, and his last collecting trip was 16 June with his son to the Silver Coin mine in Nevada.

Digital photography became important to him. Over the years whenever pieces of equipment were discarded, he would take parts he could use. He was thus able to construct his own camera setups, and setting on his desk at home were four different setups used for specific purposes. I believe he was the first to start using 405-wavelength blue-ray laser pointers to identify ultraviolet-sensitive minerals. Bumpi became a true artist with his photography and had several Photographs of the Day on

While at Troy, using the equipment he had acquired over the years, he examined thin sections with his petrographic microscope. He worked on his coal ball research and continued looking for plant fossils. He built his own cathodoluminescence and spectrometry equipment. He was always thinking, planning, designing, and building equipment. He also wrote articles that appeared in many publications including Rocks & Minerals, Mineralogical Record, and the American Mineralogist.

Bumpi was active in micromounting, especially in the southeastern states. He spoke at many micromineral meetings throughout North America and was the mainstay of the Winter Gathering in Florida; he also established a new meeting in the summer at his lab in Troy. He will be inducted into the Micromounters' Hall of Fame this coming fall.

Most important in his life was his family. Bumpi married Jane Cox in 1975, and together they had two children, Adam (Amy) and Shelby. Jane sometimes would shake her head when minerals were mentioned, but she supported him in his pursuits and only rarely questioned what he was doing. When he bought a piece of equipment off the Internet, he always said, “Don't tell Jane,” and then smiled. He loved his children dearly and was so proud of Amy's PhD and bragged about Shelby's language skills. Adam is almost his “clone”: tall, strong, and intelligent, he loves to get out in the field to collect. They truly enjoyed each other. Family trips all over the world were highlights of the year.

Bumpi loved communicating with people and had many Internet friends worldwide. He was a gentle person who cared about the environment and what was happening to it.

I knew Bumpi for fifty-eight years. We collected together in some sixteen states with nine trips to Tucson thrown in. What he did for the mineral community is extraordinary. There will never be another like him. He is and will be missed by many. We have lost a big man in more ways than one.

Robert W. Stevens, a longtime mineral collector specializing in microminerals, is a retired soil scientist


Bryant Harris, notable mineral collector, field collector, old-school gentleman, and friend, passed away at the age of eighty-nine after a brief illness. He had one of the finest San Diego County collections in the United States, plus an impressive collection of minerals from Montana and very fine assemblages of minerals from Arizona, Colorado, and other U.S. localities.


Born in southern California, Bryant became interested in minerals when his first father-in-law started him in the lapidary hobby in the 1950s. At the time, Bryant owned a custom machine and welding shop in Fallbrook. At the recommendation of Josie Scripps, he began a mineral study class with John Sinkankas at the San Diego Natural History Museum and thus learned the science from one of the best. Bryant was also a friend of Carl Larson and so began a long association with Bill Larson (Carl's son), Ed Swoboda, Buzz Gray, and others in the hobby and mineral business in San Diego County. He regularly served as a procurer of fine mineral specimens for Josie Scripps and exhibited competitively at various mineral shows in the area.


Bryant's custom machine shop designed and fabricated machinery for agriculture and other businesses. In addition, he began to design and fabricate metal products for mineral mining. He had become an excellent pegmatite collector and spent much time field collecting throughout California.


When Pala Minerals hit the famed “Blue Cap” tourmaline pocket at the Tourmaline Queen mine, Bryant became one of the expert preparators who reconstructed many of the finest specimens (pegmatite pockets typically implode, and specimens come apart). Reconstructing three-dimensional specimens takes a special talent and a steady hand. He worked on the famous Candelabra tourmaline consisting of three large blue-capped rubellites on a bed of bladed coxcombs of clevelandite. The specimen now resides at the Smithsonian Institution.


Bryant managed the Himalaya mine for specimen recovery for Pala Minerals. He also operated the California Quartz mine with Ed Swoboda for recovery of gold specimens. In both instances, Byrant not only designed and fabricated custom machinery for the operations, but he was also the “hands-on” collector when a specimen pocket was uncovered.


Bryant married his second wife, Joan Willis, on 26 August 1971. At the time, he had four adult sons, and Joan had four grown daughters and a teen-aged boy who lived with Bryant and Joan while he finished his education.


After a few years, Bryant and Joan left Fallbrook and moved to Missoula, Montana. Bryant began the second phase of his mineral passion: building a world-class assemblage of Montana minerals, particularly those from the mines in Butte and the surrounding area. He was a friend of Pete Knudsen, and together they operated the PC mine for the recovery of very fine Japan-law twinned quartz crystal clusters. Bryant collected successfully throughout Montana and also on many visits to Colorado, Arizona, and elsewhere.


Bryant and Joan traveled extensively, always with mineral-related objectives, often staying for a month or more with friends in the mineral hobby. Through the years, they visited Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and Africa. He put together a fine collection of Australian minerals as well as specimens from Tsumeb. However, his primary focus was always on the minerals of the United States, and he began divesting suites that did not fit that focus. Consequently, he assembled an impressive suite of minerals from premier U.S. mines.


While living in Missoula, Bryant developed deep-brain palsy, an extremely debilitating illness that left him largely helpless. Upon hearing of a highly experimental brain implant program promising to control tremors on one side of his body, Bryant became one of the first to participate in the risky treatment. Although it worked well for his right side, the tremors remained in his left side. This effectively ended his field collecting—but not his passion for mineral specimens.


Concerned with the amount of time Bryant was spending on the highway between Missoula and Butte, Joan reluctantly relocated to a home in Butte with a stellar view of the Continental Divide. But she never enjoyed life in a mining town the way she had enjoyed Missoula. As they became older, the Harrises decided to acquire a winter home in Tucson, where they had many friends from years of attending the mineral activities in February revolving around the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show®. In particular they were close friends with Rukin and Carrie Jelks (Rukin grew up in Montana, and Carrie was a sorority sister of Joan's), Bill and Irene Williams (both from Butte), Gene Wright, Richard Graeme, Gene Schlepp, Mike and Mary Jaworski, and others, all mineral collectors of the highest order.


When Bryant and Joan were in their eighties, they bought a larger home in Tucson, on three acres, allowing Bryant to raise his beloved citrus trees (a throwback to his southern California childhood). They moved the extensive mineral collection from Montana to Tucson, as well as all the mining artifacts, artwork, and other memorabilia from their world travels. For several years, they continued to spend summers in Butte, but health issues brought that to an end.


Joan passed away, at the age of ninety, in September 2012 after a brief illness. Bryant continued on in their Tucson home, but failing eyesight greatly reduced his activities. He voluntarily gave up driving a year after Joan died but maintained a passion for minerals, kept in touch with people worldwide by telephone, and enjoyed visits from people who came to town for the mineral shows.


Bryant was a true gentleman—honorable, generous, and caring. He was a proud, private individual and never complained about his lot in life as his world continued to shrink. He possessed an astounding memory for details, for past exploits, and for telling good stories. He was an active and valued member of Mineral Enthusiasts of the Tucson Area (META), and he displayed many of his minerals at the American Mineral Treasures show of the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society, as well as in annual META cases. Numerous of his specimens graced the covers of various mineral publications.


They don't make them like Bryant anymore—he will be greatly missed.




I appreciate input from Mike Jaworski and Bill Williams for this tribute.


Barbara L. Muntyan is a longtime mineral collector specializing in the minerals of Arizona

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