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Fred DeVito

Alfred J. "Fred" DeVito was among California's leading micromounters and field collectors, and a long-time member of the Southern California Micro-Mineralogists. Fred DeVito was born in New Jersey on August 14, 1937. Following High School Fred served in the Army as a soils technician at Fort Dix, then majored in chemistry at Seton Hall University. He began collecting New Jersey traprock minerals in 1953, and expanded his collecting to other Northeastern localities. After moving to California in 1963 he attended California State University at Long Beach, graduating with a BS Degree in biology. He also studied mineralogy at UCLA. His favorite hobby was mineral collecting, particularly micromounting, and he identified many microminerals previously unreported from their localities.

Fred married Joyce Ann Starr (born July 28, 1938) in 1958. They have a son (Mike) and daughter (Lisa).

Fred began collecting minerals as a boy, visiting the zeolite-rich traprock quarries near his home in New Jersey. This early experience with zeolites inspired his later field work in California, resulting in a number of published articles about the zeolite and calcium silicate minerals of the Santa Monica Mountains. He moved to Riverside, California in 1963, and is best remembered for his work on the minerals of the Crestmore quarry in Riverside County.

Fred served as President of the Mineralogical Society of Southern California, and the Friends of Mineralogy of Southern California. He was also President of the Preservation Fund for the California State Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa. He was the author of several publications including "The Occurrence of 17 Minerals found at Crestmore" (1971), and "The Jensen Quarry, Riverside County, California" (with Al Ordway, in the Mineralogical Record in 1984), and was considered the leading authority on the mineralogy of Crestmore. He was a frequent contributor of articles to Microprobe, the bulletin of the Northwest Microminerals Study Group, and the Bulletin of the Mineralogical Society of Southern California, and also wrote the "Microscoop" column for that publication. In addition to his writings, he was a frequent speaker at mineralogical conferences and shows including the Tucson Show. In 1995 Fred was inducted into the Micromounters Hall of Fame.

Fred and his wife Joyce purchased the micromount business of Wayne and Dona Leicht in May 1976 and ran it as Micro World until 1985; They purchased several other micromount collections as well, including those of Earl Morehead, Russ MaFall, Dave Jamriska, and Alice Kraissl. Fred's personal collection of micromounnts, most of them self-collected, numbered 10,000 specimens. They also ran a successful family business in Oakhurst, Pacific Pectin. Bill Rader, writing in Mineral News, said:

"Many of Fred's discoveries reside now in California museums. These mineral specimens will be a lasting legacy of Fred DeVito the mineral collector. However, Fred's legacy as a human being will be even more enduring. Fred DeVito will be remembered as a person who, in a manner completely devoid of ego, generously shared his vast knowledge of minerals—and of life—with anyone who was wise enough to listen."

He died March 20, 2004 in Oakhurst, California after a long battle with cancer.
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