Sunday, June 14, 2009
Alaska visits the Grand Lodge of Washington
On Tuesday, June 9, dad (W John Kelly Cline) and I drove down to Redmond, Washington from Camano Island to participate in the weekly meeting of the Redmond Goose and Gridiron (Nest One). It was great to break bread and have fellowship with several of the brethren I had not seen in quite a while. It was especially nice to visit with MW James Williams (Grand Master of Masons in Alaska in 1981-82). The photo accompanying this article shows me in the middle with dad on my right and MW Jim on the left. Dad became a Mason in Solomon Lodge No. 20 in Jacksonville, FL in May 1946, while serving there in World War II. MW Jim became a Mason in Tanana Lodge No. 162 in Fairbanks, AK in December 1947. It’s interesting to note that MW Brother Jim became a Mason one month after I was born. As it is, I am surrounded by 124 years of Masonry.
Other Alaskan Masons in attendance at this luncheon included VW Brother Pete Nilles (the first Worshipful Master of Aurora Lodge No. 15 in Anchorage) and W Brother Roger Barnstead (the Grand Historian of the Grand Lodge of Alaska). MW Jim and VW Pete now live in Renton, WA (my hometown).
MW Brother Jim Williams was the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alaska, which formed out of the Grand Lodge of Washington in 1981. Since that time, there have been many Alaska Grand Masters who have been affiliated with the Grand Lodge of Washington, of which I am the newest. However, MW Brother Jim was not the first Alaska Mason to be a Grand Master in Washington. The first member of an Alaska Lodge to be a Grand Master within the jurisdiction of Washington was MW Charles P. Kirtland. Charlie, as he was known to thousands of Masonic associates, was Past Master of White Pass Lodge No. 113 in Skagway, Alaska, and became Grand Master of Masons in Washington in 1939.
One final note: Dad’s lodge, Thornton F. McElroy No. 302, probably holds the record of the most affiliated Grand Masters from Alaska, if not the most affiliated Grand Masters. Alaskan Grand Masters who affiliated with TF McElroy include:
MW Jack Bently*
MW John Intram*
MW Gunnar Flygenring*
MW Charles Greg
MW Bo Cline
Additionally, MW Wendal (Wendy) Kuecker, who is a Past Master of TF McElroy, was named Honorary Past Grand Master of Alaska in 1996. One other Past Grand Master affiliated with TF McElroy is MW Ted Clarke from the Grand Lodge of BC-Yukon.
Thornton F. McElroy Lodge No. 302 was the first lodge chartered in the Grand Lodge of Washington in its second one hundred years and was named for the first Grand Master of Washington. Dad is a charter member of TF McElroy and its sixth Master. MW William R. Miller was the eighth Master of TF McElroy and the Grand Master of Masons in Washington in 1989-90. The Grand Lodge of Washington just celebrated their 150th anniversary, which makes TF McElroy 50 years old. There will be a celebration marking this occasion on August 14 – 16, 2009 at the Lodge in Federal Way, WA.