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Rudy Tschernich


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"It is with profound sadness that I report the passing of Rudy Tschernich today, December 26, 2017. Rudy was born in Snohomish, Washington in 1945 and developed a love for mineral collecting with an exceptional passion for the zeolite group minerals that were so prevalent in his home in the Pacific Northwestern United States. His collection of nearly 12,000 zeolites from worldwide localities, most of them personally collected, was eventually donated to the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals in Hillsboro, Oregon. Rudy served on the board of the Rice Museum before being invited by Museum co-founder, Sharleen Harvey, to join the museum as full-time curator following his retirement from the U.S. Postal Service in 2003.  Rudy served as curator of the Rice Museum until 2011
Rudy was a dedicated field collector and was involved in many new discoveries, most famously those of the Neer City Road site in Goble, Oregon where three zeolites new to science were discovered in a small dig site.  These minerals included boggsite, cowlesite, and a mineral that was initially confused with apophyllite.  That latter mineral turned out to be a new mineral that was named in Rudy’s honor: tschernichite (Boggs, et al., 1993).  Rudy was involved in recording the mineralogy of many zeolite locations, but arguably his greatest contribution to science was his 1992 book, Zeolites of the World, in which Rudy meticulously documented thousands of zeolite localities.  Rudy was instrumental in the founding of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Friends of Mineralogy, which honored him in 2000 with the Noble Witt Award for his self-less contributions.  He was also recognized by the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals which named its Northwest Gallery in his honor.
Rudy was active to the very end.  His last project was re-photographing his entire zeolite collection using modern photomicrography techniques.  His legacy lives on through his collections, his writings, his photographs, the museum gallery that bears his name, and the lives he touched.  He was also modest and wished no services be held in his memory. Nevertheless, we are grateful for his contributions.
Boggs, R.C., Howard, D.G., Smith, J.V., Klein, G.L. (1993) Tschernichite, a new zeolite from Goble, Columbia County, Oregon. American Mineralogist: 78: 822-826.
Julian Gray, Executive Director
Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals
Hillsboro, Oregon"


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