This page includes The "Who's Who in the WFSC" columns from the 1994 issues of Across the Fence Post.
Member: Marilyn Dee
By Robert J. Mather, Waukesha County Philatelic Society
Marilyn Dee, president of the Lake County Philatelic Society, agreed to be interviewed for this month's column. The LCPS has just rejoined the Wisconsin Federation of Stamp Clubs and, in no small way, this was the result of Marilyn's efforts as she lobbied the membership and persuaded them to rejoin. She has been a member of the LCPS since 1977 and has been president for most of the time since 1981.
Marilyn was the widow of a very serious stamp collector. Although she started collecting in her youth in the early 1940s, her husband affected her collecting interests. As she didn't want to compete with him, she started collecting postal stationery.
She originally began collecting as a result of corresponding with some girls in England, which gave her access to stamps. She really got serious about collecting in 1976. That may have had something to do with the fact that she completed her . master's degree at this time and, thus, had more available time to devote to the hobby. She has since inherited very nice South Africa and Canada collections from her first husband.
Marilyn has been married to her current husband, Dr. Walter, for five and a half years. Although he was not a collector, she has gotten him started collecting Poland. Marilyn has three
children by her first marriage - James, David, and Susan. She has eight grandchildren, plus another two through her second marriage. James has some interest in the hobby and has inherited his father's collections of Japan and Scandinavia.
Marilyn's ancestors arrived in this country from the Netherlands and Czechoslovakia in the 1880's. She lives in the city of Waukegan, Il. She taught at Waukegan public schools for 22 years, but took an early retirement to be with her father when he moved in with her late in his life. She felt that she could have a better rapport with him than with the children, and he certainly behaved better than they did.
In addition to the Lake County Philatelic Society, Marilyn is a member of the North Suburban Stamp Club, the Chicago Philatelic Society, the APS, the Philatelic Foundation, and the Society of Philapicians (a writer's group). She is a life member of the Friends of the Western Philatelic Library and the Royal Canadian Philatelic Society. She is secretary-treasurer of the United Postal Stationery Society. She is also secretary-treasurer of the Illinois Postal History Society.
Marilyn's major collecting interests arc Hcndcrson County, IL, postal stationery; United States issues; Canadian stamps and postal cards; and South African material. Marilyn has not exhibited other than on a local club level and has not had any special philatelic honors bestowed upon her.
While teaching, Marilyn headed up three Ben Franklin clubs at school. With the demise of U.S. Postal Service support for this program, she states that it is doubly important for adults in the home to be supportive of and encouraging to their children with regard to stamp collecting. Parental interest at home is badly needed.
Outside of stamp collecting, Marilyn enjoys music, which was her major in college.
It was indeed a pleasure to talk with Marilyn, and it is pretty obvious that she is a master link in more than one philatelic chain in her area. The entire hobby is indebted to her for her dedication to the hobby, and we wish her many more years of active participation. Thanks, Marilyn. •
Member: Ray Atchison
I had the pleasure of chatting with Ray Atchison, who is currently serving his second term as president of the Fond du Lac Stamp Club. Throughout the years, Ray has served in every office of the club. He is additionally a member of the Ripon Philatelic Society.
Ray lives just outside of Fond du Lac on Lake DeNeveu with Geraldine, his wife of 39 years. This couple has raised six children; five of them are married, and the sixth is engaged. None of the children are stamp collectors, but Ray hopes some of his grandchildren will develop an interest in the hobby.
Ray is 65 years of age, but is not yet retired. He works for Wallschlaeger Associates, a CPA firm. He sold his business to them about eight years ago and now works under contract for the firm. His wife doesn't work, but does a lot of baby-sitting for the grandchildren. Ray's' ancestors on his father's side emigrated from Scotland to Tobacco Island, MD, in 1792. His mother's ancestors emigrated from Germany in the 1870s. In addition to stamp collecting, Ray enjoys woodworking, although he hasn't done much woodworking in recent years. He's a fan of the Packers and the Brewers.
Fifty-five years ago, Ray visited a cousin in Illinois, who was working on his merit badge in stamp collecting. Ray was so impressed with his cousin's collection that when he got home he asked his father to buy him some stamps. Because his father was employed as a railway postal clerk on the Soo Line, Ray got a lot of help with his collection.
Ray collects the entire spectrum of United States issues. If the U.S. Postal Service issues it, Ray collects it. Additionally, he has a rather large foreign collection. He is strong on British Colonies. Ray served with the 45th Division in Korea so he was able to get a good start on a Korean collection. While in Korea, he went to Japan and as a result has accumulated a nice Japanese collection, as well. He also has a Lions International topical collection, and Ray says there are a lot stamps on this subject.
Ray was elected to the WFSC Hall of Fame in 1993. Our congratulations go out to Ray for this honor. He says that his proudest accomplishment in the world of philately was helping to get the Wild Turkey stamp issued for the 25th anniversary of the WFSC in 1956. Fond du Lac hosted the WFSC convention and exhibition that year.
Ray has exhibited his Japanese National Parks souvenir sheets. He has also exhibited his Austrian semi-postals, and at WISCOPEX '87, this exhibit took the Reserve Grand award.
Geraldine crochets stamps on afghans. She has done the Zeppelins among others. She did the Homemakers stamp design and donated it to the WFSC at WISCOPEX '92. Ray's words of wisdom are for youths: "Collect worldwide when starting out. You can always specialize later on." Ray has recently had a couple of stays in the hospital. In fact, he spent the holidays there. We hope that he is now on the mend and back into the swing of stamp collecting. Good luck, Ray. •
Member: Robert J. Mather
By MaryAnn Bowman, Waukesha County Philatelic Society
This month we turn the tables by featuring Robert Mather, who usually writes this column. Bob, as he likes to be called, is very active in the stamp-collecting hobby and has worn many hats during his years of service to philately. Let me introduce you to this member of the WFSC Hall of Fame Class of 1993.
Bob was born in the midst of the depression on a farm in Merrimac, WI. His parents, just getting started, were poor, and unable to afford hospitals, so Bob was delivered at home by a local midwife. Bob is the oldest of nine children.
Bob's ancestors on his mother's side emigrated from Germany in the 1850s. His father's ancestors came to this country very early in its history from England. There is a shirttail relationship to Increase and Cotton Mather.
Bob married his wife, Lorelei, in 1957. Since 1967, they have lived in a home they built in Genesee. They have raised three children: Blane, Kyle, and Tania. In typical grandfather-style, Bob likes to spoil his only grandson, Brandon.
Bob works for Zero Zone Refrigerator Manufacturing Co., Inc., as plant manager. He enjoys his challenging job and is a very dedicated worker.
Bob got started in stamp collecting at the age of six, when his mother bought him and his brother a package of stamps. Bob remembers cutting stamp hinges from newspapers and making a flour-and-water paste to hinge the stamps on album pages made of whatever paper he could find.
Being poor, Bob had little opportunity to purchase stamps. Over the years, however, people were very generous and gave him lots of stamps. Later in life, he was able to buy some United States issues. In 1976, Bob decided to specialize in collecting United Nations material. Today, he has a complete collection of United Nations stamps and has accumulated a good deal of collateral material, as well. He has since sold most of his United States collection as it no longer interests him.
Bob has additionally started a topical collection of donkey stamps. His specialty interest led him to correspond with another donkey collector from the Netherlands. A very special friendship developed through this correspondence, which culminated when the Dutch collector brought his exhibit to TOPEX '93.
Bob is a member of several philatelic organizations. He has served the Waukesha County Philatelic Society as secretary, vice president, and president.
He is instrumental in planning programs for the club, as well as acting as the newsletter editor. On the local level, he is also a member of the Milwaukee Philatelic Society and North Shore Philatelic Society of Milwaukee. He is a member of the American Topical Association, the American Philatelic Society, and the United Nations Philatelists.
Bob has served on the Milwaukee Area Distinguished Philatelist Committee, the WFSC Stamp Suggestion Committee and as show chairman for the successful WISCOPEX '88 and TOPEX '93. In addition, Bob has found time to write this monthly column and has contributed periodic
articles for various philatelic publications. He has exhibited his United Nations collection and plans to exhibit his donkeys in the future. He has put on stamp programs for local and state clubs, as well as programs for KIDPEX and the Wisconsin Chapter of the Junior Philatelists of America.
Another of Bob's hobbies is gardening. He has raised nearly every kind of vegetable known. His garden also includes fruits and flowers. On occasion, he gets involved in politics.
His wife, Lorelei, is as deeply involved in her hobbies as Bob is in his. She enjoys science fiction and collects any and everything related to the "Star Trek" series. Although they typically don't get excited about each other's hobbies, they do tolerate the time and money each spends pursuing these interests. Recently, they have found a common ground in ballroom dancing - something they can do together.
It has been my pleasure to work with Bob for many years. He is a quiet and steadfast worker. Bob has gone the extra mile on many occasions. His dedication to the hobby is apparent. The hobby owes a lot to Bob, and we hope he will continue to enjoy philately for many years to come.
Member: Paul Thoman
The Oshkosh Philatelic Society is indeed fortunate to be able to claim member and current president, Paul Thoman, as one of their own. He is a leader and a doer, who has contributed greatly to the hobby.
Paul is also a member of the Jack Knight Air Mail Society, and for many years, he served as the president and driving force behind the First Day Cover Collectors of Wisconsin. The latter group disbanded in September 1993, when no one else would step forward to take over the leadership.
Paul is 61 years of age, and he and his wife, Lois, have been married for 34 years. They live in Neenah, WI, and have two children, Jane and Todd. Neither of the children is interested in collecting stamps. Paul doesn't know much about his ancestry because his father was adopted as a boy.
Because of Parkinson's disease, Paul retired from teaching in 1990, after 34 years in the profession. While teaching, he also coached soccer, track and basketball and led a school stamp club. He was an assistant principle at Conant Junior High School (no longer in existence), and he would go home at night and unwind with his stamps. They allowed him to forget the worries and pressures of his job. In 1985, Paul received the honor of Middle School Teacher of the Year.
Paul started collecting stamps as a boy, being encouraged by his father. As a youth, he often purchased Jamestown Stamp Company packets. He also got stamps from his father, who while in the Navy, picked up stamps from around the world and sent them home to Paul. He exhibited one time at a local show. Paul states that at that time he didn't have the material or the knowledge involved with that aspect of the hobby. He now, however, feels that he has acquired some of both and has given some thought to exhibiting again.
Paul specializes in Amelia Earhart first-day covers and has a rather large collection of these covers. In fact, he has more than are listed in Mellone's Cachet Catalog of First Day Covers of the 1960's. He sent a list of the additional covers to Mellone, which will be incorporated into the next edition.
Paul has done extensive study on Amelia Earhart and has written several articles about her. He researched her life in Utah and Kansas, where she was born and discovered that her birthday, listed as 1898, is actually 1897. She changed the date so she wouldn't appear to be so old. Paul feels that Earhart crashed at sea and that her plane is in the Pacific Ocean. He states that she was not a particularly good pilot, having been involved in several crashes.
Some time ago, Paul put together an Amelia Earhart slide show, which depicts many of his covers and has been presented at local clubs. He is currently updating and revising the slide show and expects it to be completed by mid-1994.
Paul is a Big Brother to a local fatherless boy. He also tutors two afternoons a week at Neenah Junior High School. During his teaching years, he would give a packet of 10 stamps to any student who got 100 on a math test. He also made up stamp games to aid in his teaching. He is still making up games and periodically has a "Fun With Paul's Stamp Games" session. Years ago, he met a man who made up and gave away first-day covers. He thought that this was a nice idea, so Paul now does the same. He usually makes from 50 to 100 covers for any stamp issued in Wisconsin.
As we can see, Paul is certainly active in the hobby and those that he comes in contact with benefit from his efforts. We hope he has many more years of commitment to the hobby and we wish him all the best. •
Member: Raymond J. Wood
By Robert J. Mather, Waukesha County Philatelic Society
Ray Wood agreed to be interviewed for this month's column. Ray is a member of the Belle City Stamp Club (Racine), having joined the group in 1950. Throughout the years, he has served in every office and currently holds the position of club secretary.
1994 will mark the 46th wedding anniversary for Ray and his wife, Lois. This marriage has been blessed with three daughters: Kathryn, Barbara, and Ann. None of the girls are stamp collectors. He has four grandchildren, and two of them have begun to show some interest in stamp collecting. He has one brother living in California.
Ray and Lois live in the city of Racine. Ray, who will be 68 years of age this year, was born and raised in Racine and has spent all of his life there. His ancestors on his mother's side immigrated to the United States and settled in Racine in the 1850s., He is not sure when his father's ancestors immigrated to this country, but they settled in Beaver, WI. After 29 years of service, Ray retired from General Motors Delco Systems Operations in Milwaukee in 1989. His job entailed responsibility for maintenance of engineering data in the company computer.
Ray began collecting stamps as a nine-year-old youth, having been influenced by a cousin, who was a stamp collector. At that time, there were a lot of free stamp giveaways, such as those provided by the "Jack Armstrong Show" and by the Ivory Stamp Club, sponsored by Ivory soap. These free offers made it easier for a boy to get started in the hobby.
Ray has always collected United States stamps, and his interests have not changed very much over the years. He has built numerous collections and disposed of parts of them throughout
the years. As a result, he has a very nice primary collection, and he is justifiably proud of it today. He also has held onto a black album of stamps he bought in 1936, about a year after he started collecting.
Ray used to be involved with the hobby of photography, doing his own film developing and printing. Although he's doesn't do much with photography anymore, he does have plans to produce a slide show featuring his collection so he'll have a program to present at stamp club meetings in his area. He enjoys watching all forms of sports on television, and he is an active
golfer. He had just returned from spending six weeks in Florida about four hours prior to this interview. Ray's stay in Florida included golf outings and this writer, for one, is somewhat envious.
Ray is a member of the Wisconsin Postal History Society, of which he was president for two years. He additionally holds membership in the American Philatelic Society and the United States Postal Stationery Society. A number of years ago, he served as vice president of the Wisconsin Federation of Stamp Clubs. That was at a time when the WFSC had only-one vice president. Today he serves as the South-eastern Regional VP for the Federation.
According to Ray, stamp collecting has been a tremendous asset in his retirement. He feels it is best to stay with the traditional areas of the hobby and collecting methods, rather than to follow trends that tend to come and go with the times. Such trends often promise monetary gain that is seldom realized. His words of wisdom to other collectors are "You can't look at it as a monetary investment."
Our best wishes go out to Ray, and we hope that he has many more years of collecting enjoyment.
July/August issue No column this issue
September issue No column this issue
Member: Ken Grant
Our featured guest this month, Ken Grant, of Baraboo, WI, has been a stamp collector since 1975. Because he knew of no one else in the Baraboo area that collected stamps, he became instrumental in reactivating the Baraboo Area Stamp Club, a group that had disbanded many years ago. He served as the club president for a time.
Ken and his wife, Mary, have been married for 23 years, and they have two children: 17-year-old twins named Katie and Mike. Neither of the children is interested in stamp collecting. Ken's ancestors on his mother's side emigrated from Sicily circa 1900; his father's ancestors were French-Canadians, who immigrated in the 1600s. He is 46 years of age and is employed by the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo as an associate professor of English. His wife is also employed by the University of Wisconsin Centers as director of continuing education for the UW two-year centers.
In 1975, Ken found some old stamps in his parents' attic. He took them back to Marquette University, where he was attending school at the time, and showed them to a collector friend. Although the stamps were mostly from the 1930s, the friend oohed and aahed over them, and this convinced Ken to start collecting. He purchased a stamp album, mounted the stamps and then decided to find the stamps needed to fill the remaining empty spaces. Ken has collected stamps ever since. He is a general worldwide collector, but has a special interest in British Europe, Canada, Antarctic, Baraboo local postal history, and, of course, United States issues. He has entered exhibits at shows held in Wausau and Rockford. He also exhibited his Baraboo postal history material at AmeriStamp Expo '93 and at WISCOPEX '94.
Other hobbies that hold his interest include gardening, reading, and running. He has competed in 10K races. His favorite sport is collage basketball, and he was especially excited about this year's success of his alma mater, Marquette University, at the NCAA championships. He also enjoys philatelic writing and has written articles for Linn's Stamp News, Ice Cap News (journal of the American Society of Polar Philatelists), ATFP, and other publications.
Ken says that although most people find it hard to believe that a college English professor can get stressed out, it really does happen. He finds that stamp collecting reduces stress, and after a tough day in the classroom, he enjoys relaxing in the evening with his stamps.
Through the UW, Ken has access to Internet, a global computer network, which includes Usenet, an electronic public forum. He sub-scribes to Usenet's recreational collecting newsgroup and, as a result, Ken receives about 20 computer messages a day from around the world.
Ken's words of wisdom to other stamp collectors are "collect what-ever makes you happy." He advises not to worry about any set guidelines and requirements and just do your thing.
We're encouraged that "young" folks like Ken are so actively involved in the hobby; it bodes well for the future of philately. We wish Ken all the best and hope he has many years of collecting enjoyment. •
November issue No column this issue
Member: Valerie Cook
By Robert J. Mather. Waukesha County Philatelic Society
This month we feature Valerie Cook, the secretary-treasurer of the Janesville Stamp Club for the past two years. Valerie started collecting stamps as a young girl of seven, but has been a club member for only the last three or four years. She has gotten quite involved with the club and is one of the key organizers of the annual Janesville Stamp Club show, which is held the third Saturday in February. She solicits dealers for the club show and writes a lot of letters on behalf of the club. Valerie also has served as delegate for her club at the WFSC Annual Business Meeting.
Like many of us, Valerie's child-hood interest in stamps waned as she grew older, and her album was set aside and forgotten for a time. About 10 years after she was married, she "rediscovered" the old album, and it immediately sparked a new interest in the hobby. The album was the size of a magazine and had a grand total of 332 stamps in it. She still has that album today, but her collection has grown to several very large albums and many thousands of stamps.
Valerie started out as a worldwide collector and although she still collects foreign stamps, her main interest is in filling out her United States collection. It is becoming difficult, however, as the stamps that she does not have are quite expensive. She collects one mint, one used, one plate black, and one first-day cover of each issue. She sometimes makes her own cachets for the first-day covers, and she sometimes buys Artcraft cachets. Over the years, Valerie has subscribed to the likes of the Jamestown Stamp Co., sometimes subscribing to 15 or 20 at a time, until just the postage became a problem. She buys mission mixes as a source for her collection and will occasionally buy a collection if the price is right. She does have a special feeling for Vatican stamps among her worldwide interests.
Valerie sometimes thinks about topical collecting, but has not yet found that one subject that jumps out at you and says, "Yes, this is it!"
As for personal data, Valerie has been married to Arthur for 34 years. They have four grown children --David, Daniel, Stephen, and Brenda. Valerie got them all started in stamp collecting as children, but only Brenda has an interest in the hobby today. Valerie lives in the city of Janesville and has worked for 14 years at North-west Fabrics and Crafts in Janesville. She is currently a supervisor for that firm. Her ancestors and her father's side immigrated from Germany six or seven generations ago. Her mother's ancestors were French and German.
Hobbies other than stamp collecting include quilting, crafts, knitting, crocheting, cross-stitching, and sewing. She sews some of her own clothes, as well as some for her four grandchildren. She has a passive solar greenhouse in her home and tried to raise tomatoes year round. By cross-pollinating them with a brush, she was able to raise seven-foot tall plants, but has had no luck in getting fruit. Valerie is also active in St. Mary's Catholic church in Janesville.
Valerie tells an interesting story about one time when she was going through a dealer's 50 ¢ and $1 cover stock. She came across what she thought was a facsimile of U.S. Scott #1 on cover. When she pulled it out to buy it (thinking that was the closest she would ever get to owning a number one on cover), the dealer took it and would not sell it to her. He said, "Do you know what you've got there? That's a number one." She was close, but no cigar.
Her words of wisdom to other collectors are that you can learn so much through stamp collecting about the rest of the world: geography, customs, history, people, plants, and animals. Stamp collecting is also very relaxing and rewarding.
As one of the key members of the Janesville Stamp Club, Valerie has touched a lot of people in the hobby. We are delighted with the contribution that she has made and hope she continues to remain active in the hobby for many years to come. Our thanks and best wishes for the future go out to her. •
Latest update: June 14, 2005