2018 History of the Grand Chapter of Ohio Marion Johnson, Caroline #39, PM
On Friday, September 22, 2017, the 128th Annual Session of the Grand Chapter of Ohio opened at a new venue, the Kalahari Convention Center at Sandusky. The prelude was by GO, William Westover, Westpark #427, and pianists Sally Samson and Elaine Hamond, Crescent #7, GOs from 2004 and 2006. The musical selections of the OES Chorus followed, led by Pamela Sheetz, Lyndon #361, with Elaine Hammond, Crescent #7, accompanying. The “Unforgettable Stories” Drill, written and directed by Cara Hogan, West Park #427, and narrated by Larry Cornett, Miami #107, and Hillery Cox, Brecksville #537, unfolded. Caroline Ambrose, Fulton #67, served as organist and Lynn Miller-Penegor, West Park #427, was soloist. The GRs and their escorts entered from the west, marching east. The escorts continued east and retired the flags. The GRs formed an open rectangle in the center of the floor, representing a closed book. The WPs and men from Districts 2, 3, 21 and 22 formed a second rectangle beside the GRs, indicating an open book. The DGMs entered singing a delightful song outlining their duties as they became the bookmark. The PMs from the same districts entered, filling the pages of the book. A mother, carrying a large book, and five children in pajamas entered through the book, and went to a chair in the south. She sat and pretended to read to the children. (The children were the grandchildren of the WGM, ranging in age from 16 months to 8 years.) The representatives of our youth groups entered next, going through the book, to the southwest. The military and first responders were then seen as they made their way between the other two groups. Sisters in white robes with veils of the appropriate star point color, and Esther with a blue robe and a crown, each carrying her symbolic flower, entered and formed a pentagon directly below the book. The WMs formed a forget-me-not, the WGM’s symbol and the hidden symbol of Masonry, reminding us of charity. Falkor, the Luck Dragon, entered from the northeast and wound his way among the participants before they danced their way off the floor, with “Never Ending Story” being their message.
The G Pages formed the letter M and then the G Aides overlapped with the letter W. Two trap shooters provided some added excitement. In the closing drill, the G Pages and G Aides formed a gnome hat, with forget-me-nots on the edges.
The GO drill used the idea that Kalahari is a waterpark with a Safari theme, and the pages first set out blue boundary markers for a pool. The GOs entered with masks of lions, tigers and bears. Once they were in the “pool” they became a synchronized swimming team. The drill ended by showing that shared hobby of trapshooting, and cheering for favorite teams.
It was fun to note that the Canadian flag was presented by Jane Lane, 50-year member and sister of G Marshal, Nancy Williams, both Miami #107.
The WGM, Michelle Howell, Miami #107, used quotes from books, or descriptions of parts of books, in her introductions. We were pleased to welcome two GGCOs, Glenda Winchester, RWG C, PGM of SC and our own F. Lon Lowry, RWG S, George L. Behrens #504 (PGP 2012). Several GGCCMs and other distinguished guests supported them. We were excited to learn who will have GGC appointments in the 2019-2021 triennium: Carol Jones, Legacy #596 (Delta #539) PGM 2001, Membership Committee; Trevor Sproul, Legacy #596 (Delta #539) PGP 2011, Service Dog Committee; and Melora Waltman, Englewood #563, a Campfire Friend. We are glad to support those serving this triennium along with Lon: Vivian Chrisopulus, Brecksville #537 (PGM 1996), Ambassador to the Phillipines; Jean Watters, Dorcas #277 (PGM 2012), Eastern Star Journal and Peg Reiterman, Sterling #74 (PGM 2009), Regenerative Medicine. Peg was also appointed Chair of the Travel Committee for the next Triennial!
Among the presentations was the recognition of our twenty-five year PGM Marilyn Bennett, Palestine #51, and memorial for Algin Miller, Neal #522 (Norris #426), who led the “My Father’s World” year. The WGM wrote a poem commemorating this special recognition, and PGM Marilyn responded, “it is the grace of God that will keep you through every “Adventure” of your lives.” District 18 was pleased to join the honor court with District 6.
Special mention was also made of Wroena Dusthimer, Knox (PGM 1973) who died just last week. She had attended every GC session since 1958 and her continued presence and influence were certainly felt among us as she joined those “forget me not” angels.
The G Sec, Roberta David, reported that all chapters had paid their per capita, with half of it sent to the OES Home and one fifth sent to GGC for Per Capita. We had a membership loss of about 7% for the 2017 reporting year, with a membership of 26,225. 4 chapters merged, giving us 200 chapters, with another 7 – 10 in the process of merging. 501 of our members were given Fifty Year pins by the GC of OH. Carroll #315 had 11 of those! 342 service pins for 60, 65, 70, 75 and 80 years were sold, so there should be about that many names in the pin history! Unfortunately, only about 80 of those names are listed in the history. It disappoints me that so many go unrecognized by the state because I am not informed.
The G T, Gayle Sutherin, reported contributions of $14,046 for the Youth and $1496 for the Ohio Masonic Home. $10,744 was donated to the Benevolence Fund, of which 9,500 was given as love gifts. 16 ESTARL awards were given, totaling $38,500. 27 awards were approved for 2018, totaling $69,600.
In the report of the Mergers and Consolidations Committee, PGM Marilyn Giey shared the information that merging chapters may send a list of their additional paraphernalia to PGP Ron Seigla, who is managing a list for those chapters who might be ready to replace some items. Merging chapters are asked to take at least 50% of their assets to their Receiving Chapters. Life members who merge to a new chapter need to be aware of the cost of their life membership and make appropriate donations when needed. The merging chapter must be sure to file a final 990 Tax Form.
Over 1300 registered for the session, with 1086 voting packets distributed, about 200 less than last year. The Hospitality Committee reported 58 registrants from out-of-state. (I received a clipping from the Hicksville paper from Diana Evans, Bryan #248, reporting that 55 years ago, Marguerite Hale was installed as WGM in Cleveland with over 8000 in attendance, and over 50 from Hicksville Star #214 (Bryan #248)!)
In the 5th year of the Chapter Excellence program, 83 chapters participated, with 8 first time participants. 43 chapters received “Outstanding Chapter” awards, and 27 were given “Chapter Excellence” awards. 4 chapters have received the gold awards for 5 consecutive years: Falls #245, Brecksville #537, Triune #344, and East Palestine #381.
74 members were recognized with the “Unforgettable Excellence” award, nominated by a DGM, GO, PGM or PGP for outstanding work, service or any other excellence that was noted.
We were delighted to celebrate several membership milestones. Grace Place, Spencerville #130, received her 65-year pin from her husband Glen, (PGP 2010). Glen Place and William Morris, both Spencerville #130, received their 60-year pins from Carol Kauffman, Elizabeth #56 (PGM 2010). Five members received their 50-year pins, among them Maxine Jeffers, Worthington #287 (Robert Morris #372) (PGM 1994) from both Gloria Voltz, Van Wert #48 (Hyler #432)(PGM 1986) and Raymond Belfrage, Worthington #287 (Eugenie #507) (PGP 1975).
Fraternal correspondent, Margi Wheeler, Gallipolis #283 (AGC), shared her report of the activities around the OES world using video projection. KS initiated members at GC. Members receive their ballots by exchanging them for their registration cards! VT, with only 31 chapters, had 3 consolidations. In DE, the WGM’s gavel as well as her Bible is used when she visits a chapter. Some recurring themes were membership, retention, community involvement, and charity endeavors. Some irregularities included dues cards not issued in a timely way, the C holding the arm of the candidate, rounded corners, S P not holding emblem until after the C leaves her station, loss of secret work, obsolete bylaws, less than 2 initiations, Os chewing gum, purses at O chairs, and prompting by someone not an O.
106 participated in the ritual competition. Winners were: Adah: Marja Brandly, Jacob Eby #571, Ruth: Kathy Wentz, Marietta #59, Esther: Denise Gregory, Worthington #287, Martha: Willinda Hill, Russellville #461, Electa: Deb Pool, Warpole #366, AP: Andrew Shuirr, Home City #258, Chaplain: Ruth Ann Fox, Racine #134. PGM Carolyn McCahan was thanked for judging for several years as she retires. PGM Carol Kauffman will take her position.
Our legislation included the waiver, if necessary, of the requirement that the G Organist be a PM or PP. We agreed to decrease the number of committee members on the Education Committee from 5 to 4. We agreed that chapters meeting twice a month who have to dispense with a stated meeting due to lack of a quorum, do not need to reschedule that meeting. If the chapter meets just once a month, it must reschedule the stated meeting within the month and a special dispensation is required. Legislation was passed for the WGM to appoint a committee to oversee raffles so that they might be in compliance with Federal and State guidelines. It was also agreed that chapters would receive proposed legislation at least 60 days prior to the GC session.
The final Trustees report included the following statistics. Over $93,000 was donated by the Charitable Foundation. We received some donations from Benevity and AmazonSmiles. $1500 was allotted for a computer for the G Sec and a lost scholarship check of $400 from 2014 was re-issued! The budget for 2017-2018 was $157,925. Our assets grew by 4.5%.
On Sunday, September 26th the 129th year officially began with the musical selections of the OES Chorus, followed by the “Make a Difference, Make it Happen” Drill, written by Sandi Herman, Guernsey #211 (WGM-elect) and Lisa Scheider, Palestine #51 and directed by Lisa Scheider. It was narrated by Joan Sexton, Amelia #38 and Ron Herman, Guernsey #211. Suzanne Murlin, Celina #91, served as organist.
The drill began with several people walking along the “beach” in the near east. The narrator shared the legend of the starfish as they acted out the tossing of the starfish into the sea, the young person doing the tossing being the granddaughter of the WGP-elect, David Sexton, Amelia #38. The 2014 Appointed GOs made a video of the stories of the Star Points at the Living Work Outdoor Drama’s amphitheater. As the video was played, each star point story was narrated, with the appropriate 2014 Star Point and her escort taking her position around the labyrinth and the G Chap and her husband at the altar. Then a group of WM-elects carried that color point in cloth and laid it on the floor, to form a large star around the altar. The WM-elects then formed a circle around the star. At the conclusion of the formation of the star, the WP-elects and PP from Districts 15, 16, 21 and 22 formed a large starfish in the west. The PMs from those districts and the District Presidents entered and outlined the starfish. The GRs and their flag escorts entered from the west and outlined the room along both the north and south. After the narration of a poem urging the audience to “Make a Difference, Make it Happen,” all exited to the nearest corner with the Flag escorts exiting in the southeast to post their flags.
The 2013 Star Points, Chaplain and Marshal entered with the emblems to place in their positions. The 2018 G Os were then installed to begin a year focused on I Corinthians 13:13 … “the Greatest of these is Charity.”
AREME projects: This year our leadership asked for chapters and districts to provide AREME projects, to help local people and organizations in need and to encourage our members to volunteer within our communities to help others become more aware of our charitable nature. Many creative projects were reported and are detailed in another report, but here are some highlights. The G Os project was the purchase of cast iron urns and appropriate star point flowers for the base of the Star Point marker in the Eastern Star section of the Mound View Cemetery in Mt. Vernon. Lucasville #495 helped raise over $3000 with a “Breakfast with the Easter Bunny/silent auction to assist with expenses for a premature baby. They raised money with a St. Patrick’s Day GREEN pancake breakfast to send several cub scouts from their local pack to summer camp. They delivered Easter baskets to a Women’s Shelter and Easter eggs to a Homeless Shelter. Aero #536 raised $400 for Circle of Victory, a county organization that provides for female cancer patients. Prosser #367 joined the Commandery and their ladies to ring bells for the Salvation army. Bolivar #368 helped the homeless by volunteering at the Talent Show at the Little Theater in New Philadelphia. Palmy #114 assisted the Deerfield Cemetery Association by making and placing potted flowers for Memorial Day and helping place flags on the Veterans’ graves. Cornelia #93 sold “walking tacos” at the village block party. Tiffin #189 stuffed Christmas stockings for soldiers. Lebanon #343 sponsored a “FUN RUN” to raise funds to support the Warren County and Lebanon DARE project, in memory of a local young person who lost his life to drugs. Local businesses supported the project with donations and 20 persons either ran or walked the 5K event. $1675 was raised along with much positive publicity. Cary #221 collected school supplies for the local elementary school and purchased books from the local book sale to return to the school. They provided hats, gloves and mittens to the school. They donated candy to two nursing homes in Blanchester to give away to children on Halloween. They contribute their December sunshine collection to provide funds for some of the residents of the nursing homes to receive haircuts. They served lunch to Habitat for Humanity workers. District 18 supported local food pantries by bringing personal hygiene items and cleaning supplies to the installations and inspections. The chapters then donated them to their own local food pantries, and in many cases volunteered at the pantries. Oxford #225 also supports their food pantries. They joined Oxford Lodge #67 in decorating a Christmas tree for the Chamber of Commerce, which was given to a family in need. They aided, through the Benevolence Fund, a sister and her masonic husband whose home burned before Christmas. Ft. Black #336 supported the Backpack Gala committee by providing a basket for auction. This group sends backpacks of food home with school children on Fridays. Falls #245 supported the Trunk or Treat at an Akron church, rang bells for the Salvation Army at Christmas, and helped make plarn (plastic plus yarn) for 40 crocheted plarn mats for the homeless. Owensville #370 held a Baby Shower for a local Caring Center. Grove City #502 held a benefit pancake breakfast and donated $1,100 to the Bed Brigade of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. The group builds wooden bed frames and headboards which are painted and decorated by the children of the church, and then mattresses donated by OSU, bed linens, Bibles and children’s books are given to the recipients. Yondota #317 and Toledo #341 sponsored a dinner and silent auction which raised $2682 for a stroller for Caysen Tenney. Caysen has Charge Syndrome, is unable to walk, is deaf, and has a permanent feeding tube. The River #517 donated 460 items of clothing to “Dress for Success” which teaches women seeking employment proper dress and interviewing skills. At the food bank they support, they donated $200 towards Christmas gift cards given to the 71 families enrolled in the program. They donated material for 20 fleece blankets for Dialysis patients, the project of the Job’s Daughters. Dorcas #277 helped place bids on the auction board during WCET’s Action Auction. They support the Samuel Bell Home for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Our G Organist Judy Hornsby spent 47 years teaching visually impaired students, so this project is extra special to her. They support the Shrine Transportation Unit with Gas cards. They donated food to the Neighborhood House, thermal underwear and socks to the homeless through the Magdalene House project (along with Hoffner #286), provided a full thanksgiving dinner for 4 families, which included 13 children, provided dinner for the First Responders at the Delhi Firehouse, and served dessert and played dominoes at the Atria. Seven Hills #589 used blank card fronts for their project … which makes me very curious! Legacy #596 collected books for their District project – Stars for Literacy. They support a PK – 2 summer reading program called Literacy on the Lawn. District 21 contributed over 700 books to area schools via the United Way’s School Reading Readiness program, and also purchased books from the local book fairs for the elementary school libraries. Gallipolis #283 purchased 130 hams which 5 members helped distribute through the Lutheran Social Services at the Grace United Methodist Church. Racine #134 dedicated this year to Veterans. They sponsored a meal at the local American Legion Post, which was attended by about 100 from Meigs County communities, plus Belpre, Shade, Athens, Gallipolis and WV! Their A P teaches and his students helped serve. One recited “Flanders Field” which touched everyone. Several veterans who had attended an Honor Flight shared their experience. $1325 was donated to the regional Honor Flight advocate to arrange to send other veterans. Matamoras #261 sold homemade pies and noodles and sponsored a chicken noodle dinner to provide LED safety signs and vests to help the Matamoras Emergency Services be safer at accident scenes. They provided 100 hot homemade glazed donuts when they presented the $1205.01 check at the Fire Hall. Mt. Moriah #506 also chose First Responders and provided cookies and iced tea to the local police department as well as funding for the Beverly/Waterford Fire Dept and the EMS. They contribute food to the Lowell Christian Church program, Family Ties, which feeds approximately 25 children. Marietta #59 collected personal hygiene items which were bagged and donated to the WA County Home. They sponsored a spaghetti dinner for the Marietta HS Ladies Basketball Team, their coaches and family members on the day before a tournament. They donated to the HS Cross Country team and had their name listed on the banner of sponsors which leads the team at their meets. They support the fire department by providing blankets and stuffed animals. Caroline #39 also collected stuffed animals for their local fire department. District 25 had “A Pet Day in the Park” in Marietta. There were children’s activities, contests for the dogs, pet portraits, food stand, and doggie treat bags. After a day of fun, $338 was given to the Humane Society along with many pet supplies. One of the dogs was adopted from the Humane Society, and Marietta Chapter was asked for a petition for membership! Athens #175 provided Teddy Bears to their local hospital. They support their local DeMolay. Windemere #388 adopted “Feed a Family.” Several families were nominated for support during Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Billow #483 made hats and scarves for the students at Barber School (and were honored at the Volunteer luncheon!), hats for Summa Health Cancer Center (and one non-crafty sister made over 100 hats!), and blankets for the Linus Project for Children’s Hospital. East Palestine #381 participated in the Backpack Program in the local school district as well as donating hats, gloves, scarves and socks to the East Palestine Social Concern. They contributed over 200 books to District 13’s Stars for Literacy project.
Many chapters reported participating in the Matthew 25 Ministries pill bottle collection for disaster relief, and supporting their food banks with a variety of donations and assistance.
“C” dollar reports came from many chapters, assisting a variety of local individuals and projects, and several reporting they will continue that project next year. Not an AREME project, but nevertheless a project that “Makes a Difference” was the collection of over $7000 from Ohio chapters for disaster relief in Puerto Rico.
Memorials: We lost several sisters and brothers who have Made a Difference in our lives this year. Wroena Dusthimer, Knox #236, died on September 18, 2017. She served as WGM in 1973 with Dominic Brue, Anna Gilbert #490, (later merged with London #386.) We remember Barbara Price, Urania #284 (PGM 1989) who died on January 12. She served as our WGM in our Centennial Year, 1989, with William Goetz, Fairmount #352 (later merged with Cardinal #140.) We also celebrate the life of Gloria Voltz, Van Wert #48 (Hyler #42) PGM 1986, who died on March 8. She served with Robert Powell, Rawson #550. We were saddened by the loss of John Hastings, Ruth #17 (Rizpah 153) on November 27, 2017. His wife, JoAnn, served as WGM in 2005, along with Clifford Houck, Athens #175. Ronald Jones, Lucasville #495, died on May 14. His wife, Cathie, served as WGM in 2008 with Richard Barrick, Findlay #23. Our WGM Sandi Herman’s mother, Betty Stoneburner, died on June 20.
Education and Fellowship: This was a year of change, when 28 Districts no longer had one Deputy Grand Matron for each District, but the state was divided into 22 areas, so that the load of traveling distances and number of chapters was divided more evenly. This meant rethinking the role of the DGM as most inspected chapters in multiple districts and not all of the chapters in their own district. In many cases, the District President stepped into the role of providing communications for the district, as well as carrying on other district traditions. It was also a change for many of the DGMs who might have been inspecting 3 or 4 chapters and now were inspecting 9 or 10! In the midst of the challenges, we were delighted to get to know some new friends from beyond our district boundaries. The DGM’s were in charge of several Educational Opportunities (EOPs) in their areas, and in those meetings, we often learned something new and met new friends. This year our WGM and WGP chose to visit each district with a Celebration … an opportunity for a time of education as well as informal sharing, entertainment and honoring the District appointments. District 25 included a balloon launch! In addition, the G Os exemplified the initiation at the OES Home.
G O activities: In May the G Os visited the Western Reserve Masonic Community. They enjoyed visiting the members in their apartments, sensing the pride they have in their home and reminiscing about their Eastern Star history. Ask AGM Kelly about the kitty! In August, they visited the Masonic Home in Springfield, again visiting the residents, and being welcomed and recognized by the District 18 Association. Carol Dutton, Home City #258, was recognized for 21 years of service as the Home Star Coordinator and Norma Adams, Olivet #538, was honored as the long time official photographer. Spouses of the GO were given a special welcome. The reception for Steve Farus, Olive Branch #251 (PGP 2014), was informal and delightful, with a re-enactment by Steve and Gail Walsh, Triune #344 (PGM 2014) of how they asked WGM Sandi to be their G W. G W, Cindy Chadwell, Grove City #502, was honored by her chapter with a Warder Night. 18 past and present warders attended, including three past G Ws! Barbara Nash had been warder 16 times! Each was given a bookmark embroidered by Cindy.
Travel: “You Make a Difference” when you travel to other jurisdictions! Edna Todd, East Palestine #381, traveled to Winnipeg Manitoba in both 2017 and 2018. Their GC has just 569 members and over 35% of them attend GC! Brenda Slay, Lorraine #1, WM and GR of New Brunswick, reported an amazing hotel! The Fredericton Inn has been headquarters of the New Brunswick GC for 20 years. They store the paraphernalia at the hotel all year, and everyone stays there during the session, including those who come in RV’s and campers and park in the back parking lot! This year’s theme was “Rainbows of Friendship” and the GO ladies all wore yellow skirts with rainbow tops at the informal opening. Incoming officers wear white for installation. The GRs are a part of the drill but do not carry flags. Sandy McCollum, Cary #221, GR of ID, who also served as Personal Secretary of the WGM in 2017 learned that neither KY, WV or ID have that position. As an out of state guest at their session, she received a counted cross stitch badge to wear. In ID the GRs do not have special dresses, but have a shawl with ID written in beading. The WGM and WGP entered the session on a tandem!! They are husband and wife, Liz and John Hughes. ID has only 37 chapters so the WGM and WGP inspect them all, rather than having DGMs. After the GRs are presented at the formal opening, they have a Cavalcade of Flags, with each GR carrying her flag, escorted by her counterpart walking beside her. There were 227 voting delegates at the session, with GO from CA, OR, WA, UT, MT, NV and WY. Following the presentation of WMs and WPs, there was a cavalcade of Chapter flags and the secretaries and treasurers of the subordinate chapters were introduced. Election for G Os was handled by the WGP, who received nominations from the floor for each position. If only one person was nominated, he declared them elected. The G Sec had served ten years, and three persons were nominated, so a paper ballot was used for that position. Sandy had some other interesting adventures while she traveled. Just ask her for more details. Cindy Chadwell, Grove City #502, G W, traveled to VA’s GC with Evelyn Hardesty, Beacon #593 (PGM 2016), Connie Snyder, Worthington #287, GR of VA, Brenda Slay, Lorraine #1, WM and GR of New Brunswick, and Vilora Severence, Worthington #287. The theme was “Jump on the Bandwagon” and they were able to present two donations to musical therapy projects at Shenandoah U. and Radford U. During their memorial service, the names of all VA members who had died during the preceding year were placed on a scroll on the altar beside the Bible. Connie proudly carried the OH flag during the Cavalcade of Flags. Jody Bails, Caroline #39, GR of ND, and her husband Rick traveled to their G Session and were impressed by the music, including the voices of the WGM, Cheryl Hewson and WGP, David Spooner, the Memorial Service, and the Masonic and Eastern Star Emblem service. The GC has just 15 chapters and 200 were present, nearly half from out of state. Many GOs have served multiple times. Jennifer Maynard, Miami #107, GR of TN, and her husband Harless, attended the GC and were delighted to be escorted by Sandy Mahaney, Aldora #262 and a dual member in TN. Their American Pride project also focused on charity. The G W and G Sen are not part of the G Line. The WGM appoints the AGC, and the AGM selects her own AGP! Officers still touch their badges during the opening! In June, about 70 OH members took a bus trip to Lancaster PA to see the Sight and Sound production of “Jesus.” In addition to the fellowship and good food and shopping as they traveled, Mary Ryan, Triangle #592, had an unforgettable experience, which made the trip special for everyone. In 2000, she served as G Banquet chair for Carol Kauffman, Caroline #39 (Elizabeth #56) (PGM 2000). A visitor from PA, Marie Gettel, enjoyed the event, and later sent Mary a picture of her presiding and thanked her for the occasion. They became pen pals. Mary had told Marie she was coming to PA, and Marie arranged to meet the group where they were eating dinner. She was holding a sign with Mary’s name on it, and they shared the meal as long lost friends, even though they had never met! In July, two busloads of members, family and friends began the Herman/Sexton Cape Cod adventure by driving across PA to the Mohegan Sun Resort. Many enjoyed an evening at the casino before setting out for Boston the next morning. Some of the luggage stayed at the resort, while they enjoyed a guided tour of Boston and a stop at “Old Ironsides.” On Tuesday a very informative guide led a tour of Cape Cod including a historic windmill and lunch overlooking the harbor at Provincetown with time to explore its unique shops (and get ice cream). A stop at the JFK Memorial in Hyannis found some of the group wading in the ocean. And the lost luggage caught up with its owners that night. Wednesday started with watching a man-overboard drill on the ferry that took them to Martha’s Vineyard. They learned all about the island and its celebrity residents while traveling to Edgartown and the Gay’s Head Lighthouse (and ate more ice cream). Did you know not all cranberries are grown in bogs? The owners of the Flax Pond Cranberry Company shared much information and had just about everything you could think of flavored with cranberry (but no ice cream). Part of the fun was competition between the buses with videos and recordings of song parodies sent back and forth. New friends, good food, and beautiful scenery … common travel threads.
Membership: Washington #195 had a grand celebration for Russ Carr’s 100th birthday! The Mayor of Hamilton was present to deliver a proclamation from the city to him! Following the flag representation, there was a demonstration of the flag folds and their significance. The WP, Matt Reed, shared significant events from 1918 and Marty Smith, WM, shared famous people born that year, as well as entertainment and inventions. His lodge, Ben Franklin #719, helped provide the cake. He has been a member of both for 38 years. WM Carol Shindeldecker and WP Duayne Sewell from Farmersville #155 visited Eileen Washington in her home to present her 70-year pin. Eight members of The River #517 went to the Medina home to celebrate the 100th birthday of Ann Grugel. She received her 70-year pin! At Miami #107’s inspection, Avonelle Williams received her 70-year pin from her daughters, Nancy Williams, Jane Lane and Judy Rousch. The latter two were present at the altar when Avonelle was initiated, but weren’t born until September! She has served over the years as DGM, District Pres, GR, personal sec to PGM Doris Conley and was honored for her years of SERVICE, not just membership. Patricia Mason received her 60-year pin from her husband Mark. She was an Athens student when she was initiated, and has served with the Rainbow Girls as well as DGM in OES. Troy #256 presented a 70-year pin to Jeanne Maxon, who is 100 years young. She served as DGM in 1956 when she was a member of Fidelity #88, prior to their merger. Beaver Valley #570, Hester Phillips was presented a 60-year pin. She is the last remaining charter member of the chapter. JoAnna Ferguson was given a 70-year pin. She was initiated at Brazill #80 in IN and affiliated with Beaver Valley in 1977. Oxford #225 was privileged to present a 60-year pin to Ray Murphy. Roberta David presented his pin. He had served as her G Aide in 1997 when she was WGM and again in 2017 as G Sec.
Chapter and District events: Eagon #123, Newark #305 and Licking #551 agreed to consolidate and become a new chapter. Taking the name Wroena #597, in honor of our dear PGM, the institution of the new chapter, and the installation of the first officers, was a moving and joyful event. Queen Esther #15 celebrated their 125th birthday! Two of their members who have belonged for the longest time shared their memories of years gone by, including the night that someone stole their purses! They held a garage sale at an area outlet mall. Trinity #16 and Ruth #17 celebrated 125 years and Ellbrook #408 celebrated 100 years with visitations from the WGM and WGP. Aero #536 celebrated 75 years. Attendees enjoyed hearing what the world was like in 1943 from the WGP and much of the history of masonry from the WGM, especially that relative to Aero chapter. They were pleased to enjoy the musical talents of a father/daughter team. Brecksville #537 is another 75 year chapter. In addition to the historical comments of the WGP, the WGM shared the history of Theodore Breck Lodge which meets in the same building and the institution of Brecksville, with Ellsworth being the mother chapter. Because it was war time, the Annual Session was limited to just two days. There were then 517 chapters in Ohio. 60 have been instituted since then, but only 23 of those remain. John Youngblood, Day #479, presented a very moving Patriotic Program. Brecksville #537 presented 6 Quilts of Valor to veterans this year. They recognized their own Bill Cox, (PGP 2017), Joe Augustine, WP, Hank James and Edwin Jones during their meetings. One was presented to Marge Ramsdell, PGM of WA, at GC, and one to her mother, Betty Schaefer, a WWII Army nurse who now resides at Western Reserve. (Marge also received her 40 year pin – at District 21’s meeting!) Prosser #367 enjoyed the visit of Bonnie Youngblood, Day #479 (PGM 2006). She portrayed the story of Martha, in the role of Martha herself, describing the friendship of her family and Jesus, his visits to their home, the loss of her brother and how that affected Jesus. WM, Anna Lawson, and WP, Win Lawson, were privileged to initiate their daughter, Rebecca Schweitzer. In another family affair, Annie Gilkison, Junior PM, received her 50-year pin from her son, Wayne. At Palmy #114 three of the five members who received 50- year pins serve as officers: Sally Sampson, organist, Donald Sampson, warder, and Richard Sampson, marshal. The chapter theme was music and the chapter attire was Choir Robes! The learned “the story behind the hymn” during their meetings and attended multiple musicals in the area as a group. Bolivar #368 honored the station of Ruth by inviting Gr Ruth, Brenda Sperber. They recognized past Ruth’s as well. Icedore #299 had a box lunch auction and then enjoyed eating together prior to a meeting. Morris #265 published a chapter cookbook. Twenty some members enjoyed a dinner out together followed by a play. Port Clinton #267 sells homemade apple pies! They give “comfort critters” to those in the community who are ill or have suffered a loss. Several of them attended the Walleye hockey game. Lebanon #343 took 25 members and 15 friends and family members for a picnic lunch and a performance of the “Willow Creek Band.” The lead singer is Harless Maynard, Miami #107, and band members include Bill and Beverley Sulfsted, who are dual members of Lebanon #343 and Miami #107. Eleven members participated in the Memorial Day Parade. Cary #221 had an eventful inspection. The dining room ceiling fell in during the afternoon … covering the refreshment and other tables. It took quite an effort to cover the ceiling with plastic, bring in floor fans, and replace ruined table ware, but everyone pitched in and inspection was completed. That will be a “remember when” evening! Many chapters are reporting meals before their meetings, and programs, speakers, contests, or games either before or after the meal. Aldora #262 supports 4 Paws for Ability with food, treat and toy donations along with cash. Falls #245 sponsored a chapter bus trip to Oglebay for the Festival of Lights. They also traveled back in time and followed Jesus’ footsteps, meeting Martha and Mary, Judas, Marcus (a Roman soldier) and Peter as well as visiting shops and tasting the cuisine of Old Jerusalem, even making a craft, before they exited the market at the Arlington Memorial Baptist Church. Forty-six members and family guests attended a Rubber Ducks game at Canal Park, which included fireworks, and a special celebration of birthdays and anniversaries of chapter members on the 7th inning scoreboard. Muskingum #485 enjoyed a workshop on memory techniques to help with ritualistic work by Jodi Wilkins. They joined some other Masonic groups that meet at Leasure Masonic Park to provide a family Christmas Party and Easter Egg Hunt. Among their charitable giving were two $1000 scholarships to Courtney Wilkins, a chapter member, and Grace Mutcheon, the great granddaughter of a member. The chapter attended a concert of the Zanesville Memorial Band to enjoy the music and support WP David Schroder, who plays trombone in the band. Windemere #388 donated to their scholarship fund in honor of Ruth Petche, their 100+ member. Six chapter members attended her 100th birthday party in April. The River #517 attended the musical Cats at the local High school and enjoyed dinner and fellowship at a Chinese restaurant afterward. They visited a Christmas museum in Medina, Castle Noel, and enjoyed dinner out afterward. Several attended the Sound of Music at Playhouse Square, and The Beetles concert at the same venue. They enjoyed the BeeGees at the Rockscino. An unusual venture was Dragon Boating on the Cuyahoga River in the Flats. Two boats were rowed, and several watched from the shore. They sponsored a Line Officers Night at their chapter. They supported the Rainbow chapter by attending the initiation meeting of the granddaughter of their PM and PP, Nancy and Larry Helyes. Several members supported Tri-Youth Day at the Lakewood Temple. Their own Selena Kash is Grand Faith this year. Perhaps most telling is the fact that they initiated 9 new members and had 4 affiliations, with an increase of 7 in their membership!! Dorcas #277 plays dominoes with the residents at an assisted living facility where one of their members resides, and play dominoes monthly with a member who has ALS. They support their shut ins with fruit baskets at Thanksgiving, and take some members to lunch several times a year. Marietta #59 reported that John and Rhea Russell were the first two to serve as WM and WP as a husband and wife team. He received his 50-year pin this year. The chapter collected coats which were contributed to the needy and to the Tabby Clothes Line. They donated blankets to the Red Cross and bears to the local hospitals and food pantry. A Rob Morris bar was presented to WM Iesa McVay for receiving 300 points. The morning after Inspection the PMs sponsored a breakfast for out of town guests, officers and PM and PP. Mt. Moriah attended the Christmas Program in St. Marys WV with Chuck Merckle, Matamoras #261, G Sentinel, aka Trumpet Man, and his wife Dianne and enjoyed dinner together. Albany #558 celebrated the 70th wedding anniversary of Albert and Ida Keirns. Sisters and brothers all over the state helped Make a Difference at the OES Home by supporting the WGM/WGP project to purchase room darkening shades and a sound system so residents can better see and hear the programs.
Many chapters reported fundraisers, often involving food sales. Some other frequent suggestions were garage sales, a Games Party, Movie Night, and a silent auction. Valley #19 sold cleaning cloths … no chemicals involved. Windemere #388 made and sold birthday calendars in 2017, and used the extras as gifts for their shut-ins and others unable to attend regularly. They reported working with the Lodges that meet in their temple for social events.
Certainly, in this year of focusing on “The Greatest of these is Charity,” by promoting the charitable projects within our home areas, we have worked to involve more of our chapter members in our meetings and our events, and have spread the good works of the Order into our communities. We pray that will Make a Difference, not just in meeting needs, but in encouraging interest in joining our chapters.
A special thank you to all who Made a Difference by sharing information for this history. It is fun to receive your notes, emails, and newsletters. Newsletters contain descriptions of meetings, info on upcoming events, birthday and anniversary wishes, “blessings” from members, memorials, chapter and district projects, deeper information about our star points, and Legacy #596 noted the birth of a daughter to one of their members! They also used the newsletter to organize visits and calls to shut-ins as well as transportation to meetings. From Dorcas #277’s newsletter, I learned that Richard Manifold (PGP 2002) was selected “Volunteer of the Year” for Shriners’ Burns Hospital. Cardinal #140 had a Motorcycle Ride in June as well as a bus trip to “Tecumseh.” If you know of something that you think should have been included in this history, realize that it is probably because no one thought to send me the information. As an example, six 80-year pins were ordered from the G Sec, but I was only informed of two presentations. I’m disappointed that the other members did not receive the recognition this milestone deserves. We all need to work to keep the G Historian informed!! Thanks especially to Carol Krekus, our webmaster for ohiooes.org, who faithfully puts the history and pin history on the website for all to enjoy. And thanks to all of you who Made a Difference this year by making history in one form or another.