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


Thursday, April 06, 2017

Brother Don Rickles - RIP

Another of my boyhood icons has passed to the Celestial Lodge, which is one of the saddest and most unstoppable side effects of aging, I'm afraid. Nevertheless, it's always a pleasant discovery when one of them turns out to have been a Freemason. 

Brother Donald Jay Rickles passed away today at the age of 90. He died in his Los Angeles home of kidney failure. He is survived by Barbara, his loving wife of 52 years.

Brother Rickles was raised on June 6, 1953 and remained a member of what is today Service City Geba Lodge 1009, which meets in the Anchor Astoria Temple on 30th Avenue in Astoria, New York (the lodge has been through several consolidations, and I haven't been able to find out which of them was his original one). My understanding is that he hadn't attended his Mother Lodge for almost three decades, but still faithfully mailed in his dues check each year.

To mark his passing, I include a Youtube link above to his 1968 album, "Hello,  Dummy," which I feel is only appropriate for my site. For those who live their lives in a perennial state of indignance and offense, I suspect his brand of comedy will be positively horrific in this day and age. That's too bad, because he packed audiences full of folks of every race, creed, ethnicity, and persuasion who were only too delighted to be on the receiving end of his "insults" for over half a century. He spared no one, and by doing so, made us all laugh at each other and ourselves as a result. Meanwhile, offstage, he was known as one of the kindest and most generous people in show business. Not a bad legacy, that.

His column is broken and his brethren mourn.

UPDATE 4/14/17:

Brother Bil Vassily in New York got curious about Brother Don's original lodge, and passed along the following bit of detective work:
Doing some research I find the following.
Don Rickles was born and brought up in Jackson Heights, Queens.Geba Lodge #954 was located in Elmhurst which is just north of Jackson Heights.
I lived in Rego Park during the early 60s that was just south of both.
Service Lodge #1009 was located in Flushing, Queens which was quite a distance east of that area of Queens.
Going by a Grand Lodge Proceedings dated 1954 lists the two lodges as separate. Geba #954 and Service #1009.
My bet is on Geba #954.
Bil was ultimately correct: their Secretary confirmed it was indeed Geba Lodge 954.


  1. I had the honor of addressing Service City Geba Lodge #1009 last fall, and the Secretary told me that Brother Rickles was indeed a member there.

  2. Thanks Brother Chris...well spoken!

  3. His tools where wit and timing, and the world is much more grim for them to have fallen silent.

  4. Brother don rickles was a wonderful human being who made everybody happy. May the grand architect of the universe bless him and his family!


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