Edward Henry Oyler was born in Fresno, California, on February 4, 1915, the son (youngest of six children) of Amanda Louise Wagner and Henry John Oyler. By 1940 Ed was running his own fur repair shop in Santa Cruz, California. He enlisted in the Marines in 1942, and following his discharge he married Elaine Gonzales in 1947; together they had two sons: Steven Randall Oyler (1951-1983) and Larry Edward Oyler (1955-1996).
Ed must certainly have been exposed to minerals at an early age, considering that his father was a prospector and gold miner who had his own gold mine. But it was a friend of Ed's (Jack Parnau, an electrician and mineral collector) who was largely responsible for leading Ed into the world of minerals and assisting him to become a dedicated collector.
Ed worked for the advertising agency of Foster and Khaiser until his retirement, following which he was more fully able to devote himself to his hobbies of duck hunting (he helped build duck habitats), fishing, gardening and mineral collecting. Ed developed a remarkable knowledge of minerals. He had no formal training and yet he became one of the greatest collectors and experts on minerals in California, and had an extraordinary ability to visually identify rare minerals.
Ed was interested in minerals from many localities—some famous, such as the big Crestmore marble body in southern California, and many that were known only to Ed. He visited almost all of the mercury deposits of California, and was especially interested in the mines of the New ldria mercury field in San Benito County. The new mercury mineral edoylerite, discovered by Ed, was formally described by Richard C. Erd and others in 1993, and named in honor of its discoverer.
Ed also specialized in the rare minerals of the nearby Dallas Gem mine where the state mineral, benitoite, was first found. Ed's discoveries at the Dallas Gem mine led professional mineralogists (such as Prof. Joseph Murdoch) to write scientific papers describing the minerals found there. One of the mines in the New ldria district received special attention from Ed. This was the Clear Creek mercury mine. This mine holds the world record for the number of new mercury mineral species found at one locality, and the person who found most of these was Ed Oyler! He was always generous with anything of value that he found, and science was always advanced by his kindness.
Ed Oyler died on March 9, 2004, in San Martin, California He was preceded in death by his sons Steven and Edward, but was survived by his wife of 57 years, Elaine, six grandchildren and one great grandson.
ERD, R. C. (2004) Died, Edward Henry Oyler. Mineralogical Record, 35, 365.
ERD, R. C., ROBERTS, A. C., BONARDI, M., CRIDDLE, A. J., GABE, E. J., and LePAGE, Y. (1993) Edoylerite Hg2+3Cr6+O4S2 a new mineral from the Clear Creek claim San Benito County, California. Mineralogical Record, 24, 471-475.
OYLER, E. H. (1990) Died, John ("Jack") Parnau, 84. Mineralogical Record, 21, 510.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2018)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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