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Donald W. Schmerling
(1918-2005)

Donald Wendler Schmerling was born August 22, 1918 in Sheboygan, Wisconson, the son of Hattie Wendler and Oscar Schmerling, an upholsterer. He was introduced to mineral collecting by his father-in-law, John A. Ratz, who in the late 1940's gave him a cigar box full of mineral specimens. Don soon added to this starter collection by self-collecting specimens in the copper and sulfide deposits of Upper Michigan, Wisconsin and Canada.

In 1969 Don and his wife Margaret relocated to York, Pennsylvania, where he immediately joined the York County Rock and Mineral Club and met many of the important Pennsylvania collectors of the day. They called themselves "the Mineral Mafia," and they had a goal of tracking down all of the mineral localities referred to by Sam Gordon in his Mineralogy of Pennsylvania (1922). Gordon's book and Arthur Montgomery's Mineralogy of Pennsylvania 1922-1965 were the standard references for every collector of Pennsylvania minerals. Don eventually visited a large percentage of those localities on weekends and vacations, accumulating a large mineral collection and a substantial library of references in the process. He was also instrumental in the preparation of Robert C. Smith's Mineralogy of Pennsylvania 1965-1975, and found many species that were new to the state. In the early 1980's he also began to investigate and document occurrences of gold in Pennsylvania.

Following his retirement in 1983, he collected throughout southern Canada, the American Southwest and Alaska, as well as venturing into Chile, Brazil, Iceland, Scandinavia, New Zealand, Morocco, Ausatralia (twice), China and Russia (four times!). In 1999 he decided it was time to sell his collection, and in 2001 he and Marge moved back to Wisconsin to be closer to their family. He died January 12, 2005 in Oregon, Wisconsin.

References:
CARTER, R. S. (2006) In memoriamóDonald Schmerling. www.pennminerals.com
US Federal Census 1930
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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The Mineralogical Record - Donald W. Schmerling Don Schmerling
The Mineralogical Record - Donald W. Schmerling 38 x 54 mm
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