Saturday, March 20, 2010

Freemason Fess Parker, RIP


Received this today about the death of actor and Freemason Fess Parker:

We lost another very prominent Brother today who, in real life and his movie/TV roles, evoked many of the attributes of a just & upright Mason.

Bro. Fess Parker died peacefully today at age 85. After a very successful career in Hollywood (movies as disparate as "Old Yeller" and "Them") from "51 to the "70's, he made a fortune in real estate, resorts and his own award-winning "Fess Parker Winery".

His most famous role of course was as 'Davy Crockett' (I'm sure those of you 55 & older either had a coonskin cap, replica of his rifle, 'Ol Betsy' or a Davy Crockett lunch box) He later starred in the "Daniel Boone" TV series. He even sang a version of the title song "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" which got to #4 on the charts.

Enlisting in the USMC late in WWII with hopes of becoming a pilot, his height kept him with other duty. After the war he was a good athlete at the U. of Texas, graduating with a degree in History. The guitar-playing 6'6" gentleman with the southern accent caught the eye of Walt Disney and the rest was history. Incidentally Fess Parker was his given name.

Some Masonic notes: Bro. Parker portrayed Bro. Crockett & Bro. Boone, costarring with Bro. Buddy Ebsen in the former as his sidekick. He also was in a western with Bro. Gene Autry & in "Island in the Sky" with Bro. John Wayne (the only other actor to portray Bro. Crockett in a movie). And of course Walt Disney & Buddy Ebsen were both Sr. DeMolays.

Bro. Parker had just celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary and leaves a widow, son, daughter & grandchildren.

As people comment at work or at some social gathering about his passing, we can proudly say, \’yes, Fess Parker was a fraternity Brother of mine!\’.

Written by

Gerald A. Edgar, PM
Mosaic #125 AF&AM (Dubuque, IA)
York Rite Bodies @ Mason City, IA
Sr. DeMolay (Chev/LOH)


UPDATE
Please note that this was originally attributed to JR Knight, PM, Senior Deacon, S.W. Hackett Lodge #574. I have since been informed by Gerald Edgar, PM from Dubuque, Iowa that he is the author.

See also Brother Ed King's skeptical response in the comments to this entry.

2 comments:

masonicinfo said...

Color me very skeptical on this one. This story is now being circulated by a bunch of different folks who appear to be taking the name of the person who sent it to them off and putting theirs on instead.

The story is a thinly altered (and abbreviated) version of the news story that appeared in the Los Angeles Times. Look at the flow and wording and you'll see the similarities - except for the 'Brother' stuff added.

Tracking it down to the probably first source, an Iowa Mason writes "I read of Fess Parker's Masonic membership in an article in a national York Rite publication (I'm a mbr of same) or a Scottish Rite publication (Southern Jurisdiction) that my Dad receives (he's Scottish Rite). I keep all my old York Rite magazines but they have no overall index; ditto for my Dad's Scottish Rite publications." No mention of WHEN he supposedly read this - which is a pretty good clue that it's not likely fact.

In fact, it reminds me a LOT of a similar situation where some Dummy author gave Masonic membership to a guy named DiCaprio. Does that ring a few bells? {wicked grin}

One of the messages I got encouraged me to tell everyone around the water cooler that he was a Brother of mine. Frankly, I'd rather hold off than be labeled a liar or braggart.

Maybe I'm wrong - but I'd be willing to bet a few bucks towards charity that this is a just-created urban legend.

Fraternally,
Ed King
www.masonicinfo.com

Widow's Son said...

This same article appears at http://sandiegofreemason.com/fess-parker-sent-from-labor/ with a P.S. that says, "Bro. Parker was raised in Mt. Olive Lodge No. 506, Los Angeles, California on Nov. 23, 1965."

— W.S.