It is somewhat of a shock to realize you’ve reached the age when more acquaintances and friends begin to pass away. I received several phone calls from my good friend Avi Raz one Sunday in June. He was unable to reach me on the first two. He left simple yet unusual voice-mail messages for me to call. Normally when I hear from Avi the voice messages are upbeat and positive. These two, however, were somber.
When we did connect, he told me that Marion Halfacre had died suddenly the day before. Avi and I, along with many others, served with Marion on The JCK Show advisory board from the very beginning of the show. All took pride in the show’s growth and development. It was a joint venture in the beginning between The JCK Group, headed by Charles Bond, and the individual members of the advisory board, who represented every facet of the retail, wholesale, manufacturing, and association communities. Marion was chosen to represent the upscale retail jewelry and watch sectors of the industry. He was a quiet participant in the meetings, but he would always seek you out afterward to make a point he thought needed to be made. He was one of those self-effacing individuals who avoided direct confrontation in a group setting but accomplished his mission in one-on-one private conversations with board members.
Marion was an eminently likable person. Shortly after I was appointed publisher of JCK, Marion told me the story of how answering an ad in the magazine resulted in his purchase of the business in Newport Beach, Calif., that eventually became what is now one of the top jewelry stores in the United States—Traditional Jewelers. It was a story I used many times in talking with prospective JCK advertisers.
He always wore a smile and always had something nice to say. Reading the stories about him, I learned that he was a founding member behind the Gemological Institute of America’s Career Fair and an active member of the Twenty-Four Karat Club of Southern California. He was also active inhis community and was always there when a local function needed support.
In the film The Last Samurai, the Tom Cruise character is asked by the young Emperor of Japan to tell the story of how Kazimoto—the last samurai—died. Cruise responds, “I will tell you how he lived.” And so it is with Marion Halfacre. It is how he lived that we remember—all the kindnesses he showed to so many people in the industry and, I am certain, outside it. He was that kind of man.
Donations to the GIA Scholarship Fund in Marion’s memory are an appropriate way to recognize him, his family, and his service to the industry and his community. As Marion would say to you for doing it: “Cheers!”