Wayne Sukow is a distinguished scientist and educator who assembled over his lifetime an extraordinary mineral collection with special emphasis on specimens dear to rock hounds in the Keweenaw Peninsula. A native of Wisconsin, where he spent the first half of his career before joining the National Science Foundation, Wayne retired to Fairfax, Virgina several years ago. The founders of Mageia Minerals met Wayne in 2007, when we joined a Northern Virginia rock club while residing in that region. Wayne at the time was President of that club, and upon learning of our interest in Lake Superior agates and Keweenaw Peninsula datolite — his collecting specialties, but unusual ones for residents of the mid-Atlantic region — Wayne became our mineralogy mentor and, in time, a valued friend.
At its peak, Wayne’s datolite collection was believed to be one of the best in the world. His published articles on datolite and Lake Superior agates have contributed enormously to collectors’ understanding of their occurrence, characteristics, and origin. Wayne’s complete collections encompassed not only the full range of other Keweenaw Peninsula material — greenstone, Thomsonite, copper and silver crystals, copper agates, and the like – but also agates from many regions of the U.S., Mexico, and worldwide. He also collected lapidary material from the American west, and petrified wood from Oregon.
In 2010, after we moved to Chassell and prepared to open Mageia Minerals, Wayne finalized his long pending decision to commence distribution of his mineral collections (what he calls the “deacquisition phase”). Terms were settled to consign his minerals through Mageia in an orderly, multiyear process.
This undertaking was a tremendous boost to Mageia’s commercial beginnings, and continues to provide us the honor of recurring access to major new specimens of often unique characteristics, with reliably documented provenance, and in turn attracting eminent collectors despite our brief time in the business. In the years to come, all of Wayne’s collection will be featured by Mageia in the Chassell store or by online sales. We have projected that Wayne’s Keweenaw Peninsula material, the primary focus of sales efforts so far, will come to market through 2017, and his other collections likely will continue orderly disposition through 2020.
The transcript of an in-depth interview with Wayne will appear soon in the Resources section of this website, the first in what we foresee as a series of published dialogues with figures important to the mineralogy world of the Keweenaw District .
Wayne was honored with the 2013 Salotti Award for Earth Science Education, which was formally presented to him in August 2014 when was invited to the Seaman Museum to give a talk on copper replacement agates. The following summary of Wayne’s accomplishments that led to this award was given by the Museum:
The A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum is delighted to announce Dr. Wayne W. Sukow of Fairfax,Virginia as the winner of the 2013 Dr. Charles A. Salotti Earth Science Education Award, marking the 15th annual presentation in honor of Dr. Charles A. Salotti, and in recognition of excellence in earth science education. The award is sponsored by the Salotti family, the Edith Dunn and E. W. Heinrich Trust, the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum Society, and the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum.
Holding degrees in physics and biology, nuclear physics, and a Ph.D. in chemical physics, Dr. Sukow spent much of his early career (1973-1984) as a physics professor and department chairman at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Following that, he served as executive director of the West Central Wisconsin Consortium (the University of Wisconsin), and eventually devoted himself to a new career as program director and section head at the National Science Foundation’s Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education (1992-2004). His service leadership in education have spanned all levels and permeates his career in numerous capacities as a school board member, consultant, advisory board member, and invited speaker. His service, leadership and teaching in the earth sciences have been equally extensive, serving in all capacities from speaker to bulletin editor to officer in local gem and mineral clubs. In 2003 He became the Assistant Director and later Director of the Eastern Federation of Mineral and Lapidary Societies (EFMLS)-Wildacres. During 2006 He took a one-year leave of absence to serve as EFMLS President.
One of his many supportive testimonials cites, “Wayne exemplifies the principles of the Dr. Charles A. Salotti Earth Science Education Award through his long service to the earth science education as well as his activities to inspire and encourage people, particularly young people, to understand and appreciate the Earth’s geological heritage and mineralogical treasurers.”
Dr. Sukow is author of numerous popular articles in Lapidary Journal, Rock & Gem, and Deposits Magazine on topics of his mineralogical and lapidary interests, especially datolite and agates from the Lake Superior region. He has also helped to educate untold numbers of people of all ages through his lectures and exhibits at clubs, shows, and museums, and through his award winning American Federation of Mineralogical Societies program competition entries. To top it all off, he regularly volunteers as a visiting science teacher in Washington metropolitan area middle and high schools. Congratulations to Dr. Sukow.