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Saturday, December 19, 2020

R.I.P.: Ishmael D. Ison, Sr., Past Grand Master of Indiana


by Christopher Hodapp

Indiana Past Grand Master Ishmael D. Ison, Sr. passed away in his sleep on December 17, 2020, at the age of 81. 

Most Worshipful Ison served the Freemasons of the State of Indiana between 1999 and 2000 as its 149th Grand Master. MWB 'Ish,' as he was known locally, became Grand Master just a month and a half after I was raised as a Master Mason. During that time, he commissioned an Indiana Masonic Flag which is now proudly displayed in almost all Indiana Lodges and at many homes. The flag was designed during a contest by Brothers H. Keith Wilson, Monroe No. 22 and S.W. Douglas B. Green, Kane No. 183.


In honor of our departed Past Grand Master Ishmael D. Ison, Indiana Grand Master Kenneth Roy, Jr. has directed all Lodges in Indiana to drape the Indiana Masonic Flag with a Black Ribbon for a period of 30 days.

Please keep his wife MaryJo and the family in your prayers.

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From the 1999 Annual Proceedings of the Grand Lodge F&AM of Indiana:


Ishmael D. Ison, Sr., the one hundred forty-ninth Grand Master [of Indiana], was born in Kentucky on September 8, 1939. He is the second son in a family of four children of the late Brother Elzie and Gertrude Ison. The Ison family moved to the Calumet region of Indiana while Brother Ison was quite young. After graduating from Washington High School, Brother Ison continued his education at Purdue University and Indiana University. 

On August 19, 1961, Brother Ison married his high school sweetheart, Mary Jo Hauer. Brother Ison and Mary Jo reside in Crown Point, Indiana. They have been blessed with two children: a son, Ishmael, Jr., and a daughter, Dorothy. Ish, Jr., and his wife, Linda, reside in Tomahawk, Wisconsin. Dorothy and her husband, Jeff Grisham, reside in Schererville, Indiana, with their two daughters, Samantha and Lauren.

Brother Ison started his career with Inland Steel Company while still in high school. On March 4, 1958, he enlisted into the Marine Corps and was honorably discharged in 1961. He then rejoined Inland Steel Company from which he retired as a Project Engineer in 1996. Currently Brother Ison is employed as a consultant for Alcoa Aluminum in Lafayette.

Brother Ison was raised in Indiana Harbor Lodge No. 686 in 1961. Later he transferred to Griffith Lodge No. 735 and served as Master in 1990. He served that Lodge four years as president of the Griffith Low Twelve Club. Brother Ison and Mary Jo are also members of the Griffith Chapter No. 583, Order of Eastern Star.

Brother Ison enjoyed many years of Masonic activity with his father and uncles. In 1962, he served a term as Associate Guardian of Indiana Harbor Bethel No. 69, International Order of Job's Daughters. He again served as Associate Guardian for three years in Griffith Bethel No. 96. Brother Ison served the Indiana Grand Guardian Council, International Order of Job's Daughters, as Grand Chaplain in 1985-1986.

In 1973, Brother Ison joined the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of South Bend. The Supreme Council, A.A.S.R., Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, honored him with the 33rd Degree in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1997.

In 1981, Brother Ison joined Orak Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S., of which he has served as the Masonic Relation's Officer, DeMolay Coordinator, and also enjoyed serving on the Special Party committee with his wife. He is a member of the Hobart Shrine Club, Royal Order of Jesters and Past Masters' Unit. Brother Ison is also a member of the Arab Patrol in which he served as Secretary/Treasurer.

Brother Ison is a proud recipient of the DeMolay Legion of Honor.

In 1992, Brother Ison was exalted, greeted and knighted in the York Rite. He is a Past High Priest of East Chicago Chapter No. 141, Royal Arch Masons; Deputy Master of East Chicago Council No. 101, Cryptic Masons; and Past Commander of East Chicago Commandery No. 58, Knights Templar. Brother Ison served the Grand Commandery, K.T., as Grand Photographer in 1993-1994. Brother Ison was honored by the Grand Commandery with the Distinguished Service Award in 1994.

Brother Ison is a Past Sovereign Master of David R. Ford Council No. 338, Allied Masonic Degrees. He is also a member of the Merrillville Preceptory No. 1, Yeoman of York; Northwest Indiana York Rite College No. 73; Royal Order of Scotland; and the Tall Cedars of Lebanon. Brother Ison is an officer in Saint Basil Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine in Lafayette, Indiana.

Since 1995, he has served as Grand Representative of Indiana near the Grand Lodge of New Jersey.

Brother Ison has enjoyed such hobbies as boating, fishing, hunting, golfing and gunsmithing that he intends to return to at a later date.

In 1994, Most Worshipful Brother Michael D. Brumback, Grand Master, appointed Brother Ison Grand Steward and Tyler. During that same year, he was advanced to the office of Junior Grand Deacon. He regularly advanced in the officer's line and on Wednesday, May 19, 1999, was invested with the purple of the Fraternity as the one hundred forty-ninth Grand Master of Masons in the State of Indiana.

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Funeral arrangements:

Hillside Funeral Home
8941 Kleinman Rd
Highland, IN 46322 

The visitation for Past Grand Master Ison will be from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Monday December 21st . The Masonic Service will take place at 6:00 p.m. that evening.

The Hillside Funeral Home is currently not placing any limits on attendance provided everyone is following all PPE and social distancing guidelines. You will be required to wear a mask while inside the Funeral Home. If you plan to attend and not participate in the Masonic Service, please pay your respects, exit the building so others may do the same in a safe manner.

The funeral service and internment on Tuesday December 22nd will be a family-only private service.

His column is broken, and his brethren mourn.

Requiescat in pace.

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