BAM Biographies:   Chuck Trantham


One of BAM's most affable and easy-going members, Chuck Trantham was born in rural Koshkonong, Missouri. He spent most of his childhood in Malta Bend, Missouri, graduating from Malta Bend High School in 1953. In the mid-1950s, he went to Colorado State University at Fort Collins, obtaining his BS in Geology in 1958. While in Fort Collins, Chuck became interested in collecting minerals. He then went to the University of Oregon, Eugene, where he did graduate work in geology. While there, he met his lifelong friend and fellow collector, Al McGuinness. Al would become Chuck's mentor for collecting and, later, for dealing mineral specimens. Together they collected many zeolite localities in Oregon and Washington. Later they both moved with their families to the San Francisco bay area from which home base they collected at many California and Nevada localities.

In 1961 Chuck went to work for the Army Corps of Engineers and in 1964 for Bechtel Corporation where he worked for 9 years on national and international engineering assignments. During the 1970's and 80's he worked for several smaller engineering firms in the Bay Area as well as doing independent consulting. His specialty was engineering geology for foundation studies. Notable projects included Washington's Skookumchuck Dam and the Berkeley Hills tunnel of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system. He has done engineering assignments in Canada, Nicauragua and Zaire as well as California, Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Tennessee and Arkansas.

Chuck's longtime collecting partners included Al McGuinness, Steve Pullman of Reno, and Jeanne Mager of Los Altos, Charles Chesterman, Bob Philips and Jack Parnau. Inspired by Al, he began selling mineral specimens under the name "CT Minerals" in 1988. His personal collection includes a collection of self-collected thumbnail specimens and an even larger reference thumbnail collection. Chuck is also an appraiser of mineral specimens for tax purposes. He joined BAM in 1974 and continues to be a member and avid field collector. He is also a member of the San Francisco Gem & Mineral Society, the Sequoia Gem & Mineral Society, the Northern California Mineralogical Association and the Crystal Gazers mineral club.

Each year Chuck returns to the family home in Missouri to make apple butter. His greatest aspiration is to become a product spokesman for Hostess Twinkies.

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