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May-June 2018

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In Memoriam: Pete J. Dunn (1942–2017), Jean Frances DeMouthe (1949–2017), Adalberto Giazotto (1940–2017), Arthur Earl Soregaroli (1933–2017)

Pete J. Dunn (1942–2017)

Pete J. Dunn passed away on 8 November 2017, two days short of his seventy-fifth birthday. Pete was a museum specialist and mineralogist in the Smithsonian Institution's Department of Mineral Sciences from 1972 until he retired in January 2008. Prior to his arrival at the Museum of Natural History, he was a curator in the Department of Geology at Boston University from 1969 to 1972, and he served in the U.S. Air Force.

Pete was born to William K. and Ethyl L. Dunn and spent his childhood in Somerville and Reading, Massachusetts. He obtained his bachelor's degree in geography and earth science from Salem State College (1969), his master's degree in mineralogy from Boston University (1973), and his PhD in mineralogy/geology from the University of Delaware (1983). During his time at the Smithsonian, Pete was internationally recognized for his research on the mineral collection that resulted in descriptions of 134 new minerals. During his career, Pete published more than three hundred scientific papers and numerous book reviews; he also wrote about a dozen guest editorials in the Mineralogical Record on the contributions of the mineral-collector community and its interactions with science. A major focus of his work was mineral systematics, including the discreditation of incorrectly described species, redefinition and revalidation of poorly described species, definition of solid-solution within mineral groups, and nomenclature matters.

He had a particular passion for the complicated and fascinating geology and mineralogy of the Franklin–Sterling Hill mining district in New Jersey, publishing more than seventy scientific papers and a seven-volume monograph, Franklin and Sterling Hill, New Jersey: The World's Most Magnificent Mineral Deposits (including a five-book mineralogical monograph and two volumes on mining history from 1765 to 1900), and two books for the general public, one for children, Magnificent Rocks—The Story of Mining, Men, and Minerals at Franklin and Sterling Hill, New Jersey, and one for adults, The Story of Franklin and Sterling Hill, that comprise a definitive scientific work for that locality for researchers, collectors, and the public. The mineral pete-dunnite, a zinc clinopyroxene, appropriately discovered at Franklin, New Jersey, was named for Pete in 1987 in recognition of his major contributions to understanding the mineralogy of the Franklin, New Jersey, mining district.

In addition to his prolific research activities, Pete was the U.S. voting member on the International Mineralogical Association Commission on New Minerals and Mineral Names for more than two decades. He published a “Formal Definition of Type Mineral Specimens” with Dr. Joseph Mandarino and established formal standards for “The Discreditation of Mineral Species.” He also served as associate editor for American Mineralogist, Mineralogical Record, and Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie; he was a fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America and of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (research diploma) and a life member of the Mineralogical Association of Canada. Among his mineral-related duties within the Department of Mineral Sciences, Pete was for many years the primary contact for scientists requesting research samples from the mineral collection.

Pete retired from the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum in January 2008 and immediately returned to the museum as an Information Desk volunteer. He said that after so many years working behind the scenes, he wanted a chance to finally meet our visitors. He loved it and rarely missed a day. Pete was a dedicated birder and spent many days—before his knees gave out—wandering Huntley Meadows Park near his home watching birds. For the past many years, he also spent part of each day handing out bottled water to needy folks along a highway near his home.

My last conversation with Pete was at the Information Desk on the Friday before he passed away. He asked if I remembered that it was ten years ago almost to the day that he had announced to me his plan to retire. I was not surprised, as Pete was meticulous about remembering, and sharing, the number of years that had passed since any number of events, commonly leaving notes announcing that “it has been four years and three days since …” One of his longtime museum colleagues described Pete as “a slightly quirky, funny, and dedicated man—with a lovely outlook and enthusiasm for life”; I think Pete would have concurred.

Pete served as scientist and volunteer in the Museum of Natural History for forty-five years. He was fascinated by minerals and thoroughly enjoyed helping lost museum visitors, but perhaps more than anything, he loved a good joke—always carrying in his shirt pocket index cards with punchlines to his favorites. His joyful, and very loud, laughter is now just a memory, but his many contributions to mineralogy and the museum are forever part of a rich legacy.


Dr. Jeffrey E. Post is a research mineralogist and the curator-in-charge of the National Gem and Mineral Collection of the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History.


Jean Frances DeMouthe (1949–2017)



The mineral community lost a dear friend and colleague, Jean DeMouthe, on 20 October 2017. Jean was senior collections manager of geology at the California Academy of Sciences (Cal Academy), where she took care of the collections in paleontology, micropaleontology, meteorites, and, especially, mineralogy. Jean played several roles in the mineral community, and many people will remember her for her multiple roles at mineral shows such as Tucson and Denver, contributing exhibits for the California Academy, managing the case for the Society of Mineral Museum Professionals (SMMP), lecturing on mineral care and conservation, and helping with the auctions supporting Rocks & Minerals.


Jean, born on 8 December 1949, earned a bachelor's degree in geology and a teacher's certificate at Humboldt State University in California. Soon afterward she joined the Cal Academy, first as a curatorial assistant and then as collections manager, working there for forty-four years. She earned an EdD from the University of California, Berkeley, and taught part-time in the Museum Studies Program at San Francisco State University. Jean was also a licensed geologist in California, acting as county geologist in San Mateo for more than thirty years until her retirement from that position in mid-2017.


Those of us who work in museums will remember her irreverent good humor, often offered at the expense of “the powers that be,” and also for being a good friend and ally. In addition to a dedication to field collecting, she befriended ugly little minerals from obscure locations. This was an asset to the Cal Academy, because to a professional mineralogist and the museum's collection manager, “ugly” is not a meaningful description. All minerals tell stories and can contain important information about their origins. Jean was just doing what she was supposed to—and had no problem with letting you know it!


As senior collections manager for geology, her responsibilities also included the care and use of the paleontology collection. One of her paleontology colleagues at the Cal Academy notes that Jean ensured that the collection was safely stored, disseminated this research resource on the web, and projected the value of the fossils to researchers and the public.


Jean was an active member of the Mineral Museums Advisory Council (MMAC) as early as 1985, one of only four women then listed on the MMAC membership roster. In 1994, MMAC became the Society of Mineral Museum Professionals (SMMP), and Jean was SMMP president in 1997–1999 and secretary in 2003–2017. Jean's contributions to public education garnered her several awards such as Best Educational Case by an Institution, given by the Friends of Mineralogy, at the Tucson Show in 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2012 and the 2013 Denver Show. She was the driver for the SMMP case at these shows on behalf of the museum community. Jean was present at the founding of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections in 1985.


Not only was Jean a person who supported her own museum and the mineral-museum organization, she is also remembered by the next generation of curators as promoting an inclusive environment for new mineral professionals. As one curator notes, “she watched out for other people.” Because of her generous nature and her scholarly and practical expertise in collections care, she also mentored many new curators and collection managers for more than thirty-five years. This legacy will live on through her two published books: Natural Materials: Sources, Properties, and Uses (Architectural Press, Burlington, Massachusetts; 2006) and Care and Documentation of Mineral Collections (Mineralogical Society of America, Chantilly, Virginia; 2017). In honor of her commitment to collection standards and service to SMMP, the 2018 SMMP case at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show® was dedicated in her honor and memory.


Jean was also important to the mineral collectors of the San Francisco Bay area. As a member of the Crystal Gazers commented, Jean tried to rectify the lack of a significant mineral exhibit in the area by welcoming the Crystal Gazers to the museum each January with a thoughtful and thought-provoking program and time with the members in the mineral collections. Members of the Crystal Gazers commented that Jean was known as gracious and generous with her knowledge and help to the local mineral community.


She always made sure that the Cal Academy supported the community by providing exhibits to the annual local mineral show and commonly went beyond the duties of collection manager to help local collectors. (She was also well known for pruning mineral collector Jack Halpern's roses each fall!) The Cal Academy has a new mineral exhibit, opened in 2016, and it is through Jean's collaborations with the exhibit department that this exhibit is both beautiful and educational.


Jean and a few others traditionally had dinner together after the take-down of exhibits at the Tucson Show. She enjoyed a good stiff drink and a thick steak, and she usually “sponsored” a bottle of good red wine to share. During this feast, we could share yarns about our institutions, colleagues, dealers, politics, and chickens, having an overall good time. We will dearly miss these chances to share time, food, and talk, just as all who knew her to any degree will as well.





George Harlow


Dr. George Harlow is the curator of minerals in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences at the American Museum of Natural History.

Dr. Susan Eriksson is retired as curator of the Museum of Geological Sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg.


Adalberto Giazotto (1940–2017)



Advanced science and high-level mineral collecting alike lost a top personality when Adalberto Giazotto recently passed away.


Adalberto was born in Genoa, Italy, to Remo Giazotto, musicologist, composer, author, and refined bibliophile, and Margherita Rebora. After spending a few years in the alpine town of Cogne in the Aosta Valley during World War II, he graduated from the Scientific Lyceum of Milan and then enrolled in the University of Rome where he obtained his degree of Doctor of Physics in 1964.


His professional activity started at the Frascati Laboratory near Rome and continued at the Daresbury, England, synchrotron. Back in Italy, Adalberto started working at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. In the early 1980s he developed an interest in laser interferometry methods to reveal gravitational waves—predicted by Einstein but never before verified experimentally. To this end he promoted the VIRGO project, which included building an innovative interferometer, a huge research installation (about 3 × 3 kilometers) near Pisa, Italy.


A similar project (LIGO) had been started earlier in the United States, but it was Adalberto's intuition to build an interferometer aimed at low frequencies (50–100 hertz [Hz]) rather than higher frequencies (2,000 Hz) at the LIGO project. This approach revealed, for the first time in August 2017, gravitational waves. The Nobel Prize that was awarded recently, although it did not include explicitly Adalberto, was a testimonial to this seminal advance in physics. A new light was shed on such subjects as black holes and neutron stars, and, undoubtedly, more developments will follow: a new astronomy was created. It is sad that Adalberto, in his last few months, should see only the beginning of this new chapter of science.


But, next to Adalberto the scientist, another Adalberto existed: the passionate mineral collector who was captured by the beauty of minerals from a very young age. His first major acquisitions were from a Milano-area dealer, Pio Mariani, who specialized in large, showy specimens. This approach to collecting left a permanent imprint on Adalberto, and through the years his collection developed along those lines. “The specimens I like”—Adalberto used to say—“can be enjoyed even at a 6-meter distance”: meaning large specimens and large, beautiful crystals. This presented a double challenge, as in most cases the finest crystals are small.


The Giazotto collection was first located in his Pisa downtown residence—a stately old building overlooking the Arno River. Then it was moved to Filettole, in a separate building at his countryside residence not far from Pisa. He was always happy to meet other collectors there, show his treasures, and oftentimes host them for meals and overnight stays. The collection was nicely displayed in simple cases. But Adalberto was keenly aware that in that rural location it could not be enjoyed by enough people, and for several years he tried to find a public institution in a major city that would be interested in setting up a display open to the public.


A first opportunity was promoted by one of the authors (RP) in 2001, when a selection of about 20 percent of the collection was exhibited at the Munich Show in an elegant, custom-made stand. It was very well received but, of course, only lasted for the few days of the show.


After various attempts with different parties, an agreement was made with the University of Florence, which created a beautiful exhibition site at La Specola Natural History Museum. In 2009 the collection, which had been reduced in size (to about six hundred specimens) while the quality of the specimens was increased, was moved there and was admired by thousands and thousands of visitors each year.


The original contract with the University of Florence covered the years 2009–2013 and was extended to 2015. In January 2016 the collection was brought back to Filettole, and was displayed in renovated and nicely lighted cases. Much effort was spent on the preparation of specimens: many of them were trimmed and otherwise improved under the supervision of one of the authors (FP), who was informally the Giazotto collection curator and, among other things, organized the move to and from Florence.


Adalberto was ill for about two years and died on 16 November 2017. He leaves his wife, Lidia, and four children (Francesco, Alessandro, and twin daughters, Cosima and Ilaria). To the end of his days he kept working on his beloved VIRGO project, and likewise he kept active on the improvement of his collection—he enjoyed them both.


A man of science and culture, a lover of music and other arts, a refined gentleman and sophisticated collector, he will be missed by all his colleagues in the world of modern physics and by the collectors, dealers, and mineralogists who were his friends. Rest in peace, Adalberto, you will be remembered fondly by many.

Editor's note: Drs. Renato Pagano and Federico Pezzotta, along with Dr. Giovanni Pratesi, coauthored “Cristalli: The Adalberto Giazotto Collection on Exhibition in Florence,” which appeared in the May/June 2010 issue of Rocks & Minerals (pages 230–239).



Dr. Renato Pagano is a lifelong collector of rare species and fine minerals, as well as mineralogical books and instruments.

Dr. Federico Pezzotta is the curator of minerals at the Natural History Museum of Milan.


Arthur Earl Soregaroli (1933–2017)



Dr. Arthur “Art” Soregaroli passed away peacefully on 19 October 2017. His loving and devoted wife, Rosalie, was at his side, just as she had been for more than fifty-five years. With that the world, especially the mining, geology, and mineral collecting world, became poorer.


Through Curator Joe Nagel, I met Art soon after joining the staff of the University of British Columbia (UBC). Art, then vice president of Exploration at Westmin Resources, came to pick up a Tsumeb azurite he had purchased from the museum's Collector Shop. As with Joe, we became good friends, but more importantly, again as with Joe, Art became my valued, trusted, and significant mentor. I have never known anyone with the unshakable integrity that Art showed, and I could count on his absolutely solid advice.


Art was a very private person and held his cards closer to his chest than most I have met. Thus it was that in the many hours over the years we worked on projects, ate meals, or roomed together at shows, I always felt privileged when Art shared with me his thoughts and experiences: of his childhood in Iowa (born 1933 in Madrid), his time in the military (served in the Korean War), and key moments in his career.


After finishing his undergraduate degree at Iowa State, Art earned a master's in geology in Moscow, Idaho. His doctorate work at the UBC (1962–1968) on the Boss Mountain molybdenum deposit was key in developing the property to a mine that produced for Noranda Mines until the 1980s. Art's exemplary career in international geology and mining saw him as an associate professor of economic geology at the UBC and a researcher at the Geological Survey of Canada before returning to the mining industry with Westmin Resources. After a short-lived retirement, Art was enticed by Teck Corp's president, Norman Keevil, to join as his chief geoscientist. Art also volunteered his time and energy in many professional organizations including, among others, the Society of Economic Geologists, the Association of Exploration Geochemists, the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, serving as president and in other key executive roles in most. Art was highly regarded and was honored with six major industry awards.


Since his student days, Art passionately collected and learned about minerals. He also applied the same sense of duty to the hobby that he did to the geology/mining industry and shared his knowledge and passion with others by driving many and varied projects, from small-scale (his mineral sales and building the corporate mineral collection at Teck are local legend) to those of national significance. For more than nine years, Art served as president on the board of the BC Museum of Mining at Britannia Beach, and he was one of its most active volunteers. Aside from largely setting the museum on the path to the success it is, fund-raising, and providing other administrative guidance, Art's leadership did not shy away from helping in the trenches. He personally tackled site cleanup with an unmatched dedication and fervor, and for many years he spent much of his valuable time and expertise buying, packing, and shipping inventory for the museum store at the Tucson, Denver, and other shows.


Art was one of the original five board members of the Pacific Mineral Museum Society that established and built the Pacific Mineral Museum. It was during this time that I really depended on him for his wise and insightful counsel.


While at Westmin and at Teck Corp, Art used his position and contacts to seek funding for worthy causes. Such support saw the financing of the book Minerals of Colorado, but perhaps one of his grandest achievements was as the primary fund-raiser who secured purchase of the William Pinch collection on behalf of the Canadian Museum of Nature.


In addition to his own research and writing (e.g., finding and helping describe the new mineral simmonsite), Art edited several book projects (notably the Geology of Gems and Peru: Paradise of Minerals) and magazine articles. As a member of the board of directors of the Mineralogical Record, he proofed issues for many years. (I cannot even imagine how many articles, letters, and other documents Art reviewed for me alone, and they always came back with carefully considered advice!)


All that was not enough, however; sports were always an important part of Art's life. Baseball was an early passion, and at one point a career in the professional leagues was an option, but Art chose another path. Once settled in Canada, hockey took over as his primary sport interest, and Art played well after his retirement in Vancouver's Oldtimers League.


Despite so many achievements, Art remained Art and quietly enjoyed them. One time after having lunch together, as we sat in his office at Teck, Art shuffled through some files, extracted a sheet of paper, got up to photocopy it, and handed me the copy. On it was a poem titled “The Indispensable Man,” written by Saxon White Kessinger in 1959. Just as Art kept it with him, I, too, have carried it since then, first on my Palm Pilot and now on my smartphone. I urge all to look it up online and read it.


Art was universally liked and usually wore a smile. He was also loyal to his friends, although he had a well-developed sense of humor, and his eye had the very definition of “mischievous twinkle.” One had to be wary of some possible prank, which he was always up for.


Art was also a very proud family man whose wife and children were the prime reason for excelling in his career. He told me that by doing a “good job” he felt he was able to best provide for his family; later, however, if I may betray a confidence he shared because it was such a lesson to me, he expressed his regret at that philosophy because his career took him away too much for his liking from what was most important. For this reason, he also wanted to be the best grandfather he could by actually being physically present in his grandchildren's lives. And that he was. Art is survived by his wife, Rosalie; daughter, Carla; son, Brian (and wife Michelle), and their children, Cameron and Natasha; and also by his sisters, Carolyn Leichtliter, Myrtle Johnson, and Margaret Williams.



Mark Mauthner, a consulting editor of Rocks & Minerals, is a freelance photographer.



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