New York—Mitchell Portnoy, longtime president of the New York Mineralogical Club, died Oct. 15 after battling cancer. He was 63 years old.

Portnoy was a club member for 25 years, its bulletin editor for 20 and its president for about 15, during which time he built a thriving organization.  

According to an online memorial to Portnoy, he was committed to science education and gemology’s relevance to the wider geosciences, an emphasis reflected in his profound Mineralogical Club involvement and the regular bulletins he put together.

He organized the club’s archives to make them more easily accessible for future generations and took pleasure in designing its note cards and posters, with graphic artistry being one of his strengths.

“In truth, he made himself available to anyone and everyone. He was a very warm, kind-hearted and gifted man,” the club said in an email.  

Beyond the world of gems and minerals, Portnoy also liked movies, music, collecting stamps, the Yankees and art history.

And, though he was one of a select few tasked with deciding which graphic art posters hung in New York City’s subway trains and elevators, he preferred to ride his bicycle to get around the city.

“It is hard to appreciate how wide a net was cast by this one man,” the club said. “He will be sorely missed.

“Everything about him, from his special hand-crafted gifts of appreciation for our speakers, mineral locality games, all the way to his sing-along songs played before our club lectures, made him special to us. His generosity made him special to many, many others.”


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