Recently I have become interested in rockhounding. A friend at work turned me on to the wonders of gems and minerals and when I sat down to write today's World of Good (WOG), I decided to take a chance and see what came up with "rockhounding charity". What came up was a perfect WOG.
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Jerry Harr died in October of this year. He was 85 years old. The San Diego Union-Tribune ran a fairly long obituary on him that revealed a love of rockhounding and a kind heart. Jerry worked hard to become a master of his craft and then shared his knowledge and experience with everyone who wanted to learn.
Dedicated rockhounds and fledgling hobbyists eager to learn about gems and minerals found a jewel in Jerry Harr. Considered a pillar of knowledge in lapidary technique, Mr. Harr was as well-known for his teaching as for his award-winning jewelry making.Here's the money quote for me.
“He was everyone's mentor,” said Fred Wilson, president of the Vista Gem and Mineral Society. “We all went to him for his knowledge and advice. There wasn't much in the hobby craft that he didn't know or hadn't seen.”
“Jerry learned everything he could and was happy to convey it to anyone who would ask,” said his wife, who shared her husband's passion for gemstones. “He taught many rockhounds the art of silversmith in his home for free. The only stipulation was that they, in turn, teach someone else at no cost. They came from as far away as Northern California, Oregon, Washington and Mexico.”Imagine what that entailed. It's not just all the work that went into learning to make jewelry, it's the added effort of bringing strangers into your home to teach them. Like I said, Jerry was a perfect example of the World of Good. We all have become richer because he shared his talents with the rest of us. Who knows, some of the jewelry you or your daughters or your grandaughters wear might trace their pedigree back to someone who learned for free from Jerry in his home.
Jerry started from humble beginnings, did his part in the war and stayed married to his wife for more than 60 years.
Born July 2, 1921, in Quakertown, Pa., Mr. Harr attended first through eighth grade in a one-room schoolhouse. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1940 and was wounded by shrapnel in the Battle of Guadalcanal. While recuperating from his wounds and malaria in Auckland, New Zealand, Mr. Harr began collecting cat-eye seashells. Quartz crystals caught his fancy in New Caledonia, where he recovered at another hospital.There are lots and lots of Jerry Harrs in the world. They quietly make all of our lives better. The advance of human civilization depends on Jerry Harr and all the others who share their gifts with the rest of us. I wish I had known him.
After leaving the hospital in 1944, Mr. Harr married Lois Plummer, whom he had met in 1938 at a Pennsylvania roller-skating rink.
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