Norman Higson Pendleton was born in California on August 28, 1901, the son of Maud Higson and George H. Pendleton, a gold miner in Placer County. He grew up living with his parents in the household of his grandfather, William C. Pendleton, where his uncles William, Guy and Carl also lived and worked as gold miners.
After finishing school Norm went to work for the railroad (his Social Security registration is with the Railroad Board), and later, in the 1940's and 50's, he owned a motel with his wife Gertrude in Santa Cruz, where they lived in a home adjacent to it. He had a large mineral collection which he kept in his basement, and collected at many localities in California and Nevada. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History in the 1930's and 1940's, and was a mineralogical mentor to mineral dealer Forrest Cureton.
A crystallized hydrocarbon thought to be a new species from the New Idria mine in California, was named pendletonite in his honor by Murdoch and Geissman in 1967; Pendleton was the first to recognize that the crystals were not valentinite. However, two years later the new species was discredited as being equivalent to the previously recognized species karpatite, the Russian description of which had priority by only two weeks.
Forrest Cureton said of him: "Norman was held in high regard by all who knew and worked with him. He was mostly always happy and had a good sense of humor. He was great to collect with. Of course, he knew the places to go! We would collect together, and at the end of a dig he would separate the material into two piles and have me select which pile I wanted. That is about as fair as it gets."
Pendleton died on May 28, 1995 in Santa Cruz, California, at his home at 111 Pryce Street, at the age of 93.
California Death Index
Social Security Death Index
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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