Lest We Forget
In Rememberance of Our Fellow Leathercrafters
who have passed on while Members in good standing of our Guild,
as well as those who have demonstrated excellence in craftsmanship
and contributed to the advancement of leathercrafting.

Bill Boyd

February 27, 1927 - January 13, 1998
Co-Founder of the IILG

The leather world lost a truly remarkable man. Leather artist Bill Boyd, 70, of Kerrville, Texas passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. Bill was what many would call a unique character. He was a strong individual with a great sense of humor. He loved to joke around and when he laughed, his eyes twinkled and you could tell his whole being was pleased. He was easily recognizable at leather shows - a tall, skinny drink of water topped off with his black hat -complete with a carved longhorn steer head over the front brim.

More on Bill

Thomas Carroll Keach, Jr.

February 27, 1942 - April 9, 2016
Co-Founder of the IILG

Thom Keach, IILG Co-Founder, passed away Saturday, April 9, 2016. He was sleeping in his favorite chair, surrounded by those he loved and who loved him, as he wanted.

His final message to his friends just days before he departed read (in part), "Good bye to my beloved friends. As some of you may know the doctor has given me 2 weeks to 6 months to live. I have already resolved myself to this and in some ways look forward to the new journey. I have even been put under hopsice care and feel good about that. Hospice has a booklet that lists several 'signs' the end is getting closer. And wouldn't you know I've done them all at least once. LOL
Love & Light,

Pleasant and kind to the very end; he will be missed.

Thomas "Thom" Carroll Keach, Jr., 74 years, of Hominy, Oklahoma passed away on Sunday, April 10, 2016 at his home in Hominy.

Thom was born in Puerto Rico on February 27, 1942 to Thomas Carroll, Sr. and Margaret Anne (Kelley) Keach.

Thom was retired from the Los Angeles, California County Sheriff's Department and also served in the US Marine Corps. His hobbies included leather work, photography and working on the computer. But most of all, he loved just being with his family and friends.

Thom is survived by: his wife Barbara; 3 daughters: Diana Londergan and her husband, Alan, Krista Vaughn and her husband, Thomas, and Kristina Koehn; 2 sons: Jerry French and Ray French; 7 grandchildren and 1 great-grand daughter.

Al and Ann Stohlman

text from "Leder-Gilde E.V."
Al Stohlman: August 15, 1919 - March 6, 1998
[Photo of Al and Ann] Al Stohlman's introduction to working with leather began in 1943 in the jungles of New Guinea during World War II. Some buddies were doing leatherwork. The only tools were nails, shaped into various forms to press the designs in by hand. Man has been linked with leather for centuries using it for clothing, shelter, tools, etc. Modern times have produced a great variety of tanned leather that can be used for anything imaginable. Al Stohlman has devoted most of his life to leather, constantly seeking ways to improve his work and develop new techniques. The results of his extensive research are published in numerous instructional books which have been - and still are - a guide and a source of inspiration for generations of leatherworkers all over the world.

Ann Stohlman: June 30, 1924 - June 10, 2004
Ann Stohlman's introduction to leather began after her marriage to Al Stohlman, in 1963. she never dreamed of the many things that could be done with leather. She had always been artistically inclined and used to make oil-paintings on canvas. Now she wanted to do leatherwork and learn to make saddles. Al was her patient teacher. She learned to use the swivel knife, round knife, and all leatherworking tools. All sewing in their projects is done by hand. After 3 years she was making saddles all by herself, doing every phase. "After 30 years, I can truthfully say I'm a qualified professional saddle maker."

See photos of their work "Stohlman Museum"

"Mac" McMillen

passed away June 5, 2000

IILG Member from June 1998

Dan Christy

September 9, 1932 - December 9, 2000

IILG Member from May 1997

Leathercraftsman for 56 years

"Daniel C. Christy, III was born on September 9, 1932 and died on December 9, 2000. He graduated from Westtown Friends School, Westtown, Pa. in 1949 and Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana in 1953 with a major in Industrial Psychology and a minor in Religion.  His profession was in education as a teacher and as a guidance director for forty-one years retiring in 1995. He married Janet Halter, in 1957. Two daughters and four grandchildren resulted from this marriage.

Dan received his Masters Degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey. His leather crafting began at the early age of twelve and continued for over a span of fifty-six years until his death. He loved to be creative in his craft and hand designed most of his work. He was so pleased to discover IILG and joined immediately becoming a member in 1997.

He enjoyed canoeing, camping, swimming, tennis, archery, soccer and genealogy.  His passions were reading and music.  He studied violin at age five and continued playing throughout his life adding guitar, mandolin, banjo and recorder.

He was a very compassionate and gentle man, devoted husband, father , and grandfather."

- - Janet Christy (Dan's wife)

Dan's Leatherwork

Robb Barr

passed away March 16, 2002

IILG Member from January 1999

Robb Barr passed away peacefully in his sleep Saturday, March 16, 2002. He had not been too well lately and we both had thought he would still have more time. It was devastating news. He left behind many wonderful memories and many friends worldwide. He would want his friends to remember the good times you had together and all the jokes he told. Treasure the memories you have of him, as he was an Original!

Robb Barr Tribute

Eleanor T. Moscola

IILG Memorial Tribute to a Posthumous Benefactor,
through the generous hand of Mary Ellen Blackwell

Eleanor T. Moscola was involved in some form of art from the first time she took a crayon in her hand as a child. Over the years she had two loves-nursing and art. She developed a love for art in many forms - painting, stain glass, jewelry-making, glass etching, ceramics, wood-burning, and leather crafting. When she discovered leather crafting in the 1960's, it became a passion.  She was a self-taught artisan, starting with kits , key fobs, wallets, and stamping to learn the basics and reading about all forms of the craft.

As Eleanor's skill increased, she combined her love of painted art with her love of leather craft, recreating magazine photos by drawing them free-hand on the leather and then painting them. She would also trace very intricate artwork (Mucha) onto leather and then cut into the leather to create dimensional art- all of this in spite of increasing difficulty with her hands caused by carpal tunnel syndrome.  It was probably her love of the craft that gave her the incentive to have corrective surgery.

When Eleanor became a member of the Craftsman's Guild of PA, she was the only one listed as a leathercrafter.  She would have been thrilled to know that there is now an Association of LeatherCrafters and that it is accessible via a computer, another interest she developed when home/personal computers were in their infancy. Always known for her generosity and willingness to share her knowledge and skill with others, Eleanor would be pleased to know that her love of the craft will live on through the use of tools and other equipment that once gave her such joy and pleasure.

prepared by her friend, Mary Ellen Blackwell

Christine Stanley

passed away March 23, 1990

Master Leather Craftsman

Christine Stanley looks back

Christine has often told me about when she was eighteen.  "I wanted a horse so bad, I whined and pleaded until my dad gave in and bought a beautiful, real live, little mare for me -- Goldie."  This was during the Great Depression, and here was Christine with a new horse, and no money to buy decent-looking tack. What to do?

As a teenager, Christine was already an accomplished artist in oils and watercolor.  She talked a saddle maker friend into trading some old riding gear for a painting.  She also asked him to throw in an old swivel knife and a backgrounder, plus a few lessons in leather carving.

She made some bevellers and shaders from large nails, and was delighted to see her practice pieces on scrap leather turn out so well. She recalls, "I loved the smell and feel of leather from the very beginning.  I thought that if I could learn to make a hand-carved bridle, or other leather pieces, maybe I could sell enough to buy some tack for my own horse."

Her first offering of hand carved leathercraft won instant approval, and soon she was drawing on her artistic talent to create original floral designs for custom work.  Belts, wallets, and handbags quickly became selected items for her customers.  Soon, they were requesting special custom designs, and thus was born a leathercraft "design artist."

Jack Meharg

passed away September 9, 2004

IILG Member from October 2001

Leathercraftsman since 1950

He enjoyed carving/tooling, Renaissance/Black Powder and historical reenactment equipment. He crafted as both a hobby & business, Meharg Leather Products.

"Jack was well known in the Toronto area for his leather work. He was a member of the IILG and the Canadian Society of Creative Leathercraft. Our sympathies go out to his wife, Bea, and the rest of the family."
- - Jim Wilkes
Member IILG & C.S.C.L.

Ronald Shorter

passed away March 2005

IILG Member from January 1999

grew up in southern West Virginia (Ral. Co.)

James "Butch" Howe

passed away April 2006

IILG Member from June 2000

James "Jim" R. Robar

passed away May 25, 2006

IILG Member from October 2004

Leathercraftsman since 1970

Jim and his wife, Janice, resided in Dartmouth, Novia Scotia, Canada. He was retired and enjoyed, tooling, carving, Renaissance/Black Powder, designing and planning leather projects.

Phillip "Phil" Chambers

passed away July 12, 2006

IILG Member from June 2000

I know that leather was his one true love and a hobby he has had since being a young boy. He had years and years and countless hours of enjoyment from creating things from leather. My sisters and I are very lucky that he had a hobby that produced us such wonderful one of a kind keepsakes.

Tracy Fryman, daughter

Ben Hughes

April 14, 1938 - June 27, 2007

IILG Member from August 1997

Ben Hughes Tribute

Donald "Don" L. King

August 19, 1923 - July 28, 2007

Founder of King's Saddlery, creator of the Sheridan-style

Don King Tribute

Darwin E. Ohlerking

December 23, 1929 - August 4, 2007


Verlane Desgrange

1949 - December 2, 2007

IILG Member from December 2002

Verlane Desgrange Tribute

Paul Baca

1945 - December 30, 2007

IILG Member from December 1999

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Newspaper - Obituary
Paul R. Baca, 62 of Chamblee passed away December 30, 2007. Mr. Baca was born in Atlanta, Georgia to the late Paul John and Frances McKee Baca. Mr. Baca was a member of the International Internet Leathercrafters' Guild. A perfectionist to the smallest detail, he enjoyed woodworking, constructing model planes and flying them, and was known for his good sense of humor. A loving family man, he is survived by his loving wife of 42 years Mrs. Ruth Wood Baca of Chamblee; daughter Christina Marie Westbrook of Atlanta, GA; sons Paul Jon Baca of Covington, GA, Russell Roman Baca of Chamblee, GA; grandchildren Deborah Baca of Cartersville, GA, Justin Ruland of Atlanta, GA, Amanda Westbrook of Atlanta, GA; sister Caroline Baca Hayes of Minnesota, and several nieces and nephews. Funeral services for Mr. Baca were be held Thursday January 3, 2008 in the chapel of Oglethorpe Hill. The family received friends Thursday January 3, 2008 at H.M. Patterson & Son Oglethorpe Hill, Atlanta, GA.

As the Founder of the IILG I am well aware of the many contributions that Paul made to the guild over the years. He will be missed by us all and we know he awaits us in that great leather shop in heaven.
- - Thom Keach (Hominy, OK), IILG Founder

Although I never met Paul in person, we had many lively conversations by phone on IILG guild matters and life in general. I will miss talking to him greatly. I considered him a very good friend.
- - Pat Hay (Cary, MS), IILG Treasurer

My deepest sympathies to Paul's family and friends.
He will continue to be missed by the members of the International Internet Leathercrafters' Guild (IILG) where he had been a member since 1999 & also served on various committees.
May God bless & comfort you.

- - Ruth Barkley (AZ), IILG Webmaster

Paul will be missed by everyone in the IILG. He was always willing to share ideas and offer helpful suggestions. Our prayers go out to his family.
- - Billy Perdue (Patrick), IILG Member

My sincerest condolences to the Baca family and anyone who knew him. I am Michael Hughes,the son of member and guild builder Ben Hughes, who passed June 27th 2007
- - Michael Hughes (Jenkintown, PA)

Larry J. Huston

May 23, 1947 - December 24, 2008

IILG Member from May 2005

Larry Huston Tribute

Billy W. Wootres Sr.

April 13, 1927 - September 07, 2009

IILG Member from May 2007

Billy Wootres Tribute

Marion Alice Wilkes

January 18, 1944 - September 24, 2009

Beloved wife of Jim Wilkes, IILG Member

Marion Alice (nee Seip) Wilkes passed away peacefully with family and friends by her side at Lisaard House on Thursday, September 24, 2009.

Beloved wife of Jim Wilkes (IILG Member). Loving sister of Ron Seip (Diane) of Kitchener. Much loved Mum of Megan Wilkes (Rich), Amy Lightfoot (Eric) and Elizabeth Wilkes. Doting and caring Gramma of Alexander, Madison, Quinlan, and Rebekah all of Hespeler. Marion will be sadly missed by Kathy Clegg (Wilf) and many of her close family, friends and pets.

Marion was a life time and active member of Saint John's Anglican Church, a member of the OES Chapter #208 and the Addison Women's Choir.

Friends were invited to celebrate Marion's life at a memorial service held at Saint John's Anglican Church, Preston, Saturday, October 3, 2009.

"Carol" Virginia King Zaharek

August 22, 1944 - October 31, 2009

IILG Member from May 1998

Beloved wife of Frank Zaharek, IILG Member

Virginia King Zaharek, 65, of Hopewell passed away Saturday, October 31, 2009 in Johnston Willis Medical Center.

Mrs. Zaharek was a retired machine operator with Philip Morris and a member of Emmanuel Baptist Church.

She is survived by her husband, Frank J. Zaharek, Jr., three sons, Frank J. Zaharek, III and his wife, Melissa, Christoper J. Zaharek and Nathaniel J. Zaharek, six grandchildren, Chelsae E. Zaharek, Frank J. Zaharek, IV, Christopher J. Zaharek, Jr., Brandon J. and Ashton J. Zaharek and Victoria Deer, her parents, Nathaniel Hartwell and Erma Daley King, brother, Nathaniel H. King, Jr. and a sister, Valerie Joyner.

David Stanley Offutt

May 15, 1940 - December 10, 2009

IILG Member from June 1999

Mr. David Stanley Offutt, 69, passed away on Thursday, December 10, 2009, at Moses Cone Hospital.

A memorial service was held Thursday, December 17, at Friendly Avenue Church of Christ.

Mr. Offutt was born on May 15, 1940, in Vincennes, Indiana. He was of the Protestant faith and was a member of Friendly Avenue Church of Christ. Mr. Offutt retired in 1992 from Lab Corp as a medical technician. He was a veteran, having served in the United States Air Force. He enjoyed leather crafting, biking and bird watching. Mr. Offutt was a member of Piedmont Bird Club, and past member of Julian Lions Club.

Survivors include his wife, Judy Rozanne Offutt; parents, William and Alberta Day Offutt; daughter, Renee Godoy and husband, Frank, of Pleasant Garden; son, Scott Offutt and wife, Nicole, of San Diego, California; sister, Judy Lahr of Indiana; grandchildren, Elyssa Godoy and Caillou Godoy; and his beloved K-9 friend, Angel.

Forbis & Dick, Pleasant Garden Chapel, assisted the Offutt family.

Jim Lewis

August 12, 1946 - April 5, 2010

IILG Member from August 2003

Jim Lewis, 63, died Monday evening, April 5, 2010, surrounded by his wife Rena, son Dylan, daughter-in-law Jen, and several close family friends.

Jim was born in Florence, Arizona, on August 12, 1946, the last of eight children and the first born in a hospital. He retired in 2008 from Miramar Community College in San Diego and lived in El Cajon, CA, and Sedona, AZ.

Jim's professions and pastimes ranged from cowboy to hippie, copper miner, diesel mechanic, Oak Creek Canyon fisherman, Professor of Diesel Technology, accomplished leather craftsman, SASS shooter with the alias Gila, and two-time national champion of cowboy trap shooting.

He and Rena were married 41 years, and of all his accomplishments, Jim was most proud of his son Dylan and his granddaughter Kendall Hope Lewis, age one.

He leaves behind his brother Dudley, sister-in-law Myra, and six other brothers and sisters. Jim also leaves behind his animal companions: Rosie, Ruby, Lizzie, Dot, and Red.

A brief Service was held April 17th, at St. Alban's Episcopal Church in El Cajon, CA. After the Service, as Jim wished, family and friends were invited to a party to celebrate his life.

William "Bill" R. Reis

March 19, 1937 - May 12, 2010

Co-Owner of The Leather Crafters & Saddlers Journal
Longtime Friend to IILG

Bill Reis Tribute

Gael Arens

February 27, 1956 - June 6, 2010

IILG Member from March 2006

Gael Arens passed away on Sunday at her home in Eagle (Colorado) surrounded by her family after a courageous, two-year battle with cancer. She was 54.

Gael was born on Feb. 27,1956, in Leadville, to Bert and Phyllis Williams. The family later moved to Kremmling, Colorado, where Gael attended high school.

Gael was a skilled leather crafter by trade and enjoyed making leather gifts for friends and family. Gael also enjoyed the outdoors, gardening, cooking legendary big meals, and animals of all kinds, especially dogs, horses and birds.

Gael was preceded in death by her mom and dad and her son, James.

Gael is survived by her husband, Glenn Arens, of Eagle; sons Chris (Jenny) Moffat and Ken Moffat; sister Brenda (Steve Rocky) Williams; brothers Pat (Geneva) Williams and Mike Williams; and all of her dogs and animal friends. Gael also will be missed by her mother-in-law, Linda Arens, of Chicago, Brian (Julie) Arens, of Chicago, and numerous family members and friends.

A memorial for Gael Arens was held on Thursday, July 15, 2010, at the Brush Creek Pavillion in Eagle Ranch. A time to celebrate Gael's life with some stories and memories shared with everyone.

Dave Torix

January 31, 1966 - October 2, 2010

Longtime IILG Member & previous Webmaster

Dave Torix passed away this morning (October 2, 2010) from heart related issues. He was born January 31, 1966 in Moscow Idaho. He is survived by Sandra his wife and 5 siblings. Dave joined the IILG and also was active in PSLAC-East, the local Spokane chapter of Puget Sound Leather Artisans Co-op.

At one point in his leather career, Dave worked for Hickman's Saddlery in Post Falls before becoming a long haul trucker with his current employer Interstate Distributors Trucking. Even trucking didn't stop his interest in leather work as he carried his tools wherever he drove. In fact two weeks ago he was helping us with classes at the Spokane Leather Factory.

He will be missed..
Ken Bush, IILG Member

Dave was indeed a good man. Some of you may recall he was one of our earlier guild members and did a lot to help us grow. He also did some work on the web site. A good friend and leather artist. He will be missed!
- - Thom Keach, IILG Founder

I remember this man very well! My condolences!
- - Opel, IILG Member

I am sorry to hear that, Dave was a really good guy.
- - WC, IILG Member

Phil LeDuc

June 24, 1948 - December 22, 2010

IILG Member from January 1998

Phil LeDuc Tribute

Marvin Labsch

July 27, 1951 - February 23, 2011

IILG Member from June 1999

Ted Anderson

1952 - July 2, 2011

IILG Member from March 2010

Blanche Byrne

July 1, 1931 - July 8, 2011

IILG Member from April 2000

Bonnie L. Dunnewind

January 1, 1944 - January 18, 2012

IILG Member from November 2007

Gary Z. Lyon

January 4, 1957 - June 4, 2012

IILG Member from August 2011

Gary Z. Lyon Age 55, was born on January 4, 1957 and died June 4, 2012. He was a self made leather artist and loved what he did. He influenced many in the leather and tool industry to be creative and to follow their dreams. He is survived by his mother, Lena Carr; son, Billie James Lyon; daughter, Maxine Marie Vigil; many brothers and sisters; and companion of 17 years, Anna Marie Madrid. Gary will be greatly missed and his art will continue to inspire many. "I was not the lion, but it fell to me to give the lion's roar."

Ernst Winter

passed away 2012

IILG Member from November 2007

Billy R Perdue

October 16, 1952 - October 10, 2014

IILG Member from April 2005

Vickie Lynn Baker

January 10, 1953 - December 7, 2014

IILG Member from September 2005

Vickie Lynn Baker of Little Rock, Arkansas went to be with the Lord on Sunday, December 7, 2014. She was born on January 10, 1953 in Delhi, Louisiana to the late Edward Ray Long and Betty Jo Hartzog Long. She was a member of the Eagles Club and was their state treasurer. She loved her dog, Dixie, loved her family, loved her leather work; loved all the members of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Club and loved helping people.

She was preceded in death by her parents; and brother, James Long.

She is survived by her husband of 12 years, Wayne Baker; son, Shannon Rist (Debra); stepson, Sam Baker; stepdaughter, Christy Vlcek; eight grandchildren; one great grandchild; sisters, Linda Gregurek (Ken); Joy Botts (Bill) and a host of family and friends.

"I know that Vickie touched many lives and there are many friends that have a little hole in their lives because she is gone. For me, memories of Vickie will always have a smile or a laugh. Her nickname for me was Obiwan. My prayer for her family and all that loved her is that the light that she brought to your life will always shine in your memories of her." -- Jim Linnell

Shawn W. Zoladz

May 25, 1978 - August 11, 2015

IILG Member from June 2004

Shawn W. Zoladz, age 37, was born on May 25, 1978 in Chicago, IL and departed on August 11, 2015. The family was assisted by Christian Funeral Home, Chicago, IL. Funeral services were Saturday August 15 at Midwest Bible Church, Chicago IL.

Shawn was the owner and operator of Major Productions from January 2002, manufacturing hand made custom leather goods. All items were hand made by Shawn, including wallets, belts, purses, whips, leather jewelry, motorcycle seats, saddle bags, masonic items, knight templar items, scottish rite items, flasks. He professed that, "Leather working is my God given talent."

Jim Hay

August 13, 1940 - November 8, 2016

IILG Member from April 2000

It is with profound sadness that I inform you that Jim Hay has passed away. He was our long-time friend, IILG Member, and Leather Artist Extraordinaire. Words are not adequate to express our loss.

Pat (Jim's wife) wrote, "Jim is finally at peace. He passed away early this morning. (Tuesday, November 8, 2016)
Jim will be cremated and there will be no service as he requested. I have been prepared as much as you can be for awhile now. I am ok.
I just want to thank you all for being our friends and caring for us.
Jim and I treasure our leather friends. Jim may not be with us but he passed his swivel knife and bargrounders to our daughter Rebecca who will carry on where he left off.

From the Hay's daughter, Becca, "This morning my daddy went to sleep for the last time. There will be no more hurting, no more pain, no more worry for the greatest man I have ever known; for my daddy. He fought a long, courageous fight but cancer won. Until I see you again daddy, I will go on sharing and caring like you taught me to do. I know you are watching over me daddy, and I will draw comfort from knowing that each little trip or stumble or turn around I make, you are up there rooting for me. I love you daddy and miss you more than I ever imagined possible."

IILG Copyright

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