As a native of Wisconsin, Roger learned about agate collecting as a child when engaged in collecting Lake Superior agate in gravel along the Mississippi River and the shores of Lake Superior in upper Michigan. Acquired some college credits in geology, but serious agate collecting began in 1976 when inspired by a trip to the western US. The trip included the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota and the purchase of Midwest Gem Trails (1953 ed.).
June Zeitner’s field guide included a description of a very beautiful agate that could be collected in the badlands and grasslands along the east side of the Black Hills. Zeitner’s description of these agates, named for the small town of Fairburn, SD, immediately attracted his attention and began a lifelong obsession with Fairburn Agate.
Over the next twenty years of collecting in the Black Hills and research at the South Dakota School of Mines, Roger focused on discovering the Fairburn’s place of origin and host formation. Roger’s culmination of the research and field work was presented in the first book in 1998, South Dakota’s Fairburn Agate. Additional books were published in 2002 and 2009 detailing significant research and field work which resulted in a new proposed theory of deposition of Fairburn agate.