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


Sunday, August 13, 2017

When Supporting Columns Break

Illus. Brother Walter P. Worland passed to the Celestial Lodge on Thursday. He was 94 and passed away in his own bed at home. Walter spent 14 years as the editor of the Indiana Freemason magazine, after Dwight Smith stopped and before Bill Bissey started.

I spent time with Walter back in February at his impeccably kept house in Greenfield. Since he had to stop driving a while back, his garage had been converted into something of a private den and a personal museum of his past achievements. In his life, he was in the U.S. Army Air Force (and I'll swear the Navy at one point, as well), got married, served his community as a city councilman for many years, ran for mayor of his small town, eventually published a local newspaper—the Greenfield Daily Reporter—served on numerous town boards including the hospital board and led fundraising and planning commissions, and became a political party leader. 

As a Mason, he edited our magazine when it was monthly for all those years, was a Past Master of his lodge, headed his Templar Commandery, served as the state’s Grand Commander, was coroneted a 33° Scottish Rite Sovereign Grand Inspector General, and was on the Masonic Home Board committees. His gold-plated Commander's sword is still proudly hanging over his mantlepiece.

Oh, and it took him until 2014 to get around to graduating high school, because he had been too busy actually accomplishing things, since he joined the military before he finished school.

All Masonry is local, and all Masons once were local, too.

We once either attracted men who were the pillars of the communities, or we taught the ones who would become those leaders. Masons didn’t need to beg those guys to join, they were attracted to us because of our reputation—a reputation we’ve been living off of for over half a century now, that we don’t earn or even deserve any more. Where are our Masonic mayors and councilmen and school principals, and sheriffs and judges and business leaders, and congressmen and senators and presidents today? Much less, our philosophers who debated the issues of the Enlightenment that we were once living out within the walls of our lodge meetings? Not many of them can be found in our lodges now. The truth is that when we circulate lists of famous Freemasons, we’re lying. Those lists are like some phantom limb that our brain remembers from before it got blown off in our more recent past. We once demanded the very best in our membership, but we also created the best, too. The guys like Walter Worland didn’t start off his life out of the USAAF as a high school dropout being a great man. But he became one over time, in his family, his town, his state, his fraternity.

A Masonic service has been scheduled for 2:45PM on Tuesday, August 15 at Stillinger Family Funeral Home, Pasco Chapel, 1780 W Main Street, Greenfield. His public visitation lasts from 3 to 8PM. His funeral service will be held at 10AM Wednesday at the funeral home with calling one hour before the service. Burial is immediately following at Park Cemetery with Military rites provided by the Greenfield Veterans Honor Guard.

Whenever a column like this one is broken, we brethren need to mourn very deeply indeed. His was a load-bearing one, not merely decorative. Then we need to get to work making damn sure we step up to stand in their place, in our fraternity and more important, in the world we are briefly inhabiting.

1 comment:

  1. Walter was a great man and also very supportive our our Masonic Youth. The Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Indiana donated the flag pole at the DeMolay Chateau during his year as Grand Commander. I knew him from my time working at the DeMolay Office in Frankin. He was one in a million. RIP Brother Worland.

    Rob Fields, PSMC Indiana DeMolay 89-90
    Member of Peru-Miami Lodge 67, Peru Indiana


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