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F. John Barlow

John Barlow, one of America's most prominent private mineral collectors, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 12, 1914 and died at his home in Appleton, Wisconsin on June 5, 2004. He received his B.S. in 1937 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was selected as the outstanding engineering student in his class. In 1949, with $5,000 and a pick-up truck, he founded AZCO Inc. as an industrial piping contractor. He succeeded in developing AZCO into one of the country's major contractors, specializing in industrial and power plant (including nuclear) construction and pipe fabrication. He also founded the Appleton region's premier jewelry store, Earth Resources, which he sold to his daughter Alice in 1995. John was an avid hunter, and in his younger years he traveled the world in pursuit of big game. His mineral room contained a polar bear skin rug from one of his hunts. In 1966 he became a member of the exclusive "Grand Slam Club" of the North American Sheep Hunters' Association (for bagging a Coues Deer, a Desert Mule Deer, a Pronghorn Antelope and a Bighorn Sheep). He is only the 46th person to have achieved this distinction.

Mineral collecting was a passion for John. Beginning as a novice collector around 1970, he eventually assembled one of the best and largest privately held mineral collections in the world, over 5,000 high-quality specimens, and often exhibited specimens at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. He won many awards in the field, including the Ed McDole Memorial Trophy in 1975 and 1978, the Walt Lidstrom Memorial Award in 1993 (for a Russian sperrylite), the Paul Desautels Award in 1993, and the highest honor, the Carnegie Mineralogical Award in 2000. He was also awarded the Smithsonian Gold and Silver medals for a very large donation of rare and valuable Indian jewels and jewelry. One of his proudest accomplishments was self-publishing the impressive book, The F. John Barlow Mineral Collection (1996), which describes and pictures the extensive collection he built. Most of his collection has by now been sold to dealers and private collectors or donated to museums.

WILSON, W. E. (1999) Book review--The F. John Barlow Mineral Collection. Mineralogical Record, 28, 147-148.
WILSON, W. E. (2004) Obituary--F. John Barlow. Mineralogical Record, 35, 362-363.
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