My Bio by Gary Maddox


I started collecting rocks when I was 12 years old, growing up in Jacksonville, Florida. My best friend had moved down from Nebraska, and had a cool rock collection which piqued my interest. The first rock I self-collected, a nice rounded piece of “red sandstone”, turned out to be a water-worn brick fragment, so I knew right then that I had a lot to learn!

I (mis)spent much of my youth reading everything I could get my hands on relating to geology and mineral collecting. My brother R.D. (who also posts to Rock Net) was a hard-core mineral collector by this time (still is), and since our family spent parts of every summer in Western North Carolina, the two of us would spend many hours collecting in the area mines. Back in those days, we were allowed to enter the non-working areas of the active Spruce Pine alaskite quarries. Our parents would drop us off, and pick us up a few hours later. The quarry truck drivers would pick up colorful specimens from the active workings, and bring them down to us! We built up our mineral collections by swapping Florida agatized coral for North Carolina mineral specimens in the Swap Room at the annual Spruce Pine Show each August. I still have many of these specimens in my collection – many impossible to collect today.

My interest in mineralogy eventually steered me in the direction of a career choice, and years later find myself working for the state of Florida as a hydrogeologist. Most of my weekends are spent field collecting. I have recently been involved with Mickey Cecil in commercial mining of calcite-crystallized invertebrate fossils at Rucks’ Pit in South Florida. I am lucky to have a wife (Lory) and daughter (Gena) who have also been infected with Rock Pox and continue to support my peculiar obsession.

- Gary Maddox