J. PHILIP BERQUIST 1926-2001
- MM 1948, WM 1959 Dalhousie
- DDGM, Waltham 5, 1970-1971
- Charter Member 1983, WM 1986, The Masters
- Grand Tyler 1968-1969
- Deputy Grand Master 1973
- Grand Master 1981-1983
- Grand Treasurer 1991-1993
From TROWEL, Summer 1983, Page 14:
Meet the Grand Master
J. Philip Berquist
The third year of his term as our Grand Master will be written well in the annals of Massachusetts Freemasonry. Most Worshipful J. Philip Berquist has had little time for his family life during our 250th Anniversary year.
Born in Cambridge in 1926, but from infancy to the present time Newton has been his home. He attended Newton's public schools until his third high school year, entering Coburn-Oak Grove preparatory at Waterville, ME, from which he graduated in 1943. With only one semester completed at Colby College in Waterville, our Grand Master answered the call to military service in World War II. He enlisted in the Navy, serving with distinction in the South Pacific as a medic attached to the Marine Corps. From a base at Guam the PBY twin-engine seaplanes with medics evacuated casualties from Iwo Jima, Okinawa and other battlefields. He returned to military duty during the Korean War.
Brother Berquist returned to Colby where he graduated with a A.B. degree and later from Tufts University at Medford, Mass., Where he received his Masters. He pursued advanced studies at several New England educational facilities.
First dividends from his education came as an English teacher and department head at Bridgton Academy in Maine. He left that institution to enter business with the Pennsylvania Railroad. Government service beckoned him when appointed assistant city clerk in Newton. His boss was our Brother Monte Basbas, later mayor of Newton and now a district court judge. The Grand Master shifted from the clerk's office to the assessor's office in Newton and next to Waltham where he was chairman of the board of assessors. The knowledge gained as an assessor qualified him in his professional status as an independent appraiser for banking institutions and real estate firms. He has held many offices in state and county assessor associations.
In 1948 J. Philip Berquist petitioned Dalhousie Lodge of Newtonville. Admitted and passed, he was raised by his dad, Wor. John H. Berquist who presided over Dalhousie Lodge in 1931.
Appointed to the line of officers, J. Philip Berquist reached the Oriental Chair where he served as Master 1959-60. Most Worshipful Herbert H. Jaynes appointed him District Deputy of the Waltham Fifth District, 1970-71.
He was Deputy Grand Master in 1973 when Most Worshipful Donald W. Vose was Grand Master. A member of Charters and By-Laws Committee of Grand Lodge, he later served on the Building Committee of the addition to Juniper Hall at Masonic Home in Charlton.
Our Grand Master is proud of his membership in the Order of DeMolay, making him the second Grand Master of our Grand Lodge with experience in that youth organization. He has received the coveted Legion of Honor, is an honorary member of the International Supreme Council and member of The DeMolay Lodge of Boston.
A member of Triad Royal Arch Chapter, St. Paul Royal Arch Chapter and the Massachusetts Chapter of Research, he is a member of Boston Council, Royal and Select Masters and is a Past Commander of St. Bernard Commandery No. 12, Knights of Templars, of Boston. In the Scottish Rite he is Past Thrice Potent Master, Boston Lafayette Lodge of Perfection, and Aide to Sovereign Grand Commander Illustrious Stanley F. Maxwell, 33rd degree.
A long-time member of the Temple Guard, Potenate's Aide and Outer Guard in Aleppo Temple of the Shrine, Noble J. Philip Berquist is a former director of Aleppo's Past Master's Association and the Royal Order of Jesters. A 33rd degree Mason, he was secretary-general of Masonic Rosicrucians in the United States.
His Swedish sense of humor has done much to ease the burden carried by the Grand Master. His wife, Nancie, is a childhood sweetheart, romancing her from the fourth grade of schooling. They are proud parents of sons Peter and David. Peter is a member of Dalhousie Lodge.
Freemasonry has gained much from the 35 years of service and commitment of our Grand Master. His personality has done much to not only popularize himself, but to cast a warm and friendly attitude among the Craft to the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts.
Grand Master of the people.
Here Most Worshipful Berquist spends a leisurely moment with a Minuteman while in parade.
FROM PROCEEDINGS, 2001
From Proceedings, Page 2001-149:
Brother Berquist was born December 11, 1926 in Cambridge, Massachusetts and died on October 24, 2001 at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. His passing is a great loss to all Freemasonry, his family, and the general community.
He was the son of Jobn Henry and Arabelle (Pinkham) Berquist. A life long resident of Auburndale, he attended the Newton public schools and graduated from Coburn Classical Institute n 1944, received - a Bachelor of Arts degree at Colby College 1949, and a Master's degree in Education from Tufts University. He was a teacher of English at Newton High School and at Bridgeton Academy in North Bridgeton, Maine. He served as Assistant Dean and subsequently Dean of the Annual Summer School at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. During World War II and the Korean War, he served in the United States Navy as a Medic attached to the Marine Corps, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander, and was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
In 1954 he became Assistant City Clerk of Newton, serving in this capacity for six years and then for thirteen years as a member of the Board of Assessors. In 1973 he became Chairman of the Board of Assessors in the City of Waltham, retiring in 1981. He was President of both the Middlesex County Assessors' Association and the Massachusetts Assessors' Association, a former Secretary of the Northeastern Regional Assessors' Association of the United States and Canada. He lectured extensively in these areas on assessing and appraising real and personal property. In addition to being an independent fee appraiser, he wrote many articles on these subjects. He also served as the Massachusetts representative to the International Association of Assessing Offrcers.
Brother Berquist was a former communicant and Vestryman of St. John' s Episcopal Church in Newtonville and later a Vestryman and Treasurer of St. Mary's Parish in Newton Lower Falls. He was a Licensed Lay Eucharistic Minister of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. He served on the Board of the Newton Tubertulosis and Health Association, the Newton Family Service Bureau, the Advisory Board of the Greater Boston Salvation Army, the Board of Govemors of the Gore Place Society and was Municipal Chairman of the Greater Boston United Fund. He was a member of the Task Force for the Redevelopment of the Downtown Boston Neighborhood Chairman of the Municipal Red Cross Blood Donor Program as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the Auburndale Co-operative Bank and the Village Capital Corporation.
On June 18, 1949, at Newton, Massachusetts, he married Nancie R. Jewett, who predeceased him in September 1999. In January 2001, he was united in marriage to Barbara Carter who survives along with his two sons, J. Peter and David C. Berquist, both members of the Craft, and three grandchildren.
Brother Berquist had a long and distinguished career in Freemasonry:
SYMBOLIC: Raised a Master Mason by his father, Wor. John H. Berquist, in Dalhousie Lodge, A. F. & A. M., Newtonville, Massachusetts, on March 10, 1948, served as its Master in 1959-60 during the Centenary year, followed by seven years as Lodge Secretary. He was the Lodge Representative to the Board of Masonic Relief, as well as the District Representative to that Board. A Trustee of the Lodge Charity Fund, he was elected President of the Masonic Secretaries' Association of Massachusetts in 1965 and was the founder and first President of the Newton Masonic Club.
Appointed Grand Tyler of the Grand Lodge for the years 1968 and 1969, he was then named District Deputy Grand Master for the Waltham 5th Masonic District for the years 1970 and 1971. A member of the Charters and By-Laws Committee and the Advisory Finance Committee of the Grand Lodge, he was appointed Deputy Grand Master for the year 1973 and in December 1980, was elected Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, serving through 1983.
During his term as Grand Master, the Grand Lodge celebrated its 250th anniversary, and he established Trowel Magazine, now recognized as one of the leading Masonic publications. Following his term as Grand Master he was a member of the Board of Directors of Grand Lodge and served as Grand Treasurer 1991-1993. He was the Grand Representativi of the Grand Lodge of Sweden near the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, serving in this capacity for a number of years. A charter member and Past Master of The Masters Lodge, A. F. & A. M. in Newtonville, he was instrumental in its founding in 1983. He was awarded the Henry Price Medal for distinguished service to the Grand Lodge in 1973 and received the 50-year Veterans' medal in 1998.
CAPITULAR: Exalted in Newton Chapter, R. A. M. (now Triad Chapter) on January 28, 1967. Affrliated with St. Paul's and St. Andrew's Chapters and, was a member of the Massachusetts Chapter of Research. He was awarded the Paul Revere medal by the Grand Royai Arch Chapter.
CRYPTIC: Greeted in Boston Council of Royal and Select Master Masons on May 29, 1969.
CHIVALRIC: Knighted in St. Bernard Commandery No. 12, K. T., on April 12, 1967, serving as Commander in 1972-73, and a member of the Grand Commandery Scholarship Committee. He was the Grand Representative for the Grand Commandery of Vermont, near the Grand Commandery of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
SCOTTISH RITE: Completed the degrees of the Scottish Rite in the Valley of Boston on October 29, 1960 and immediately became active in Boston Lafayette Lodge of Perfection, serving as Thrice Potent Master in 1972-74. He was an active degree worker in Mt. Olivet Chapter of Rose Croix and Massachusetts Consistory, was Director of the Valley's Scottish Rite Advancement Program and in 1970 was the recipient of the Meritorious Service Award from the Massachusetts Council of Deliberation.
SUPREME COUNCIL: He was created a Sovereign Grand Inspector General, 33°, Honorary Member of the Supreme Council, on September 26, 1973, at Detroit, Michigan, serving as an Aide to the Sovereign Grand Commander from 1977-86. Crowned an Active Member at Cincinnati, Ohio, on September 25, 1986, he was appointed Deputy for Massachusetts on March 18, 1991 serving through the Annual Meeting held in Boston, August 26, 1996. Soon after the first Scottish Rite Masonic Learning Center was established in Newtonville, Massachusetts, supported by the Valley of Boston. Brother Berquist volunteered to head up the jurisdiction-wide effort to expand this charity with the aim of having approximately sixty leaming centers scattered throughout the fifteen-state territory. He gave unstintingly of his time and administrative talents in helping the various Valleys to bring these centers into fruition. As a tribute to him the Newtonville Leaming Center will be renamed "The J. Philip Berquist Learning Center for Children."
Brother Berquist was a member of numerous Masonic groups and took an active interest in many: The Royal Order of Scotland; St. Matthew's Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine where he was the Puissant Sovereign in 1990; Damascus Tabernacle, Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests; What Cheer and Mayflower York Rite Colleges and in 1986 received the Purple Cross as an Associate Regent of the York Rite Sovereign College. He was currently the Senior Substitute Magus of the High Council of the Masonic Rosicrucian Society in the United States and a member of the Massachusetts College. He was one of only a few in the United States to have the Honorary Ninth Degree of the Society in England conferred upon him. A member of the Correspondence Circle of Quatuor Coronati Lodge of London; the Philalethes Society; The Hellenic Square and Compass Club; the Maine Lodge of Research; Aleppo Temple, A. A. 0. N. M. S.; Boston Court No. 103, Royal Order of Jesters; and an Emeritus Member of the Board of Governors of the Shriners Hospital for Children - Boston Burn Unit. He also served on the Board of Directors ofthe Learning Disabilities Association of Massachusetts.
A few of his other memberships include the University Club of Boston, Brae Burn Country Club, Delta Upsilon Alumni Club of Boston where he served as President, the Canopy Club, the Society in Dedham for Apprehending Horse Thieves, the New England Chapter of National Sojourners and Bunker Hill Camp, Heros of '76.
A memorial service was held on Saturday, November 3, 2001, at the Wellesley Hills Congregational Church with the Reverend and Brother Peter G. O. chase, Rector of Saint Mary's Episcopal Church where Brother Berquist was an active member, assisted by the R.W. And Reverend John R. S. Higgins, and R.W. Shant L. Chebookjian, as Lector. At the beginning of the service the Grand Master, M. W. Fred K. Bauer, offered words of welcome. At the conclusion of the service, the National Colors were presented to Mrs. Berquist by R.W. Clark B. Loth. The ushers were the Past Commanders of Saint Bemard Commandery No. 12, K. T., and the Honorary Pallbearers were the Past Grand Masters of Massachusetts. The very large attendance included several Active Members of the Supreme Council, headed by the Sovereign Grand Commander, Ill. Robert O. Ralston, 33°, many Honorary Membeis, other Masonic associates, business associates, family and friends.
Immediately following the service all were invited to join the family for a festive remembrange of Brother Berquist at the home of William and Deborah Carter Roman in Dover. A private funeral service and interment were held at the convenience of the family. We close this tribute to Brother Berquist by quoting one of his most heasured prayers: Oh Lord, protect and support us all the day long of this busy life until the shadows lengthen and evening comes, and our work on earth is done. Then in Thy mercy grant us a safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at the last.
FROM TROWEL, 2001
From TROWEL, Winter 2001, Page 2:
MOST WORSHIPFUL J. PHILIP BERQUIST 1926-2001
Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, 1981-1983,
Founder of TROWEL Magazine
Brother Berquist was born on December 11, 1926, in Cambridge. Massachusetts, son of John Henry and Arabelle Pinkham Berquist. His father was a prominent and well-known Mason in Newton, Past Master and Secretary of Dalhousie Lodge in that city. Having attended the Newton Public Schools and graduating from Coburn in Waterville, Maine, Brother Berquist entered Colby College from which he graduated in 1949. His college career was interrupted by service in the United States Navy during World War II as a Pharmacist's Mate attached to the U. S. Marine Corps in the South Pacific Theater. He received a Master's Degree from Tufts University and was recalled to service during the Korean War.
He was a teacher of English at Newton High School, was head of the English Department at Bridgton Academy in North Bridgton. Maine, and taught creative writing at Westbrook Junior College. He taught several courses and was appointed Assistant Dean and subsequently Dean at one of the summer schools at University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He was employed by the City of Newton as Assistant City Clerk and as a member of the Board of Assessors serving as its Chairman prior to becoming Chairman of the Board of Assessors in the adjacent City of Waltham. He was a Past President of the Middlesex County and Massachusetts Assessors' Associations, as well as having served in regional and national offices. He was the owner and principal in a real estate and personal property appraisal firm bearing his name, lectured extensively and wrote many articles on these subjects. He was a licensed real estate appraiser and real estate broker in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Brother Berquist was a former communicant and vestryman at St. John's Episcopal Church in Newtonville and was an active member, former Treasurer and Lay Eucharistic Minister at St. Mary's Parish in Newton Lower Falls. He served as a Board Member of the Newton Tuberculosis and Health Association, the Newton Family Service Bureau and had been Municipal Chairman of the Greater Boston United Fund, member of the Task Force for the Redevelopment of the Downtown Boston Neighborhood and Chairman of the Municipal Blood Donor Program. He was for many years a member of the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army in Boston, the Board of Governors of Gore Place and a member of the Board of Directors of the Auburndale Co-operative Bank and Village Capital Corporation. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Learning Disabilities Association of Massachusetts and a member of the Governor's Advisory Committee on Manufactured Housing.
A Senior DeMolay, our Brother was an Active Legionnaire of Honor, an Emeritus Member of the Supreme Council, and former Chairman and Secretary of the Trustees of the DeMolay Foundation of Massachusetts. He served for many years as Chairman of its Scholarship Committee.
Raised in 1948 in Dalhousie Lodge by his father, he served as Master in 1959-60 during its Centennial Year and as Secretary for seven years following. He was Lodge Representative to the Board of Masonic Relief. Trustee of the Charity Fund. President of the Masonic Secretaries'Association of Massachusetts, and founder and first president of the Newton Masonic Club.
Brother Berquist was appointed Grand Tyler in 1968. District Deputy Grand Master for the years 1970-1971 and Deputy Grand Master in 1973. He was Grand Representative from the Grand Lodge of Sweden near the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, Proxy for Sojourners Lodge of Panama and served on the Charters and Bylaws, Advisory Finance. Masonic Awareness Committees and Building Committees. He was elected Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts in 1980 and served three years in that office in the years 1981. 1982 and 1983, the latter being the 250th Anniversary of the Grand Lodge. As Grand Master he became the third ranking Mason in the world because of the antiquity of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, the oldest in the Western Hemisphere, and third only to the Grand Lodges of England and Ireland. During his administration, TROWEL magazine came into print and is now recognized as one of the outstanding Masonic publications in the world. He served as its editor. Also, the Country Fair concept was added to the Grand Master's Day at the Masonic Home in 1981, attracting tens of thousands of members and their families to that facility. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Grand Lodge and the Masonic Home and as a Trustee of the Masonic Education and Charity Trust. He was the recipient of the Henry Price Medal from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, the Jeremy Cross Medal from the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire, the Pierpont Edwards Medal in Bronze from the Grand Lodge of Connecticut, the Christopher Champlin Medal from the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island, the Paul Revere Medal from the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Massachusetts and was appointed an Honorary Past Grand Master of Wyoming among many other honors and Honorary Memberships.
He was a Life Member of the Scottish Rite Bodies in the Valley of Boston, served as Thrice Potent Master of Boston Lafayette Lodge of Perfection, a Past Director of the Scottish Rite Advancement Program, an active Degree Worker in the Valley and received the Meritorious Service Award of the Massachusetts Council of Deliberation in 1970. He was created an Honorary Member of the Supreme Council, Thirty-third Degree in 1973 in Detroit and served as Aide to the Sovereign Grand Commander from 1977 to 1986, when he was coroneted an Active Member of the Supreme Council. He was appointed Deputy for Massachusetts in 1991. He relinquished that office in 1996 remaining as an Active Member. In 1993, he founded the first Scottish Rite Masonic Children's Learning Center in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction in the Greater Boston area for the treatment of dyslexia in children. The Supreme Council adopted this endeavor in 1994 at its Annual Session as the fourth charity for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, and Brother Berquist was elected as President of the Corporation. Since then thirty-five such Centers have opened in the fifteen state Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. In 1997, in Grand Rapids, he received the International Masonic Peace Prize from the Grand Lodge and Supreme Council of Argentina. He was the recipient of only the fourth Supreme Council Medal of Honor presented by Sovereign Grand Commander Robert O. Ralston, 33°, for "distinguished service to Freemasonry, country or humanity ... as the person responsible for the implementation of the first Children's Learning Center of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction." He was a Vice-president of the Children's Learning Center Corporation of our Supreme Council.
He held memberships in Triad, St. Andrews Chapters and Massachusetts Chapter of Research in Capitular Masonry. He was a Trustee and an Honorary Past Illustrious Master of Boston Council of Royal and Select Masters. He was a Past Commander of St. Bernard Commandery No. 12. Knights Templar and a member of the Educational Foundation of the Grand Commandery of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. He served as presiding officer in Damascus Tabernacle, Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests and St. Matthew's Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine. He was a member of What Cheer and Mayflower York Rite Colleges and in 1986 received the Purple Cross as an Associate Regent of the York Rite Sovereign College. He was a Past Master of The Masters Lodge which he founded. Brother Berquist was the Screening Committee Member for Massachusetts and an officer of the Royal Order of Scotland; a member of Massachusetts and Rhode Island Association of Knights Templar Commanders; Past District Deputies'Association of Massachusetts; Past Masters' Association of the Fifth Masonic District; Maine Lodge of Research; Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076 Correspondence Circle: The Philalethes Society; Aleppo Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S.; Boston Court, Royal Order of Jesters and an Emeritus Member of the Board of Governors of the Boston Burns Unit of the Shriners Hospitals.
He was the leader in the establishment of the first High Twelve Club in Massachusetts and was the recipient of the prestigious Founder's Award from High Twelve International in 1986. He was Deputy Supreme Magus of the High Council of the Masonic Rosicrucian Society in the United States, holder of the Grand Cross and one of very few to receive the Honorary Ninth Degree from the Society in England. He was a member of the Order of Knight Masons and also served as Prefect of the Northeast Prefecture of the Great Priory of America, C. B. C. S. He was a Charter Member of the Order of the Thistle and enjoyed Honorary Memberships in Melha and Abou Saad Temples of the Shrine; Valley of the Moon Lodge in David, Republic of Panama: High Twelve Club of Tokyo and several Rosicrucian Colleges in the United States.
Brother Berquist was a former member of the University Club of Boston; a member of Brae Burn Country Club, a Past President of the Delta Upsilon Alumni Club of Boston, a member of the Swedish Square and Compass Club, the Back Bay Square and Compasses Club, the Canopy Club, the Society in Dedham for the Apprehension of Horse Thieves, several Past Masters' Associations and Shrine Clubs, Mahded Grotto, New England Chapter of National Sojourners and Bunker Hill Camp, Heroes of '76, a member of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati and numerous other professional associations and societies.
Brother Berquist passed to the Celestial Lodge above on October 24, 2001. He was married over fifty years to the former Nancie R. Jewett of Newton who predeceased him in 1999, He is survived by his wife Barbara (Carter) and his two sons, Peter and David, both of whom are members of Dalhousie Lodge.
We will miss the "Old Secretary," he left us with a legacy which will endure forever.
FEAST OF ST. JOHN, DECEMBER 1972
From Proceedings, Page 1972-462:
Most Worshipful Grand Master, Distinguished Guests, and Brethren:
I am pleased to stand before you as the best kept secret of 1972. When the Most Worshipful Grand Master asked me to serve in this office he honored me more than he will ever know but he also gave me some cause to question his good judgment, which I previously had every reason to respect, and I truly had some reluctance and gave much thought before making my decision, primarily because of other Masonic commitments.
I did reason that although a Grand Master may not always be right he is never wrong and therefore I do stand before you tonight to assure you of my devotion to the Craft, my every effort for the good of Masonry during the coming year and in so doing am assured that I speak for each of your appointed officers, Most Worshipful Sir.
After examining the list of those who have served in this office, published annually in the Grand Lodge Proceedings, I feel much like a child among giants. Those giants include names such as Paul Revere, Thomas Sherrard Roy, Roscoe Pound, Joseph Webb, Joseph Earl Perry, Everett C. Benton, A. Neill Osgood, Andrew Gray Jenkins, Thomas Arnold Booth, and our Most Worshipful Grand Master, who today celebrates what I have been informed is his 39th birthday. Please join with me in singing Happy Birthday.
Incidentally, the Grand Master and I did not speak about our subjects tonight and he stole most of my speech, but I would like to say what I had on my mind, which closely parallels that which he has already spoken to you about.
More than ever before we need an appeal aimed at the youth of our country. Masonry needs public relations. Partly this has been supplied by a small booklet published by our Grand Lodge, "Masonry, A Way of Life." I ask that you give thought and perhaps put into action an idea which is not original with me, as follows.
Wear a Masonic emblem on your lapel for just a week and during that time be conscious of the presence of that emblem and the fact that you represent the great Fraternity for which it stands. By your actions and by your words during that period make that emblem a symbol of courtesy and compassion, of friendship and fraternity, of helpfulness, philanthropy, concern, interest and all that is good, and when that week is over you can reflect upon it and you will decide that life during that week was so good that you will continue because it is the only way to live and thoroughly enjoy life.
Edwin Markham wrote:
"There is a destiny that makes us brothers,
None goes his way alone.
All that we send into the lives of others
Comes back into our own."
in so doing am assured that I speak for each of your appointed officers, Most Worshipful Sir.
IN JAPAN, MARCH 1983
From Proceedings, Page 1983-36, at the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Japan:
Consider this, if you will, an important question to us all: "where is Masonry going?" Stop and think now, prediction is always a very difficult undertaking, especially when it involves the future! Think on that.
For too many years we have hidden our light under a bushel . . . the time has come to make that light a shining beacon for all to see. We must use the media: television, radio, newspapers, to tell our story. Those who have resisted publicity must realize that our future depends upon our relationship with the uninitiated.
You can muffle the drum, you can loosen the strings on the lyre, but who shall command the skylark not to sing! Our music is our influence for good among our fellowmen. It must be heard, now more than ever.
John Donne said, "No man is an island." Our Masonry in all its facets must work together as never before. And the fact that there are representatives here from many aspects of Masonry is indicative of that melding together. Aesop told the fable of the man with many sons who were constantly bickering and fighting. He called them together an place them before a faggot - untied. He handed each a stick and said, "Break it." They easily broke the stick. The father retired the faggot, the bundle of sticks, and said, "Now break them." In unity there is strength and that which benefits any part of Masonry, benefits all of Masonry.
I had an experience several months ago which had a substantial effect upon me and my attitude towards Freemasonry. I received a telephone call one afternoon requesting that I stop by the hospital room of a friend and Brother who was to undergo surgery the next morning. His wife indicated that he wished to see me prior to the operation. This man had preceded me as Master of our Lodge, had served as Treasurer while I was Secretary, and was also my District Deputy Grand Secretary during my two years as District Deputy Grand Master.
He was a plastering contractor by trade, a craftsman, and for a man whose formal education had been limited, he was well-versed and extremely well-read. While sitting with him in his hospital room, many memories came back to me and a far greater of insight into the real meaning of friendship, brotherhood, commitment. We talked . . . and we were silent. He requested that should anything happen the following day, that I conduct a Masonic funeral service. This commenced a train of thought leading to my speaking of it now.
I ask each of you to reflect for a moment on how you became a member of this our Craft. What prompted you to seek admission? What inspired your desire to join Freemasonry? What was the motivating force in your taking that first step?
As long as I can remember, my Dad was involved in Masonry, and particularly, in his own and my Lodge. I was five years old when he served as Master of that Lodge over fifty years ago. He subsequently served as Assistant Secretary and Secretary. It always impressed me that during the Depression years he was responsible for the collection of dues and recommending remission if indicated. I have been told since that it was more important to him that a brother fulfill his financial responsibilities to the Lodge by paying, even in installments, his dues. My Dad's philosophy was that even during hard times, a man's pride should never be sacrificed and he would weekly go and collect ten or fifteen cents from many of the membership.
More than anyone else I admired and respected my Dad. Certainly his influence was the major impetus which prompted me to interest in Freemasonry. He called me at college on my 21st birthday to extend greetings and to ask me what I would like as a present on this milestone in my life. I replied that I would like to make application to Dalhousie Lodge and his response was that my application had been read the previous evening. My Dad did not live to see me hold Masonic office, but he did receive me as an Entered Apprentice, passed me as a Fellow Craft and raised me to the Sublime Degree. His influence I still feel and am proud of the heritage which he provided me.
His close friends and associates were Masons and I learned at an early age that if a man were a Mason he was different. He was a man whose word could be trusted, a man whose integrity could be unquestioned, a man who was a cut above the average man.
My involvement in the Order of DeMolay enhanced that Masonic image and those men who were advisors were as my Dad, and I called them "Dad," too.
In joining Dalhousie Lodge I met men whom I would otherwise never have met or known as my friends, and as I sat in that hospital room, I reflected upon this, for this man, my friend, my Brother, would never have been known to me, had I not been associated with our Fraternity. I thought of many things in those moments of silence, and found myself thinking of the Twenty-third Psalm and the "valley of the shadow of death," the Hiramic Legend and its implications. I feel I gained a greater insight into that Ancient Landmark so essential to our philosophy. It points up the sacrifice of a man, not to protect insignificant secrets, but rather to maintain his integrity and to keep a trust inviolate.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that he give up his life for a friend."
In taking those first and subsequent steps in Freemasonry we make a personal commitment to its principles and practices, truly a way of life. Some of us practice them better than others. When we form these unique friendships with our Brothers, we in essence constitute a trust. I recognized that trust in sitting with my Brother in his hospital room. My thoughts wandered and it came to mind that I had never been called upon to give my life for a friend. What would my reaction, my answer, be? What would your answer be?
This caused me to reflect upon our Masonic brethren of the last and specifically, one Dr. Joseph Warren, my predecessor of some years who as Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts. Brother Warren was a practicing physician in Boston, and while he was Grand Master, volunteered as a soldier, a militiaman, to defend Bunker Hill. At that battle he was slain. The men who were involved with him in the early days of our revolution, Hancock and Revere, Isaiah Thomas and Newman were Masons with commitments to each other constituting trust as we have never known it.
Consider again the part which Masonry played in the history of the United States because of this trust. We honor this year, particularly, the memory of one of the greatest men who ever lived, one of the most commanding leaders in all of history, our Masonic Brother Worshipful George Washington, whose 250th natal anniversary was celebrated this past year.
We are all familiar with the many facets in the life of the Father of our country, his tremendous contributions to so many aspects of the beginnings of the United States. His leadership was in so many ways subtle and yet effective, and so many of the anecdotes told over the years point up the human side of this great man's life and character.
One of the most amazing realizations is the amount of time which Washington devoted to his many interests. He was inventive and thoughtful, a prolific letter writer, an innovator of methods in the improvement of social, economic and agricultural conditions, a lover of nature, a clever tactician in the field of battle, a statesman with catalytic abilities unsurpassed, and he possessed a willing ear for his friends and associates seeking advice and counsel. He was a dedicated family man and allotted much time to those in his immediate circle.
These are generalities and serve only to make a point. Consider the man, the time. Consider the unbelievable demands upon this man, this general, as president. Consider his great number of interests and his commitment to those who served him in the Continental Army, his determination to make the concept of Democracy work, his need to bring together men of every conceivable background, geographic origin and with such varied desires for the future. He inspired them on to labor and common service.
Consider all of this, think upon this man, who with all the pressures upon him, with all the demands made of him, with all these responsibilities . . . he made the time to enjoy, to associate with, and to participate in Freemasonry!
It has been said of him . . . "He was a man of such tremendous undeniable achievement, that he does not need to be bolstered with propaganda, protected by a priestcraft of suppression or celebrated by any Fourth of July oratory." It was further written by Mrs. John Quincy Adams that, "Simple truth is his best, his greatest eulogy."
If this man's love of Freemasonry prompted him to serve as Master of his Lodge while president of the United States, to always work diligently for the Craft and its members, to write of his affection for our institution on so many occasions, should not each of us reflect upon something we may have missed in our feelings and our efforts for Freemasonry in our time. The trust of which I spoke was never more practice than by this Brother. The generals and officers with whom he associated and under his command during the Revolutionary War, his Masonic Brothers, the men in whom he placed his greatest trust, were the men who were willing to lay down their life for him.
I ask that you consider your association with your Brother, with your Lodge, with your Grand Lodge. I ask that you become more involved, don't let it stop with your minimal participation or occasional attendance at a meeting. If Washington could make the time and could benefit from his membership; you, too, can enjoy that experience of involvement and the quality of your life will be enhanced as was his. Will you be able to say, "Freemasonry is better because I served?"
It was Washington's prayer and may it now be answered, "O, Lord, give me fearless men! Men to meet the trials of life with faith and vision and steadfast hearts and willing hands, men who dare to do the right."
My friend, my Brother in that hospital, facing death, was a man among men. . .a Mason in every sense of the word. . . as was George Washington, as was my Dad. . .are you?
FEAST OF ST. JOHN, 2000
From Proceedings, Page 2000-179:
I was an English teacher some years ago and particularly enjoyed the Hoosier poet, James Whitcomb Riley, who wrote among other poems, The Passing of the Back House. I won't recite it, but he and another writer were discussing experiences in delivering speeches. The other fellow confessed that his engagements had not been too successful. He asked Riley if he could point out the trouble. "Why are you such a success," he asked, "while my talks fall so flat?" "Well," Riley replied, "I'll tell you. It's like this: I talk until I get tired and then I quit . . . whereas you talk until the audience gets tired before you realize it's time to quit!"
When asked to address the Grand Lodge by our Grand Master, I was honored but also concemed that l could match many, even some, of those who have preceded me. I attended my fust Feast of Saint John in 1957 and have been absent only a very few times since then. How many of you have been present for over 43 years . . . that's remarkable. To endure so much oratory is truly courageous. I have become somewhat hard of hearing in recent years and what a blessing that is.
I have considered seriously how I should focus these remarks . . . should they be inspiring to motivate you to go from this place slaying dragons in behalf of our Fraternity? . . . should they be advisory and reminiscent based on some fifty-three years membership in Freemasonry? . . . should they be challenging because ofthe great need we have for leadership? . . . should they be driven to membership development because of the need for new members? . . . should they be humorous only to entertain you? . . . should they be critical in identifying some of the problerns we face as we look to the future? . . . or should they be prideful about the many good things we are doing? My answer was, "Yes", to each. To every facet of ourbeloved institution, there are needs to be addressed. I am proud to say that our Grand Master and this Grand Lodge ARE answering the call in so many ways, but we as individual members in most instances are falling short of what our duties as members are. Sure, we can well say, "Let George to it!" But too many Georges are no longer around in our Lodges to do it.
We all know the challenge for the commitment of time among our membership is so great and the number of demands upon that time increases daily. So a very few of our members are doing so much for so many within our Lodges and our society is truly benefiting from those efforts. How often have you heard about the inability of Masonry to get anything about our Lodges in the newspaper, on radio and television? Dave Duncan is doing it. The CHIP program is getting tremendous coverage and Dr. David Harte has been a driving force in promoting the program all over the state. Over 80,000 children have participated in CHIP even within school systems and the addition of Toothprints here in Massachusetts makes our CHIP program the finest in the world. We should be talking about CHIP.
I learned my Entered Apprentice Lecture word of mouth driving back to college on the night of my First Degree from my father in 4 1/2 hours. I remember the fust time I visited a Lodge, and I knew everything there was to know about Masonry. The three old-timers (about my age now) who examined me were very cordial and asked me to place the Lights as I first saw them. "Cup of tea!" I carefully arranged the Square and Compasses and stood back. One ofthe examiners very kindly asked, "Wasn't the Bible open?" You know, I still have a lot to learn . . . but not much!
Changes are inevitable and very often needed to adapt to the times. In relation to those Candidates' Lectures, how often have you heard, "I leamed them that way, by gorry; those candidates are going to leam them the same way I did!" You know the time required for you to learn them and with the demands upon our time and that of our candidates, is it time to adopt an altemative? Read the Winter Issue of TROWEL, page 6.
At the Quarterly Communication this month, our Grand Master stated the Grand Lodge position relative to the distribution of charity and relief frmds within our Lodges. I cannot stress enough the importance of this order of the Grand Master. Several Grand Lodges have experienced the inquiries of the Internal Revenue Service relative to the use or lack thereof of charitable funds and the income therefrom within Lodges. It is imperative that this Grand Lodge and its Lodges are not subjected to the same investigations. Tax-exempt income from charity and relief funds must be used for those purposes for which the funds were established. Penalties for improper or lack of use can be imposed by the IRS and could seriously deplete a fund. Using income to add to the principal should cease and as the Grand Master has recommended "a minimum of between 4% to 5% of the value of the fund" be donated annually to charitable causes. I offer you some suggestions.
Our Grand Lodge Scholarship Program can be a valuable incentive for a father to become a Mason. In addition to yearly grants we are giving $5,000 per year for four years to children of Masons who maintain good grades. That is a meaningful amount representing one sixth of total tuition today of a college or university and a great contribution to educating our youth. We should be talking about and contributing to this Scholarship Program.
The need for leadership in our society today is more evident than ever and the lack of it is certainly a factor in many of our Lodges' demise and subsequent mergers. The Masonic Leadership Institute and its team projects have produced significant results and substantial contributions to the image of Freemasonry throughout the Commonwealth. Many of our Lodges suffer from the age-old presence of Masters who say, "I am their leader but where have they gone?" We should be talking about and sponsoring officers to this Leadership Institute.
I visited Japan, our Sinim Lodge, in 1983 as Grand Master and during the visit was privileged to be received in the Grand Lodge of Japan with all the pomp and ceremony one might expect. I was seated in the East following which the Colors were received under guard. We stood as the rising Sun of Japan was carried to the East and I had very mixed emotions as I observed this ceremony. Looking around that Lodge roorn, I could not help but ask myself, "How many ofthose men might have been firing at me on Tinian, Saipan, Iwo Jima or Okinawa." At the same instant, the warmth of my reception, the fraternal spirit, the obvious commitrnent to the principles of Freemasonry in that room, transcended any animosity or ill feeling and set the tone of fellowship and hospitality that continued during our visit. Never before or since have I experienced the true universality of our craft in a culture so different from our own.
Incidentally, my very good friend and our District Deputy Grand Master in the China District, Right Worshipful Joe A. Diele has just last week undergone open-heart surgery at Beth Israel Hospital here in Boston, and I am pleased to report he is progressing well. A card or a visit would be most welcome to this officer of our Grand Lodge so far from home.
I have an interest in a Masonic, a Scottish Rite, charity about which I hope all of you are aware providing remediation for dyslexic youngsters. The project started in a small storefront in the Newtonville Masonic Hall and opened in 1993. Thanks to the vision and commitrnent of Bob Ralston, Sovereign Grand Commander, this endeavor has mushroomed into 27 operating Masonic Learning centers providing therapy for thousands of children in the fifteen states ofthe Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. That's only a beginning because in the present phase 55 centers are planned. If you want to feel good about what Masons are doing, visit the center in Newtonville or Lexington or Lowell some afternoon and see the joy on the faces of the children there as they learn to read. your Lodge can sponsor a child for $5,000 per year, the cost of this tutoring. The Shrine fixes their bodies, we fix their minds. We all should be talking about what we, as Masons, are doing.
Our Grand Master is giving you another opportunity to imptove yourself directed to our officers and members. Toastrnasters Intemational is an organization that trains its members in speakiirg before groups, so-called public speaking . . . dispelling all the butterflies . . . well, almost. It also teaches us to say in 10 words what many have to say in a hundred or more. Most speakers are like gamblers, they don't have enough sense to quit when they're ahead. A Toastmasters' Club for Masons will be formed and will meet in the Watertown Masonic Center on a monthly basis. The Grand Lodge will finance part of the program; and this is another opportunity for your Lodge to use some of its funds in Leadership Development.
The programs, which are underway at our Masonic Home, are exciting and the influence of Freemasonry in the healthcare field is being felt throughout the commonwealth. The replacement of the Juniper Hall construction of independent living in cottages and apartments, all in Charlton, are exciting. The satellite facilities throughout Massachusetts to assist our brethren, their wives and widows, in their healthcare needs are a proper needed concern to be addressed. The opportunities to donate Lodge funds to these projects are greater every day.
We've all heard the characterization of Freemasonry as a "Sleeping Giant", a somnolent entity with its members complacent in their self-satisfaction. The time has come when we must all become doers, we each must replace ourselves within our membership and consciously strive to promote our Craft, talk about it and publicize it within our communities.
The galleries are full of critics. They play no ball. They fight no fights. They make no mistakes, because they attempt nothing. Down in the arena are the doers. They make many mistakes because they attempt many things. I would venture to say Edison, Burbank, Marconi, and the Wright brothers probably made more mistakes than many who have lived. Ford forgot to put a reverse gear in his automobile. Edison once spent $1 million on an investment that proved to be of no value. The gigantic, creative experiments of these men in blazing new trails made mistakes inevitable. But, tell me, who remembers the critics who laughed at them. The man who makes no mistakes lacks boldness and the spirit of adventure. He is a brake on the wheels of progress. There are no thrills in his life. And, there are no monuments to his memory.
So, let us start talking about the good we do for our fellowman. Let's talk about the lifelong friendships we make, not only within our Lodges, but often throughout the world. Let's talk about the better men we are because of the lessons we leam . . . the moral fiber of our Craft.
Mother Theresa told the story and I quote her words. One night a man came to our house and told me, "There is a family with eight children. They have not eaten for days." I took some food with me and went. when I came to that family, I saw the faces of those children disfigured by hunger. There was no sorrow or sadness, just the deep pain of hunger. I gave the rice to the mother. She carefully divided the rice in two and went out carrying half the rice. when she returned I asked her where she had gone. She gave this simple answer, "To my neighbors, they are hungry, too!" We, too, have an obligation to those who follow us. We must pass on to them the moral sustenance, the heritage of practicing that charity of which we have been the recipient.
The story is told of the young man who was at "the end of his rope." Seeing no way out, he dropped to his knees in prayer. "Lord, I can,t go on," he said. "I have too heavy a cross to bear." The Lord replied, "My son, if you can't bear its weight, just place your cross inside this room. Then open that other door and pick out any cross you wish." The young man was filled with relief. "Thank you, Lord," he sighed and did as he was told. Upon entering the other door, he saw many crosses, some so large the tops were not visible. Then, he spotted a tiny cross leaning against a far wall. "I'd like that one, Lord," he whispered. And the Lord replied, "My son, that is the cross you just brought in!" May your cross never be a burden and may you continue to increase your good works!
God Bless you, My Brothers!