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

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Former Philalethes Treasurer, Henry G. Law, Passes

In checking messages from while I was gone, this sad note was posted on Sunday by Terry Tilton, president of the Philalethes Society:

It is with a heavy heart that I announce a faithful workman in our midst has laid down his working tools. On Saturday, September 19th, 2009 Fellow and recently retired Treasurer of The Philalethes Society, Brother Henry G. Law, died at his home in Wilmington, Delaware.

MWB Henry was Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Delaware in 1986 and appointed as Treasurer of The Philalethes Society over 25 years ago. He served very faithfully and with distinction in that capacity and the Society owes him a great debt of gratitude. Due to a diagnosis of inoperable liver cancer, he resigned as the Society's Treasurer in August of this year and has been under hospice care for the past few months.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife and family and pray that they may find comfort and suport in knowing that he no longer walks by faith but by sight in the presence of his Lord where there is only endless, fadeless glory.

Many of you may not have met MWB Henry and so I have attached a picture of him during his years a Grand Master from the archives of the Grand Lodge of Delaware.

The following was posted on the Philalethes list October 8th. The quote from Christopher Wren's grave is indeed appropriate. Well done, good and faithful servant.

Henry George Law, Freemason
September 3, 1940 – September 19, 2009

September 3, 1940 – September 19. 2009, many have written about how much is packed into that dash between an individuals birth and his death. From the perspective of the fraternity of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons in Delaware, there will, undoubtedly be, in the future in Delaware, an individual whose Masonic credentials will be as extensive as Henry G. Law. But it is doubtful that they will be as deep and as significant. Son of a Past Grand Master, Henry I. Law, his exposure to the fraternity came early and ran deep, and that was the pattern for his entire involvement in the fraternity. Starting as a member of Wilmington Chapter, Order of DeMolay where his service to the Craft was later recognized by his being received as an Active Member of the Legion of Honor in 1976 at the age of 35, coincidentally, the same age his father was when he received the same honor in1942.

Hank was raised in his father’s Lodge, Lafayette Lodge Number 14 on September 17, 1968 and served as Master in 1974 thus beginning a journey that would be extraordinary. A Masonic four star general in Delaware, having served as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge in 1985-1986, Grand High Priest of Grand Chapter in 1982-1983, Most Illustrious Grand Master of Grand Council in 1983-1984, and Right Eminent Grand Commander of Grand Commandery in 1991-1992. For his earlier service, as a presiding officer in the constituted bodies of those Grand Bodies, he was received into Philadelphia Priory Number 12, Knights of the York Cross of Honour. In later years, recognizing that Delaware needed its own Priory, he was instrumental in forming Jesse Greene Priory Number 70 and served as its Charter Prior, and thence had the honor of serving as Grand Marshall of Convent General in 1991-1992. He was well on his way to serving as Grand Master General of Convent General, when his life took on a different direction.

In the Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, Hank was coronated a 33º Mason, Honorary member of the Supreme Council in 1986 in recognition of his faithful service to the Valley of Wilmington. He served the Valley in many ways including being Thrice Potent Master of the Lodge of Perfection in 1976 and Commander-In-Chief of the Delaware Consistory in 1987.

His dedicated and devoted service to the fraternity was further recognized by his election into the honors of membership into the prestigious Knights of the Red Cross of Constantine and Appendant Bodies in 1978. He served Delaware Conclave as Sovereign in 1989. Again, because of his loyal commitment to Freemasonry, he was invited to serve as Grand Sentinel of the parent body, the United Grand Imperial Council, in 1990.

Hank was a faithful attendee of Masonic Week in Washington, D.C. He was a member of the bodies meeting on that occasion. In the Allied Masonic Degrees, he was a member of Keystone Council ‘A’, Antient Order of Corks, Masonic Order of the Bath; Great Chief’s Council ‘0’ of Knight Masons where he served the Grand Council as Great Chief in 1987; Grand Preceptor’s Tabernacle ‘A’ of the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests, where he served as Preceptor in 1983; and the Royal Order of Scotland.. It was a direct result of activities in those bodies in Washington that resulted in the subsequent formation, in Delaware, of Keystone Council Number 113, and Two-By-Two Lodge Number 15, Royal Ark Mariners, Allied Masonic Degree; Delaware Council Number 18, Knight Masons. His name can be found as a Charter member, if not the Charter presiding office, in all those bodies.

Our distinguished Brother’s interest in the legacy of Freemasonry prompted him to be a Charter Member of the Delaware Lodge of Research, where he served as Master in 1980; a member of the Societas Rosecruciana In Civitatibus Foederatis, Celebrant in 1988 and the Philalethes Society, where he received their Distinguished Service Medal in 1989 and served as their International Treasurer from 1985 until 2009.

Many join an organization just to become a member, but Hank was always a participant, Many of the Masonic Bodies, of which he was a member, list him also as Secretary or Treasurer, or on numerous Committees. He provided a constant source of challenges and new ideas to each of the organizations to which he belonged.

Blessed with a commanding voice, and an unbelievably sharp memory, he embraced Masonic ritual with a passion. He knew all the Masonic ritual, of all the parts of all the bodies to which he belonged. To be an officer in one of the Bodies, over which Hank presided, brought with it the expectation, no the realization, that you would know your part. You would not only know the words but you would also know what they meant. You would not only know what the degree was all about, but what the teachings and principles of that particular branch of Freemasonry professed. You may have joined his Masonic Body as ‘a poor blind candidate’ but you would not remain in darkness for long, for he was a great teacher and mentor. To be a part of his team of officers, or part of the ritualistic cast which he headed, was not a fearful thing, it was a joy and pleasure that few today can ever experience. Many will ponder, perhaps, what piece of ritualistic work that Hank did, that you enjoyed the most. Several come to mind immediately. His portrayal of the Prince Commander in the old 32nd degree of the Scottish Rite and the very closing lines of that very powerful degree. – ‘Greater Love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for a friend.’ His portrayal of King David in the challenging Thrice Illustrious Master’s Degree of the Council. The delight of the interchange of his role as Benedict Arnold with George Washington in the 20th Degree of the Scottish Rite or the solemnity of the 5 Libations and the Ode in the Order of the Temple, King Athelstan in the York Rite College or his presentation of the Third Degree Lecture – they were all magnificent captivating presentations of beautiful ritual delivered by the Master..

In the late 1980’s after numerous attempts, Delaware was still without a Grand Commandery. Hank and several others took it upon themselves to change that with the formation of Trinity Commandery Number 3 and thence the establishment of the Grand Commandery of Delaware, of which he was Charter Grand Commander. During the Triennium of Grand Encampment in Washington, DC in 1991, whence the Grand Commandery of Delaware received their Charter, whilst lingering in the hall ways during a break in the session, Hank and several others from Delaware, found themselves in a conversation with John Robinson, the author of ‘Born In Blood- The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry’, At that time, John Robinson was not a member of the fraternity but was an outstanding proponent and defender of Freemasonry. At Hanks on the spot initiative, John Robinson was asked to come to Delaware and share with the Brethren, his thoughts on Freemasonry. He graciously accepted and thus began Jesse Greene Priory’s very successful ‘Evenings of Masonic Enlightenment’

Masonic scholar, teacher, mentor, leader, ritualist, author, confidant, trail blazer, repository of vast knowledge, builder of computer data bases on membership and honors, Hank was also a husband (Pat), a father (Kathy, George, Kenneth), a grandfather (Nicolette, Lexie, Jacob, Christopher), a graduate of the University of Delaware, a former duPont Project Engineer and Ciba-Geigy employee, a recipient of numerous Jaycees awards, a Master Gardner, with a fondness for roses, and a devout member of St. John’s Lutheran Church. He was truly a Man For All Seasons, for all people.

To paraphrase a portion of the ritual which Hank experienced:

It is our supreme task to inspire men to seek Righteousness because it is right;
Justice because it is just;
Goodness because it is good;
Truth because it is true.

Hank lived that 24 by 7.

It is difficult to face the realization that the next time one seeks a bit of advice, or some distant recollection of a name or event, that Past Grand Master Henry G. Law will not be there to assist. As great as that loss will be, a far greater loss would have been had we never had the pleasure of knowing and working with Hank.

Service for Henry G. Law will be held on Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 135 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, Delaware at 11:00 A.M.

In the crypts of St. Paul’s Church, on Ludgate Hill in London, England, is the final resting place of Sir, and Brother, Christopher Wren, the Master builder of St. Paul’s Church, his only round Church. Wren’s memorial reads – ‘If you seek a monument, look around you.’ Henry G. Law spent the last years of his life overseeing the building of St. John’s Lutheran Church. If you seek a monument to his name, look around that Church. Look not only at the Church, but also at the people present.

Good night, sweet Prince, may flights of heavenly angels guide you on your way and sing you to sleep.

Donald D. Thomas, PGM
September 21, 2009

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