To many of us, Dr. Rod Burroughs was the face and voice of the Fluorescent Mineral Society. Rod chaired the meetings, answered correspondence, replied to inquiries, and took care of new members. Rod joined the FMS in March of 1983 and by February of 1984 he was Society Treasurer. Rod became President of the FMS in 1986 when Jessie Chittenden stepped down. He remained president until 2006, when he decided “Twenty years is enough. It’s someone else’s turn.” Rod was president of the FMS for more than half of its existence He continued to serve the FMS even after resigning as president. He created the title of Executive Secretary, and in that capacity continued to handle all of the Society mail, take care of membership issues, and the many little details it takes to keep the FMS functioning.
During Rod’s long tenure as president, the FMS grew to a peak of over 500 members. Under his leadership, in 1996, for its twenty-fifth anniversary, the Society presented the largest exhibit of fluorescent minerals ever assembled at the Tucson Gem and Mineral show. Keeping up with the times, the FMS developed a website, and in 2004 the Society began publishing its Journal in color.
Rod was born in Durkin, Ohio, in 1925. While attending Collinswood High School, he played trombone in the Cleveland Symphony. After graduating from high school, he attended the University of Ohio where he earned degrees in agriculture and veterinary medicine. Neither degree reflected Rod’s true passion, music. He wanted to become a music teacher, but family influence (four relatives were veterinarians) guided him into the field. Rod played in the marching band during his college years, and belonged to ROTC. After completing college, he enlisted in the US Air Force. As a Captain, he served a year in Korea before being transferred to the Air Force base in Oxnard, California.
Now out of the military and living in California, Rod started a veterinary practice working with small animals. Unlike most veterinarians, he never set up an office, preferring instead to make house calls.
Rod’s interests outside of work were varied, and when something caught his interest, he jumped in with both feet. His wife Marion referred to him as her seven- year husband. Every seven years he jumped into a new hobby. Over the years his interest moved from shooting and hunting, to raising rabbits, to motorcycles and dirt riding, to slight of hand, and prop magic. At mineral shows it seemed that he always had a deck of cards and disappearing quarters to entertain the kids. With minerals Rod’s interest extended to many facets of the hobby. Along with his continuing interest in fluorescent minerals, he collected agates and did lapidary work, setting up a fully equipped shop for the latter. He was active in the micromounting community, traveling to symposiums, field collecting, and trading specimen material. In his garage he set up a work area for his scope, ultrasonic cleaner, trimmers, and the many small tools that he gathered together. He built storage cabinets above and below his work bench for the scores of egg boxes that held specimens to be worked. Through all of his other hobbies, however, his love of music never waned. He sang in barber shop quartets and gospel groups, and in his last years was learning to play the keyboard.