The North Carolina Mason

March/April 2019

North Carolina Mason

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By Beth Grace Mason Editor It was hot in Gatesville, NC, on July 21, 1949. Darn hot … 91 degrees-in-the- shade hot. e post-World War II society had rebuilt and moved on, savoring the peace. In Washington, President Truman prepared for a news confer- ence. ree-thousand miles to the west, Tokyo Rose was on trial in San Francisco, accused of making traitorous broadcasts. At the movie house, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon played in Technicolor as John Wayne fans tried to cool off in the darkened theater. And just south of the Virginia- North Carolina border, two young men in their Sunday best made their way to the door of Gatesville #126. ey arrived separately that ursday … but their journey was about to launch a stream of parallel life moments that would last for the next 70 years. Luther Haywood Eure and Hagood Lilton Umphlett Jr. had known each other since they were toddlers. eir mothers would meet up for quilting bees or put in a day's work at popping peanuts, while their boys raced and ran and played and grew. As they grew up, they often double-dated. At 21, they were ready to take their place in Freemasonry, as many men in their families had done before them. ey completed all three degrees in less than a month. ey learned the same catechisms on the same day at the same place. ey attained all three degrees on the same three days. ey were raised on the same day. e coincidences don't stop there. ey would each get a job at the Union Camp paper mill – different departments – on the same day. And they would retire on the very same day in 1991. Here's the kicker: Outside the lodge, neither brother knew that they were making the same life- changing moves at the same time. Just last month, their coincidental journey continued. Both men gath- ered with their families to receive – together – their 70-year service awards, presented by Grand Master Dwight "Mack" Sigmon. At 91, Luther and Lilton chuckle at the coincidences and shake their heads in wonderment. Both men have taken their stories in stride, while family, friends and brothers always are amazed when they hear the tales. "We've known each other all our lives," says Lilton. "I guess we just never thought we were anything out of the ordinary." Both men say they never doubted that they would grow up to become Freemasons. "I had grown up with Masons and knew a lot about them," says Luther. "I saw their good works and wanted to be part of it. ere was never a question in my mind that I would join." Lilton smiles at the memory of his own journey toward Masonry. The Mason Official Publication of e Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina Volume 144 Number 2 Oxford, North Carolina March/April 2019 NORTH CAROLINA ■ see PARALLEL page 2 "I guess we never thought we were anything out of the ordinary." PARA EL LIVES ll In lodge and in life, brothers for 70 years walk same path Life-long friends Luther Eure (left) and Lilton Umphlett Jr. (right) enjoy a laugh over shared memories.

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