The North Carolina Mason

September/October 2021

North Carolina Mason

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Page 2 The North Carolina Mason September/October 2021 ■ more ANNUAL, page 3 ANNUAL, from page 1 By Beth Grace Mason Editor Larry ompson is excited about being a Mason, and wants you to feel the same. e Grand Master-Elect will be installed Dec. 4, kicking off his year in the East. His theme: Masonic revival, and all that goes with it. "I want us to spend time talking and listening, thinking about what it truly means to be a Mason," he says. "I want us all to be excited about being Masons and leave apathy outside the lodge door." is year, he says, "is not about me. e focus should be on our lodges and creating quality experi- ences. Let's make this state a shining example of Freemasonry in this country." And that effort starts with good conversation. GM-Elect ompson says his district meetings will have a whole new look. e total number of meet- ings is still in the works, but tenta- tive plans call for 12 total. Half will be traditional meetings in larger venues, and half will be untyled "table lodges" scheduled around special Masonic dates, such as St. John's Day, the anniversary of the Halifax Resolves, and others. Special speakers will be invited for those meetings. He wants to share his thoughts and stories – and he wants to hear yours. "I would not consider myself a traditional grand master," he says. "I'm a gearhead and jokingly refer to myself as a knuckle-dragger. I'm not trying to impress anyone – I like to work hard and do things right. When asked to join the line by MW Doug Caudle, I questioned why he chose me. He said it was because I was a worker in the quarry." He will not be a traditional GM in at least one other way. Let's talk about that beard! He grew it in 2013 during a "No-Shave November," a campaign to raise awareness about cancer. Participants donate the money they would have spent on shaving to the cause. "I've always had a beard," he says. "is one just stayed around." He says it is often a topic of conversa- tion and that's fine with him. He plans to keep it for as long as he (and wife Angela) like it. Larry B. ompson Jr. is no stranger to Masonic duty. He is a member of Blackmer #127, Wilk- erson #760, Mosaic #762, Knights of Solomon #764 and Sophia #767 (charter master and the first obser- vant lodge in the state). He was raised Aug. 21, 2001, at Blackmer. Four years later, his father Larry Bogan Johnson Sr., would be raised at the same altar. His son, then lodge Master, didn't know it was coming. "We were in the process of closing the lodge one night and Stimpson McRae, our lodge secre- tary, informed me that he had one more item of business. … He then proceeded to read my Dad's peti- tion," he says. "It brought tears to my eyes. One of our senior members, who had known Dad all his life and served on the Town Board with him, made this comment on the night he was raised: 'Your dad has always been a Mason, this just makes it official.'" e list of GM-elect ompson's committee memberships and other offices fills four pages in MORI. Among his achievements, he has served as District Deputy Grand Master (District 24); was master of three lodges (Blackmer, Wilkerson College, Sophia); served on the board of both WhiteStone and the Masonic Home for Children, and served on all major Grand Lodge committees as a Grand Line officer. GM-Elect ompson has also served as Dean of Wilkerson College. He was a graduate of the very first class in 2002 Wilkerson College changed his life, he says. "It taught me everything I needed to know to be an effective lodge leader and introduced me to new ideas and concepts that blew me away." At his side during his year as Grand Master will be his wife Angela and their six children. He will continue working as a biologist and licensed soil scientist, but will cut back a bit on his hours to take on the duties of Grand Master. Being a motorcycle enthusiast, he plans to host a major motorcycle fundraiser for charities during his year, in addition to the Uwharrie Mountain Rumble (Blackmer's annual charity ride). Early plans are for a ride across the state (Murphy to Manteo?) that will allow partici- pants to join in for segments if they cannot complete the entire ride. Not a traditional grand master, but one that is very focused on helping our lodges create unique, quality, experiences that will keep brothers engaged and excited about being Freemasons! ompson seeks a year of Masonic Revival Larry B. Thompson Jr., a 20-year Mason, is elected Grand Master of North Carolina's Masons. Photo by Michael Harding By the numbers: 266 lodges were present, 793 lodge officers voted. Grand Line elections moved officers up the line as expected. Elected were: Kevan D. Frazier, deputy grand master; Don Kehler, senior grand warden; and Robert W. Rideout, junior grand warden. Grand Master-Elect ompson announced his appointment to the Grand Line: WB and Ill. Sir Clyde Alvin Billings Jr., a Master Mason for 12 years and a member of Bula #409 and several other lodges. Better known as "Alvin," he also is past potentate of Amran Shriners and is the annual giving officer for the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford. ( Watch for a full profile of Brother Alvin in the November- December issue.) Lewis R. Ledford was re-elected Treasurer. Jonathan A. Underwood was elected Grand Secretary, a role and title he has held under appointment by the Grand Master since May, after Grand Secretary T. Walton Clapp III retired. Underwood, in his first election by the entire Grand Lodge reminded the assembled Masons that his office works for them. "I expect to chal- lenge you at times and to be chal- lenged by you." Clapp was on hand for Grand Lodge, opening the first day's work with a welcome to the brothers, stepping up to the podium and asking, "Remember me?" e brothers did, indeed, remember him, with applause and later presenting him a permanent jewel to treasure, before hosting a reception later Friday honoring his 25 years as grand secretary and 42 years of service to the Grand Lodge.

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