"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

PGM Robert E. Hancock Jr., RIP

At approximately 4:00PM today, Brother Robert Emerson Hancock Jr., PGM, passed to the Celestial Lodge. Bob was indeed one of a kind, and his shoes will be very difficult to fill in Indiana Freemasonry. He once remarked during a meeting I attended that there was no reason to be a Freemason if it wasn't fun, and Bob made sure his Masonry was fun every single day.

Funeral services are being planned and information will be forthcoming.

Please keep his wife Suzy, his son Rob and their family in your thoughts and prayers.

From MWBro. Jeffrey P. Zaring, Grand Master of the State of Indiana:

Here are the arrangements for the calling and services for Most Worshipful Brother Robert Emerson Hancock, Jr., Past Grand Master of Indiana and Past Potentate of Murat Shriners.

Thursday, August 28
1 pm - 9 pm Calling at the Indianapolis Scottish Rite Cathedral (family plans to be present from 1 - 4 and 6 - 9)

Friday, August 29
10 am Masonic Service at the Indianapolis Scottish Rite Cathedral (followed by religious service and committal)


  1. “…one of a kind…” truly an understatement. Bob’s ability to inspire a crowd, whether for his ideas or not, were remarkable. When he was in the crowd, his presence was always known, and he will be missed. -William M. Sanders, Jr., PM - Carmel Lodge #421

  2. I'm sorry to hear it. I didn't know the man, but your obvious regard for him impressed me that this is a loss to us all. I look forward to meeting him somewhere.

  3. Thank you Chris for your kind words. It seems that the Services for my father will be a tremendous tribute to his love and dedication to our Fraternity. The funeral has a Committee (The FOB). The Services will take place at the Scottish Rite Cathedral on Aug. 28th and 29th. The showing will be that Thursday from 1:00pm to 9:00pm and the Ceremony will begin at 10:00am on Friday.
    Fraternally - Robert Emerson Hancock III

  4. Rob,
    When your dad was Grand Master, one of the edicts he issued was that, when the lodge was closed, the Bible should remain open on the altar, turned to a particular passage.

    All year long, the grousing came from the sidelines.

    It wasn't in the ritual.
    It wasn't proper.
    How can lodge be closed if the Bible is open?
    The passage was from the New Testament, and so, too Christian.
    It added extra steps for the Senior Deacon to remember.

    Come May 1999, the assembled Grand Lodge couldn't wait to be done with it. It was cast on the heap with his other edicts. But I never once heard anyone comment on the message itself, how it pertained to Freemasonry, and how Bob intended it to be an inspiration to Masons to behave every day.

    The passage?

    "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

    Bob was never shy about being a Freemason, and he believed none of us should be shy about it either.

  5. Bob is truly a remarkable man...He has touched my life for the last 15 years as a true Free Mason, as a Job's Daughter for the past 18 years I think everyday for the Masonic Heritage that men like Bob give to young ladies. Bob's family is very near and dear to my heart, and the Masonic Order truly lost a great man. Thank you again for entering my life at the young age of 15 and being my "buddy" and supporting me in my Job's Daughters career. Job's Daughters Love, Tori Allen, Past Grand Bethel Honored Queen 2001-2002, Past Honored Queen 1995, Majority Member Bethel No. 25 Muncie, IN.

  6. My condolences to the family.

  7. Robert Emerson Hancock, Jr.

    Born: September 07, 1939
    Died: August 19, 2008
    Services:Friday, August 29, 2008 at 10:00 A.M. at the Indianapolis Valley of the Scottish Rite Auditorium, 650 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, Indiana
    Visitation:Friends may call from 1:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. on Thursday, August 28, 2008 at the Scottish Rite Ballroom, 650 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, Indiana
    Robert Emerson Hancock, Jr., 68, Carmel, Past Grand Master of Masons, for the State of Indiana, died Tuesday, August 19th.

    Mr. Hancock was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, September 7, 1939 to Robert Emerson Hancock and Wauneta Mary Reynolds in Indianapolis. He married the former Suzanne Byrkit on June 17, 1961, in Indianapolis, who survives. They have resided in Carmel since 1971.

    He is also survived by one son, Robert Emerson (Donna) Hancock, III ; one daughter, Lisa Louise (Troy) Hanna; two brothers, Thomas (Winnie) Hancock and Harold (Helen) Hancock; three sisters, Sharon (Paul) Thompson, Shirley (Jim) Cummings, and Jane (William) Nolan; and four grandchildren, Kyla Marie and Lauren Victoria Hancock and Spencer Cole and Hayden Christopher Hanna.

    He graduated from Broad Ripple High School in 1957 and attended Indiana University in Indianapolis. He was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity and was a veteran of the United States Air Force Reserve.

    A professional salesman, he was a former part owner of HP Chemical Company in the late sixties and seventies. He was also the founder of North Side Carpet Cleaning and Office Environments, Inc. which operated McKelvey-Kell Carpet Cleaning and Clipper Supplies and Repairs. He was also the owner of Barrett Industrial Supplies and Barrett Taski Floor Systems. He currently was the Membership Director of Field Service for the Indianapolis Valley of the Scottish Rite.

    He has been a member of Meridian Street United Methodist Church for over 40 years and has served the church as a trustee. He has served Crossroads of America Council, Boy Scouts of America as a member of their Board of Directors and as President of the Indianapolis Exchange Club.

    He was a former member of Woodland Country Club, Carmel.

    Mr. Hancock had served as the 148th Grand Master of Masons for the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons for the State of Indiana in 1998, Potentate of Murat Shrine in 1997, President of The Cabiri International (the international association of Shrine past potentates) in 2006-2007 and Commander-in-Chief of the Indiana Consistory, Indianapolis Valley of the Scottish Rite from 1986 to 1988. He was the very first recipient of the Medal of Honor given by the Indiana Council of Deliberation for the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in 1998. He received the 33 degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in 1988 at Grand Rapids, Michigan.

    His Masonic memberships were numerous.

    He applied to become a member of Calvin Prather Masonic Lodge #717 on his twenty-first birthday. He served as Worshipful Master of Calvin Prather Lodge in 1991. He was a member of Prather Chapter, Royal Arch Masons #157; Prather Council #100, Cryptic Masons; and Raper Commandry #1, Knights Templar.

    He joined Indianapolis Valley of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in 1967 and became very active in the public dramatic plays and in the degree presentations. He became a Valley officer in 1974, culminating as being elected Commander-in-Chief in 1986. He further served the Valley as a Trustee through 1991. Robert
    was best known throughout the State of Indiana by his efforts in Masonic membership development.

    Mr. Hancocks service to Freemasonry also included the Murat Shrine Center. He served as the 86th Potentate of Murat in 1997. A member since 1967, he had served as President for the mens singing group, the Chanters, and the Caravan Club. He was an Honorary member of many Murat units and clubs as well as the other four Shrine Centers in Indiana. He began serving on the Board of Governors of the Chicago Unit of Shriners Hospitals for Children in 1983 and was an Emeritus member of that Board. He was a member of the Royal Order of Jesters.

    His service to the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons as an officer began in 1992. He has served as a Grand Lodge Trustee. Recent duties included membership on the Foreign Relations, Historical Commission, Marketing and public relations committees, and the Indiana Masonic Home Board of Directors.

    Other Masonic memberships included being a honorary member of Mystic Tie Lodge #398, Indianapolis, Emeritus member St. James Conclave, Military Order of the Red Cross of Constantine and the Indiana College Masonic Societas Rosicruciana. He had been awarded the DeMolay Legion of Honor. He also was the Indiana Grand Lodge Representative to the State of Vermont.

    His hobbies included golf and fishing.

    The funeral will be held Friday, August 29, 2008 at 10:00 A.M. at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, 650 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, Indiana.

    Friends may call from 1:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. on Thursday, August 28, 2008 in the Scottish Rite Ballroom. The family will receive friends from 1:00 to 4:00 and from 6:00 to 9:00 P.M. Thursday. Burial will be at Washington Park, North Cemetery, Indianapolis.

    Memorial contributions may be made to the Indiana Masonic Home Foundation, P.O. Box 44210, Indianapolis, IN 46244; Scottish Rite Cathedral Foundation, 650 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204; and/or the Murat Shrine Transportation Fund, 510 N. New Jersey St., Indianapolis, IN 46204.

    Arrangements have been entrusted to Wilson St.Pierre Funeral Service, Indianapolis.

    (From the Wilson St. Pierre website.)


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