2012 NIA Hall of Fame Inductee
February of 2010, the insulator hobby lost one of its finest jewels, Marilyn
Albers. Marilyn was born in
Libertyville, Illinois in 1927. In
1945, she met “the love of her life” Bill at the University of Colorado in
Boulder from which they both graduated.
They married in 1949. Bill’s
work in oil exploration took them throughout the United States and Canada and
eventually to Houston, Texas.
They were blessed with six children, and she became the grandmother of
twenty grandchildren and the great grandmother to five. Marilyn’s hobbies included playing classical guitar, Girl
Scouting, running, sewing, and collecting insulators. She was an incredible hostess to all who visited and, in the
finest Texas tradition, was one of the most gracious ladies you could ever know.
In the decades preceding her passing she was one of the most influential
and prodigious contributors in the history of insulator collecting.
collection began in 1973, like for so many of us, with a stop at an antique
store. There was a window display
of many colorful glass insulators and husband Bill gifted her three pieces for
her birthday. Bill probably came to
wonder what type of monster he had unleashed, after such a harmless beginning,
because Marilyn’s insulator collection would ultimately number in the
with a general glass collection, Marilyn subsequently developed an affinity for
foreign insulators of all types and became heavily involved in collecting,
researching, and documenting all she could discover about them.
She traveled throughout the world visiting collectors, acquiring
specimens, and conducting research. In
1981, with the help of Woody Woodward, Marilyn compiled the book “Glass
Insulators from Outside North America,”
a companion book to “Worldwide Porcelain
Insulators, which she co-authored with Jack Tod the following year. 1986 saw the publication of “Glass
Insulators from Outside North America, First Revision” (Albers/Woodward)
and “Worldwide Porcelain Insulators,
1986 Supplement” (Albers/Tod).
These references remain the standard works on the subject of foreign
insulators thirty-plus years later.
addition to her books, Marilyn became the Foreign Insulators editor for Crown
Jewels of the Wire magazine in July of 1979.
She continued to serve in this demanding role until December of 2002, a
period of over 23 years. The depth
of her commitment can best be realized by searching the Crown Jewels online
archives where the name Marilyn Albers produces an astonishing 379 hits!
served the hobby in many ways other than her research and writing.
She was active in several local clubs as well as the NIA which she served
as Awards & Recognitions Committee Chair (1980 -1982), as our only lady
President (1982 – 1984) and as Central Region Vice-President (1991 – 1994).
has been duly recognized for her contributions having received the NIA
Outstanding Service Award in 1982 and together with Bill, the NIA’s highest
honor, Lifetime Membership, in 1988. The
NIA has also honored Marilyn by naming the award for the best competitive
display at the National Show in the “Foreign” category the “Marilyn Albers
assisted with many local shows and was a co-host of the two NIA National Shows
held in Houston, Texas, first in 1988 and again in 1994.
Marilyn was also a prolific exhibitor at dozens of shows where she
consistently developed some of the most creative displays ever assembled.
She was a selfless mentor to countless collectors who sought her advice
Bill has stated: “Joining Jack Tod and Woody Woodward in the NIA Hall of Fame
place’s her in the company of two men that nurtured her love of the hobby.
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