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