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Les Presmyk
(1952-    )

Walter Lesley "Les" Presmyk was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1952, the son of Gerrie and Walter Presmyk, a general contractor. He grew up in Phoenix and attended Cortez High School, graduating in 1970, then went on to the University of Arizona where he earned a B.S. degree in Mining Engineering in 1975. Since then he has worked as a full-time mining engineer. The first 11 years were spent with the Magma Copper CompanyŚnine years at the Magma mine in Superior and then two years at the San Manuel mine. For the past 21 years he has worked in the Fuels Department of the Salt River Project, one of Arizona's largest utilities, purchasing and overseeing coal and uranium-related fuels issues. His expertise as both a mining engineer and a mineral collector has proven valuable to several specimen-mining projects, including those at the Red Cloud mine in Arizona, the Brushy Creek mine in Missouri's Viburnum Trend, the San Francisco mine in Sonora, and the Diamond Point quartz mine at Tonto Village, Arizona.

Les's first exposure to minerals came in an unusual way: as a first-grader he found some polished stones in an alley, which turned out to be the discards from a gentleman who did commercial rock tumbling. Les's main collecting passions at the time were stamps and coins. But then one day, when he was ten, Les's father took him along on a visit to a friend, and Les got pawned off to play with the man's 12-year-old son, Wayne Thompson, who had a lot of pretty rocks. Wayne gave Les a small bag of specimens to take home, and thus provided the initial spark to start collecting minerals. Les then joined a 4-H Club hosted by Marcella Watson, devoted to rocks and minerals and further fanned the flames of interest. A year or so later she and her husband, Cliff, joined the Mineralogical Society of Arizona and took along members of the 4-H club. That is where Les met older, more advanced mineral collectors like Bob Jones, Bill Panczner and Doris and Ben Benham.

For the first 16 years Les collected world-wide specimens, but since 1980 he has specialized in minerals from Arizona. His wife Paula, who also loves minerals, took over the world-wide thumbnail collection and has continued to build on it. The Presmyks currently have over 1,600 Arizona specimens in their collection, from thumbnail to large cabinet size, plus another 500 Arizona and world-wide thumbnails.

Les has been involved in mineral dealing ever since meeting Wayne Thompson. Wayne and Les had room 121 of the Desert Inn in 1972, the first year the Tucson Show was in the new Convention Center. The room rate was $22.00 per day and he was able to reserve the room about two weeks before the Show. Les and Paula started their own mineral business, DeNatura, in 1977 while living in Miami, Arizona. They lived in Mesa, Arizona from 1981-1986, and since then have resided in Gilbert, Arizona. Their first Tucson Show as dealers was in 1986, and they also sell at the Denver Show every year.

Les has been a member of the Tucson Show Committee for 20 years, with responsibility for competitive exhibits, show poster sales and the Saturday night program. The 2007 show was his 44th consecutive Tucson Show. On the side, Les has written articles on the Red Cloud mine and the Brushy Creek mine for Rocks & Minerals, and is also a two-term Councilmember for the Town of Gilbert, Arizona. In 2018 he received the prestigious Carnegie Mineralogical Award (for the year 2017).
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at]
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The Mineralogical Record - Les Presmyk Les Presmyk
(Tucson Show 1998)
The Mineralogical Record - Les Presmyk 45 x 64 mm,
Miami address
(front and back)
The Mineralogical Record - Les Presmyk 44 x 67 mm,
Miami address
The Mineralogical Record - Les Presmyk 45 x 64 mm,
Miama address
Specimens with the "LP" catalog number painted on the specimen are from Les Presmyk's personal collection.
The Mineralogical Record - Les Presmyk 54 x 72 mm,
Gilbert address
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