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Art Soregaroli's passing
  
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Peter Megaw
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PostPosted: Oct 19, 2017 19:33    Post subject: Art Soregaroli's passing  

I got the sad news this morning that Art Soregaroli passed away peacefully today, surrounded by his family in Vancouver. Art had been suffering for some years with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, which caused him to disappear from the mineral scene a while ago. But while he was active he made a major impression on the hobby personally and scientifically. Art was universally well-liked and readily shared his knowledge of minerals and their geologic context. For those of you who knew him, please pause and remember his vitality…the world is a poorer place today…

Below I reprint a bit I wrote about Art several years ago when he sold his beloved mineral collection.

It is not an easy job to write just a few words about my friend, mentor, colleague and fellow collector Art Soregaroli, because our interests overlapped in so many different ways. In the beginning it took us a while to recognize that we were getting introduced both at Tucson and Pacific NWFM Symposia, and in a wide range of professional geological settings (me as a graduate student and him as a distinguished senior geoscientist). Back then he seemed to roll from one Presidency after another (Society of Economic Geologists; Association of Exploration Geochemists) and one prestigious award after another (Geological Society of Canada; Canadian Mining Institute), but he always expressed interest in my research at Santa Eulalia in Chihuahua, Mexico…and the minerals that came from there. We recognized this common interest as something special and often commented on how odd it is that so few professional geologists are mineral collectors, and vice versa. Things really gelled in 1987 when an opportunity arose to include him on a field tour of Santa Eulalia and Naica with one of my consulting clients. I arrived in Chihuahua two nights before Art and the others were due to appear and of course headed out to see what new minerals were available. I walked into a room lined with homemade display cases filled with over 100 pieces of gorgeous butterscotch-colored, cauliflower-style mimetites ranging from miniatures to very large cabinets. I was sick, I knew I needed to buy the lot but had nothing like the necessary cash on hand. Nonetheless, I spoke for the lot and left a deposit of what I had, hoping that somehow I could drum up the balance. The next day I quickly realized I had nowhere to turn but Art, so I called him at his office and caught him just before he had to head to the airport. As I began to explain the situation he cut me off and asked how much I (we actually) needed. He said he had to hang up immediately if he was going to get the cash and still catch his plane. On meeting his plane that evening he affirmed he was “packing” and that he wanted to see the mimetites right away. (I sensed a reserve on his part, which he later admitted came from a combination of not knowing me that well and being headed out into a pretty scruffy part of town) On entering the room he looked around quickly and, while keeping a good poker face, nodded slightly. The deal done, we proceeded to choose the top ten pieces each with the intention of packing up the rest for me to sell at the next Tucson. He insisted I take first pick since I found the opportunity, and no amount of my insisting that his paying for the lot trumped that. It was a really tough choice between a cantaloupe-sized bowl of mimetite and a superb small cabinet. I went for the melon and he took the cabinet. I drooled over it every time I visited him and was VERY pleased to have the opportunity to get it when Rob got the collection.

Art became Chief Geoscientist for Teck Resources in 2000, shortly after my geo-partners and I put together our US-Mexico based geological consulting group. He was pivotal in convincing Teck that we should run their programs in Mexico and we did so for nearly five years. It was great to work with Art in the field and have the opportunity to visit him and Rosalie (and Brian) in Vancouver whenever I had to report to the home office. Allison and Rosalie became fast friends, so while they sat upstairs and talked in the kitchen (Rosalie is an amazing cook), Art and I would repair to the basement to look at minerals. On one early visit we went through all of his exhibit cases and many of the collection drawers (I don’t think anyone ever saw them all except Rob) and noted a remarkable number of superb fluorite specimens sprinkled here and there. I accused him of being a fluorite collector, which he hotly denied. Six months later he took me downstairs and proudly showed me his principal exhibit case…which was filled with nothing but fluorites! He allowed that my off-hand comment had shifted his collecting perspective and that he recognized he was a fluorite collector…and a tourmaline collector…and a Tsumeb collector; with his entire display collection reorganized accordingly. That shift coincided with my determination to focus 100% on Mexico, which meant that a really nice miniature yellow Hilton Mine fluorite from England would be much happier in his collection than mine. He proposed a trade for something Mexican. I spotted several things that were out of bounds and then a wonderful miniature Santa Eulalia quartz group from a find I had missed out on. Art is congenitally mischievous, so when we convened again in his basement a few months later, the quartz was nowhere to be seen. I looked high and low for it while he ogled and complimented the fluorite. With a twinkle in his eye he reached into a drawer and pulled out the piece, already packed to travel. It has been on my shelf ever since.

Art’s contributions to preserving minerals, their geologic context and mineral collections as a whole are legion. He ram-rodded the successful effort to get the William Pinch Collection into the Canadian Museum of Nature and the valiant, though ultimately ill-timed establishment of the Pacific Mineral Museum. He was also a prime-mover and regular volunteer at the British Columbia Museum of Mining, which attracts a growing number of visitors interested in the benefits of mining each year. His repeated trips to Peru for Teck resulted in a broad understanding of Peruvian specimen localities and co-authorship with Guido del Castillo of the encyclopedic Peru: Paradise of Minerals (2011). His work with Teck also took him down the path of attempting to industrialize the production of Montana sapphires. Retirement slowed him down not a whit. As a consultant he succeeded in getting the Pasasquiera Mine in Portugal to treat their abundant mineral specimens as another kind of ore…while finding significant amounts of conventional ore throughout their mines. As a collector, working at the Zapot pegmatite in Nevada with his long-time friend Harvey Gordon (you could always find Art in Harvey’s booth at major shows) he not only opened nice pockets of amazonite and topaz, but systematically mapped the pegmatite and collected suites of the pocket fill for scientific study. (This material remains intact looking for the right researcher)
Geology, mining and minerals continued to give Art great pleasure, although they did fade fast in the shadow of grandparenthood. I am delighted to have several of his pieces in my collection, especially the ones through which we had a common bond. I now have both sides of the stories…and although I can no longer tease him about the ones that got away, his connection to those pieces is perhaps stronger than ever in my memory.



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Art in the field
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Robert Seitz




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PostPosted: Oct 19, 2017 20:22    Post subject: Re: Art Soregaroli's passing  

Sad to hear.
Thanks for the tale.
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John S. White
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PostPosted: Oct 19, 2017 20:44    Post subject: Re: Art Soregaroli's passing  

Well, I knew it was coming but the pain of losing such a fine friend is indescribable. Art was one of the finest gentleman I have ever known. And, in spite of his extraordinary accomplishments, only some of which were detailed by Peter, he was as unpretentious as anyone could be. We had long ago established a tradition of always having breakfast together in Tucson and lunch together in Denver, two of the things that I most looked forward to when attending those shows. His support of the mineral museum at the University of Vancouver, British Columbia (hope I got that right) was amazing. At each Denver and Tucson he faithfully shopped the shows for minerals that could be sold by the museum and always ended up with a very large and heavy array of minerals to haul home. His exploits when hired by the management of the Panasqueira mine to help them make the mine more profitable were wonderful to hear him relate. We have lost one the greats, a man who was so modest that few were aware of his contributions.
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Pete Modreski
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PostPosted: Oct 19, 2017 22:22    Post subject: Re: Art Soregaroli's passing  

Thank you, Peter, for the very good writeup about Art. I'm sorry to hear about his passing. I knew Art too, not nearly so well as some of you, and had really enjoyed knowing and talking to him.
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PostPosted: Oct 20, 2017 01:22    Post subject: Re: Art Soregaroli's passing  

Peter and others, thanks for sharing memories of one of the truly great people I have known. I too knew it was coming, and the pleasure of your recollections captures the man perfectly. I got to know Art at the Pacific Northwest Friends of Mineralogy meetings and also at Tucson, and other direct contact. I gave Art a minor heartbreak one year at Tucson, He had brought back a very fine Peruvian rhodochrosite on which he had second thoughts, and stuck it up in Harvey's booth at Tucson. I looked at it and fell in love with it. Thought about it the length of the show and then got it the last day. He had told me he put the piece up reluctantly, and figured by the end of the show if it didn't sell it belonged in his collection. I knew immediately after I got it that he wished he had kept it, and asked him if he was sure, and being the gentleman that he was he said yes. I promised him right of first refusal if I ever let it go. it was one of my best specimens, and when I sold that collection he had already stopped collecting. He was a mentor on job searches more than once, and just all around a prince of a person.
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PostPosted: Oct 21, 2017 17:45    Post subject: Re: Art Soregaroli's passing  

As Peter so well said, Art's death makes the world and all us poorer.

I met Art for the first time long time ago in Tucson, accompanying Harvey Gordon. Harvey brought that year some GIANT Topazes from Zapot, and, impressed by those crystals I told Art that at that moment was comfortably seated in a low chair: How large! and he did what everyone who has participated in this thread have said that characterized him: smile.

Many people knew him much better than I did, but there is a part of his life where I connected so much with him. When he explained to me his adventures in Panasqueira, he said modestly that he helped to "rationalize" the exploitation, without giving much importance to the fact that in the period in which he worked there the mine was about to close (he had temporarily closed a pair of times before) and that thanks to him, Panasqueira became a profitable mine and since then up to now it has continued to be productive due in large part to the restructuring of the mode of exploitation of that mine that Art so well implemented.
He also told me that he went to work there with the hope of achieve fine specimens for his collection. He did not know well the peculiar procedures of that mine in which quality specimens have been sold to collectors for more than 60 years and, eagerly, went there with great hopes. In one of the few times I did not see him smile, he told me that he never got a minimally usable specimen on all the time he worked there despite the fact that he had even written it on official documents. Only at the end, when he left the mine, he got as a farewell gift a piece "more or less" good (Art dixit)

He was a man full of extraordinary stories and undoubtely his life was equally extraordinary. Rest in Peace Art.



Art Soregaroli and his wife Rosalie.jpg
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Art Soregaroli and his wife Rosalie in Tucson 2012.

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PostPosted: Oct 22, 2017 07:47    Post subject: Re: Art Soregaroli's passing  

One of the true gentlemen with great knowledge and humbleness. I have missed seeing him the last years. Thank you Peter for the write up and John, please tell me some of his Panasqueira adventures in Munich!
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PostPosted: Oct 25, 2017 13:35    Post subject: Re: Art Soregaroli's passing  

Thanks Peter et al. for supplying some of "the rest of the story" on Art. Although most of my conversations with him (mainly at Tucson) were related to our family's field collecting in eastern Canada, it was obvious that his knowledge bank was huge and not restricted to Canada. A major mineral community loss! RIP Art!
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PostPosted: Oct 26, 2017 03:19    Post subject: Re: Art Soregaroli's passing  

Always treasured several specimens Art sold to me when Maureen and I stayed with them in Vancouver. He had a passion for playing ice hockey and played competition into his 60s. Hope he has found a new team. Art and Harvey Gordon were great mates and miss them too much.
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