As October blows through its days, 2008 remains a bittersweet year.
Nelson King, editor of The Philalethes Magazine, is in hospital at this time, and his prognosis is grave.
This news comes just a few days after the death of Charles W. Munro in Texas.
Both of these men have made an impact on Freemasonry, but more important, on so many individual Freemasons whose lives they have touched, and I have had the honor to enjoy the company of both of them. It was gratifying to me personally when I saw both of their names come through among the very first members in the opening few days of starting The Masonic Society.
Charlie was a regular at Masonic Week, and he was always a gentleman with great warmth and bucketfuls of humor. (The Indiana delegation never fails to bring up the year that he went out onto the sidewalk of the Hotel Washington, scooped up a snowball, came back into the lobby and hurled it at Andy Jackson.) I had only a passing acquaintance of Charlie, but he will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
I've known Nelson for several years, and he kindly served as the technical editor when I was writing Freemasons For Dummies, to make sure I didn't completely put my foot in it. When I myself was in hospital back at Christmastime, he was among the first to call and ask after my situation. Nelson is forceful, opinionated, and he stands by his beliefs. He also stands by Freemasons.
Nelson is a worker and a fighter, and no one is putting on the black crepe for him yet. If you know him and Ellen personally, Ellen has said she doesn't mind the phone calls, but please keep them between 9AM and 10PM EST.
In one year to have lost Theron Dunn, Bob Hancock, Bill Clutter, Charlie Munro, and now to have Nelson King in dire shape is almost overwhelming. There are wags who glibly remark that the fraternity will be improved after 'a few more Masonic funerals.' Such a quip fails to attach real names and faces and bereaved widows to that casual remark. Men like these and more have spent untold chunks of their lifetimes working hard to keep the flame of Freemasonry alive when others have simply walked away, or simply wanted to talk instead of roll up their sleeves and get to work.
I'll miss you, Charlie.
Hang in there, Nelson.