I grew up in the Red Fork community on the west side of Tulsa, OK where I attended Park Elementary, Clinton Jr. High, and Daniel Webster High School. I was active in marching, stage and concert bands, and studied piano with private instructors and at the University of Tulsa prior to graduation from DWHS in 1976.
Following high school and a brief stint at Tulsa Junior College, I worked for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company for a few years and then moved to Lawrence, KS to begin a new career in pipe organ building. After spending a few years there, I moved around the country and worked for organbuilders in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Ohio.
I have enjoyed a 34 year association with Burton K. Tidwell, organbuilder, and remain active in organ building in various capacities. Burton I have been involved in many projects that have taken us coast-to-coast, working in churches both very large and notable, and very modest. Please visit his site at www.bktidwell.com for photos of some of our work. We continue to work together on projects, and maintain close ties with with a few select organ industry colleagues across the nation.
In the spring of 1985 I took a break from the organ business and moved to Santa Monica, CA to attend the Gemological Institute of America. I earned, in residence, the Graduate Gemologist and Jewelry Manufacturing Arts diplomas. I also hold certificates in Colored Stone Grading, Pearls, Jewelry Design and Jewelry Retailing, to name a few. Following my studies at GIA, I was retained as an instructor in the Colored Stones/Gem Identification department at the Santa Monica campus.
During my time at GIA, I became friends with Richard Homer, GG, a fellow gemology instructor and award-winning gem cutter and lapidary artist. He was gracious enough to take me under his wing and teach me the particulars of gem cutting, and to this day Richard remains a colleague and close friend. We continue to work and collaborate on various projects gem and jewelry related, and share a web presence at ConcaveGems.com.
Presently, I remain active in the gem industry as a lapidary artist. I facet colored gemstones mostly for private clients, which allows me artistic freedom to realize the potential of a rough stone, resulting in the most beautiful faceted gem possible. Please see the Gemstones page for some of my lapidary work.
Other interests include playing piano, the Irish Whistle and Irish Traditional Music; a Jack Russell Terrier named Opie and a small house and yard and all that goes along with it. Every winter I am treated to a phenomenon called ‘ice spikes’.