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AFMS President 2007 - 2008

Shirley Leeson

From AFMS Newsletter, Nov. 2006
Greetings From Your President-Elect

I thought for my first message, I'd let those of you who don't know me, in on what my interests are and what my background in the hobby is.

You'll probably laugh about this, but I was introduced to the hobby because of a Christmas gift in 1971. It was a Sears Tumbler Kit. After tumbling the stones included in the package, we looked in the yellow pages of the San Diego Phone Directory and found San Diego Mineral & Gem Society. We took our "prized stones" down to the meeting and were rudely awakened to the real world of rockhounds. We joined that night and were surrounded by "instant friends and teachers." We were fortunate that this was a club with all the assets, a workshop of huge proportions, a museum of minerals, fossils and lapidary specimens on the premises and friends who were willing to share their knowledge and expertise.

This new media for us, Gordon and me, took us to rock shows throughout Southern California and Arizona. We were on the road almost every weekend, visiting rockhounds and learning. Everyone we encountered was willing to stop and talk and offer advice and information. We attended our first Tucson Experience in 1973. And also visited Quartzsite for the first time that year.

I attended my first AFMS/CFMS show at Anaheim in 1972. It was at the Convention Center and blew me away. I look back on many of the early shows I attended as giving me the insight into where the hobby was in the 70's when I joined, and where it is today.

I found my true calling by taking on the editorship of the Pegmatite, bulletin of the SWAG. I held the job for 20 years and only released it because of Gordon's serious health problems. But before this I was a member of the SDMG Board of Directors for those 20 years, and president three times. In 1981, I was asked to assist the CFMS Bulletin Aid and the following year was named CFMS Bulletin Aid. In 1983, I was elected Secretary of CFMS, which I held for two years and went through the chairs becoming CFMS President in 1987, twenty years ago this year...

In 1984, the San Diego Mineral & Gem Society celebrated it's 50th anniversary by hosting the AFMS/CFMS combined show and convention in the convention center in down town San Diego. Acting as assistant to the show chairman, Bill Tirk, it was my responsibility to bring in guest exhibits. Something I'm extremely proud of, even today.

In 1985, Betty Crawford, the incoming AFMS President asked me to take on the show consultant chair, a position I held till 2000. I was able to attend most of the AFMS convention and shows during this time and made many friends throughout the U.S. And because of my interest in bulletins and the editors who published them I was able to establish a great relationship with many throughout the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia and England. This was during the time of "snail-mail" and not the internet we have today - where there is now instant communication.

In 1998, I was asked if I'd take the AFMS Historian's position, and I answered in the affirmative. I had already taken on the job of CFMS Historian in 1995. In 2001,1 offered to take on the NFMS Historian job because nobody wanted it. You may think this a little odd, but these three jobs, plus the AFMS and CFMS shows and conventions I have attended have made me realize what the CFMS and ultimately the AFMS is all about. I believe I have a great understanding of what has been and hope I have a real passion for seeing the AFMS continue. I feel humble to have achieved this position this year and with your help, go on next year to complete the role as president, and I wouldn't have thought of attempting such a fete without Dee by my side.

My goal this year is to assist Dr. Bob Carlson in any way I can and to assist those chairmen who ask my assistance. I look forward to writing a column each month for the next two years and will let you know my feelings about the strengths and also areas where I believe we can improve the AFMS. If you have any thoughts on these subjects, please contact me at: and

Please use both e-mails, as my own is temperamental and some messages disappear in cyberspace. We also travel between California and Idaho, when we're not at a convention.


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