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Gordon Nedblake

Gordon Dean Nedblake was born in Sargent, Custer County, Nebraska on March 5, 1909, the son of Anna Schmidt and Austrian immigrant Joseph Nedbalek, a harnessmaker. Joseph came from Lipa in present-day Czechoslovakia, which at the time was considered part of the Austro-Hungaraian empire. Lipa is very near Kutna Hora, the old Bohemian silver mining area.

By 1920 the Nedblake family had moved to Lyons in Boulder County, Colorado because Anna had been ill and it was thought that the Colorado climate would be better for her. Gordon married Mabel Doris Locke.

Of the five Nedblake brothers, Gordon and Griffin were the ones who became interested in rocks and minerals. They found an interesting vein of amazonite along a fault when a basement was being dug and that started it all.

Gordon and Mabel lived in Kansas City during WWII and, along with Griffin, worked at the Fairfax, Kansas defense plant building Mitchell bombers; Griffin was a veteran but Gordon had been classified 4-F, as he had the biggest flattest feet anyone had ever seen. At the close of the war, they moved to Denver where Gordon worked as a salesman, and then later to Idaho Springs, Colorado.

Gordon owned a clothing store in Idaho Springs in the 1950s, and would trade clothes to local miners for specimens, which he would then place in his store window. Over the years, he had many very nice gold specimens that came from the miners working at the Dixie mine, and some he found himself while panning in his spare time. When Gordon and Mabel needed a vacation, Griffin would often go out there and run the store for them while they went off to warmer places to relax.

Both Gordon and Griffin sold specimens of native gold, a few of them extraordinary, to dealers and frequently to tourists in the summertime. There must be a fair number of very nice Nedblake specimens sitting back east, and probably not identified as neither Griffin nor Gordon ever used a personal specimen label. Over the years, Griffin accumulated many mineral specimens, some of which were really fine pieces. Gordon also had many that he kept over the years. He claimed not to be a collector, but for the ones he really liked, he would simply price them so high that nobody would pay that much.

Gordon supplied many fine Colorado specimens to dealers like Mitch Gunnell and Ed McDole, and handled several fine rhodochrosite specimens from the famous Sweet Home mine. In later years he dealt more in turquoise jewelry from Arizona, and ultimately retired to Sun City, Arizona, where he died on December 9, 1995. He was a colorful individual, a great storyteller, and a mentor to mineral collectors including Keith Proctor.
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