The North Carolina Mason

January/February 2012

North Carolina Mason

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NORTH CAROLINA Volume 137 Number 1 The Mason Official Publication of The Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina Oxford, North Carolina Gresham becomes grand master NCGL installs new officers By Ric Carter ny repeated many times in the history of our state, Robert El- vis Gresham Jr. became the 159th ALBEMARLE — On Saturday, December 3, in a ceremo- man in our 224-year history to serve as grand master of Masons in North Carolina. He and his officers were installed at a 10:00 a.m. gathering here in the audi- torium of the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center. Gresham's line journey began when he was appointed grand steward by then Grand Master Leonard Y. Safrit shortly after Saf- rit was elected grand master in 2003. Past Grand Master Safrit, now as installing officer, was again there to assist his appointee in beginning the final steps in his path along the Grand Lodge line. see INSTALL, page 4 January/February 2012 Robert Elvis Gresham Jr. Grand Master By Ric Carter as grand master of the Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina. He is the 159th On December 3, 2011, Robert E. Gresham Jr. was installed man to hold the office. His in- stallation followed his election to the office at our Annual Com- munication in September. Gresham was born October 9, 1941 to Robert Elvis and Lila Garrett Gresham in Oxford, North Carolina. Growing up in Ox- ford, he attended school there, including six years as one of the city students at John A. Nichols School which was then on the campus of the Masonic Home for Children. He graduated from Oxford High School in 1959. He and Carolyn Jones married in 1962. They have a son and daughter and four grandsons. Bob studied business administration at Campbell Col- lege and later got his masters in business administration from Pfeiffer College. He has been a certified public accountant since 1967. He has been active in both the American Institute of CPAs and the North Carolina Association of CPAs since 1967. He has served on numerous committees in both organizations and as president and board member of the NC Association. He retired as president of Service Distributing Company in 1996. Gresham joined Masonry in Albemarle 703 where he was ini- tiated October 15, 1976, passed November 11, and raised January 10, 1977. He was master of the lodge in 1983. He is also a mem- ber of Shallotte 727 and an honorary member of Blackmer 127. Bob was appointed to the Grand Lodge line in 2003 by then Grand Master Leonard Safrit. He has served the Grand Lodge on the Committee on Finance and Board of Gener- al Purposes. He was also appointed chairman of the Board see GRESHAM, page 5 THE BOTTOM LINE Our upcoming year By Robert E. Gresham Jr. Grand Master As I sit down to write my first article for The North Carolina Mason, I must reflect on the feelings which I have ex- perienced during the past five months. You can't imagine how you made me feel after the vote that elected me at our Annual Communica- tion in September. Overwhelmed is an understatement. The obligation that comes with the title of grand master is hard to comprehend. You are responsible for the direction and suc- cess of The Grand Lodge of North Carolina, AF &AM for the coming year. What a responsibility. Without knowing that you have the support of the 45,000 Masons who are members of our great Grand Lodge, one might well shirk from assuming the position. I really appreciate the words of encouragement and support that you have extended to me. You have undoubtedly bestowed upon me the greatest honor possible (other than Carolyn Jones agreeing to marry me and the birth of my two children). The only thing better will be to hear the welcome words at the end of my life's journey, the welcome words "Well done good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." In 1976 when I was presented my lambskin or white leather apron, I was told that "…with light added to coming light, my ambitious feet may tread round after round the ladder that leads to fame in our mystic circle, and even the purple of our fraternity may rest upon your honored shoulders…" Boy, never in a million years did I understand what was said to me that night. In my acceptance comments, I stated that I will continue to work for and ask for your support of our Masonic charities which are our two homes, the Masonic Home for Children in Oxford and WhiteStone, a Masonic and Eastern Star Community in Greensboro, and The North Carolina Masonic Foundation. Our youth, including those at our home in Oxford, they are the future: of our fraternity, our country, and our world. We must provide for them; for in doing so, we are providing for our own future. Our Home was founded because Masons saw a need for children, and we are working to continue to do that today. Masons who believe in this Home and its mission must continue to show it through funding, fundraising, and the contribution of their vo- cal and constant support in their communities. We must care for our older members, their wives, and widows. They have worked hard in the quarries of life, they helped provide for us and now it is our turn to help them. WhiteStone is a con- tinuing care retirement community that was established in 1912 (opened in November 1913) to meet the long term care needs of our older brothers and sisters. The North Carolina Masonic Foundation receives our con- tributions, invests them, and distributes the earnings to the two Homes as support. The sole purpose of the Foundation is to sup- port our charities. Contributions to all three charities are tax free. I have already had a conversation with the chief executive of- ficer of the Charlotte Region of the Red Cross. I told her that I would like to see a Masonic Community Blood Drive Month. I say month because the Red Cross does not have the staff or equip- ment to offer a Blood Drive at all of our lodges on the same day. It must be spread out. The Red Cross is very interested in pursuing this idea and promised to be back in touch with me in the near future. As you know, we already have several lodges that sponsor blood drives. Statesville 27 has for years sponsored a blood drive. I believe that it was started by Past Grand Master Lew Ledford when he lived in Statesville. Over the years, it has grown to five locations over three counties. Last year they collected a total of 515 pints of blood. What a great start for us to build on. Lastly, for years I have been bothered by this "us versus them," "we verses them" syndrome. Too often we hear "That old Grand Lodge, they have done this, and they have done that." I know that the reference to the "Old Grand Lodge" means the grand line officers, but my brothers, you are the Grand Lodge. My point is that it is impossible for the 17 Grand Lodge officers to control. At present, there are 372 Lodges in our jurisdiction, each has three votes for a total of 1,116 votes. Yes, the officers have to take posi- tions, make decisions, and lead, but they do not control. I want us all to work together for the "good of Masonry." I assure you that this group of Grand Lodge officers always lets the "good of Masonry" guide their actions and decisions. Remember "who can best work and best agree." Since I was installed, I have made several surprise visitations to lodges. I have enjoyed the various receptions that I have received. All have been very acceptable, but some different from others. I was invited to attend the installation of the potentate and divan by Oasis Shrine and Sudan Shrine. Carolyn and I could not have been received any more hospitably. Yes, there have been a few "opportunities," but thankfully they were few in number. Masonry is doing very good and thriving in North Carolina. Thank you for the many kind words and offers of help and sup- port that I have received. Your kindness will never be forgotten. In closing, I want to leave you with the following thoughts: Have you met the Tate family? You may have heard of the Tates. They're in every organization. There's Dic Tate, who wants to run ev- erything; Ro Tate, who always tries to change things; Agi Tate, who stirs up trouble whenever possible, with a helping hand from Irri Tate; Devas Tate, who loves to interrupt; and Poten Tate, who wants to be the big shot. Every time new ideas are suggested, it's Hesi Tate and Vegi Tate, who are there to say they can't possibly work; and Imi Tate, who'd rather copy other organizations than try something new. Thank goodness for Facili Tate, Cogi Tate, and Medi Tate; they get everyone pulling together. Which Tate are you? — Author Unknown At left, GM Gresham says his thank yous after his installation. Above, his grandsons present him the hat he will wear while serving as grand master. At top is the Albemarle stage during the ceremony. Sigmon is newest line officer By Ric Carter Grand Master Robert E. Gresham Jr. ap- pointed Dwight MacLauchlin "Mack" Sigmon as grand steward shortly after his election in September. That makes Sigmon the junior man in the progressive line to become grand master of North Carolina. Sigmon was born July 18, 1951 in the Ca- tawba County town of Newton. He and his wife of 40 years, Linda, have one son, Charles. Charles lives with his wife and two children in Melbourne, Australia. Mack has worked for more than 31 years in various sales and marketing positions for the General Electric Company. He is currently a commercial segment leader in GE Energy's transformer business. Raised a Master Mason on July 22, 1975 in Catawba 248 in Newton, he was master there in 1980. He is in Wilkerson College 760 and a charter member of Orphans 761. He has been a member of the Committee on Masonic Jurisprudence and been faculty member of Wilkerson College. Mack best known for his work in Mason- ic ritual. He has been a certified lecturer for 13 years. He has been district deputy grand lecturer and secretary of the Board of Cus- todians for the last five years. He was grand lecturer in 2011. Sigmon is a member of the Charlotte Scottish Rite Bodies, Hickory York Rite, and Oasis Shrine. He is active on the ritual casts of all three groups. Scottish Rite honored him with their 33˚ in November. He is past patron of the Newton Chapter 187 of the Order of Eastern Star. Mack is a lifelong member of St. James Lu- theran Church. He has taught Sunday School see SIGMON, page 5 Mack Sigmon Junior Grand Steward Ric Car ter photos

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