This page includes The "Who's Who in the WFSC" columns from the 2002 issues of Across the Fence Post.
January issue No column this issue
Member: Earl Button
By Robert J. Mather Waukesha County Philatelic Society
Earl Button recently received the WFSC District Representative’s Award. And, after talking with Earl, it appears that the recognition was well deserved.
Earl is a member of the Rockford Stamp Club and the Janesville Stamp Club. He is a past-president of the Janesville club and one of a group of collectors in the Monroe area who recently organized a new club. It is a stamp and postcard club that meets each month at 7 p.m. at the Monroe Middle School. For further information about the club, contact Earl. His daytime phone is 608-328-8960, evenings 608-328-2827; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earl is also a member of the Trans-Mississippi Philatelic Society, Stamporama (an online club), the American Philatelic Society, and the St. Vincent De Paul Society, of which he is currently secretary. In 2000, Earl began writing a column for Global Stamp News.
Earl and his wife, Sue, have been married for 31 years and they are the proud parents of four grown children. Although the children had stamp collections as youngsters, none of them carried through with the hobby into adulthood. Sue is into stamping - with rubber stamps, that is. She makes them; she collects them and creates a variety of items with them. Some-times she incorporates some of Earl's inexpensive, duplicate postage stamps on her creations.
Earl has worked for Swiss Colony for over 10 years as a senior systems analyst. Sue is a homemaker. In addition to stamp collecting, Earl enjoys reading, collecting comedy records, travel and keeping track of a grandson, but not necessarily in that order. He has done some international travel.
He got started in collecting stamps while in the second grade. He had a non-paid job of emptying trash at an insurance company and was allowed to keep any stamps that he found. He has been collecting off and on for about 48 years. He states that he has always enjoyed foreign stamps the most because they allow him to visit places he knows he will never be able to see in person. He has recently become interested in postal history.
In addition to the WFSC District Representative's Award, Earl was honored in 2001 by the Janesville Stamp Club when he was inducted into the group's Hall of Fame. He has exhibited at the Janesville stamp show. His four-frame educational exhibit presents an introduction to philately by illustrating the different types of collections that one can pursue.
Earl likes to remember going through his grandparents' trunk and finding a box with a U.S. parcel post stamp. More recently he recalls finding a letter that was written to the son of another person named Button. It was a stampless cover.
Earl's words of wisdom for stamp collectors are: "Be ready for the next interesting stamp or cover that you find. Until then, enjoy and learn from those that you already have." He has gotten a lot of enjoyment from meeting collectors at club meetings and stamp shows.
Earl is one of those people who make the hobby so much fun and more enjoyable for the rest of us. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.
March issue No column this issue
April issue No column this issue
May/June issue No column this issue
July/August issue No column this issue
Member: Jim Stearns
_By Robert J. Mather, Waukesha County Philatelic Society
Jim Stearns lives in Iron Mountain, MI, and he says this makes him the northernmost member of the Green Bay Philatelic Society. He has been a member since the 1970s when BAYPEX, sponsored by the GBPS, was about a two-dealer show and Jim decided to take a table. He then joined the club and still participates in the show nearly every year.
Jim is a founding member of the North-woods Philatelic Society, located in Iron Mountain, MI, (not to be confused with the Northwoods Stamp and Coin Club of Rhinelander, WI). He received his 25-year membership pin from the American Philatelic Society at the APS's 2001 Stamp Camp. He tries to attend the camp every year and each time has come away enriched by the experience.
Jim has been married to Millie for 33 years and they have two grown children: Jim and Wendy, as well as one grandchild named Madison. Jim recently retired after 29 years as director of Catholic Social Services for the Marquette (MI) diocese; he ran the Iron Mountain office. He is a certified therapist for family counseling and gambling addiction.
As a boy, Jim went to public schools but attended catechism classes on Wednesday evenings. While in the fourth grade, he noticed that one of the nuns had a box on the windowsill in which she was saving stamps to be sold for support of the missions. When he learned that they were sold by the pound, he worked out an agreement whereby for every stamp that he would take from the box, he would return three, and this worked out well for all involved. (He exhibited an entrepreneurial spirit at any early age.)
Like most of us, Jim started collecting general worldwide stamps and subscribed to a number of approval services over the years. Eventually, he settled on United States, Greece, and Morocco. Jim wrote a two-part article titled "Why On Earth - Morocco?" which appeared in the February and March 1997 issues of ATFP. He got started on that country when a friend spent three years in Morocco during the Vietnam era as a Peace Corps volunteer and supplied him with all the current issues.
Jim is also a stamp and postcard dealer and has over 30,000 picture postcards. More and more, he is coming to appreciate them for their postal history significance. The 1910-20 period was the heyday for postcards and a lot of RPO, BPO, trolley, and flag cancels; and perfins, etc., lie in accumulations waiting to be found. Jim takes his postcards to stamp shows, postcard shows, and antique shows. Every October, he attends the postcard show at Gonzaga Hall in Milwaukee.
Other hobbies include bow hunting, gardening, playing with Lionel trains, and he is a Packer fan!
About six years ago, while attending the APS Stamp Camp at State College, PA, Wayne Youngblood gave a talk on technology and modern stamp rarities. Wayne described a 20-cents definitive that was used by the Canal Zone prior to the United States turning over control to Panama. Just prior to the transfer, supplies of the stamp ran short so a few sheets of the tagged variety were used. When Jim got home, he discovered that he had one of the rare Canal Zone covers with the tagged 20-cents stamp. Wayne wanted to buy the cover, but Jim decided to hold onto it. Instead, he loaned to Wayne for an article that appeared in Stamp Collector.
We wish Jim all the best, and if you see him at a postcard show, be sure to stop and say "Hi."
October issue No column this issue
November issue No column this issue
December issue No column this issue
Latest update: June 14, 2005