This film explores the history of Masonry in Michigan from its beginning in the late 18th Century to the present.
Category: The Legacy Series: Oral Histories with Michigan Masons
This project is recording the oral histories of Masons in Michigan
Grand Lodge Installation of the Grand Master Richard Wisely
Russel C. Wells, Past Grand Master 1983-1984
Most Worshipful Grand Master, 1983-1984
Russel C. Wells was born on July 4, 1934 in Detroit Michigan. He graduated from Detroit Cooley High School in 1952. He graduated from the University of Michigan where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering in 1957 and from the Detroit College of Law receiving his LLB degree in 1964 and his Juris Doctor in 1968. He was the Northern Regional Patent Counsel for The Bendix Corporation.
He married Joan Marie Podany on June 22, 1957. They were blessed with two sons and a daughter.
He was raised as a Master Mason on October 18, 1956 by Glenn L. Alt, Grand Marshal and Rex P. Sackett, Junior Grand Warden in William M. Perrett Lodge No 524. In 1975, the Senior Wardens of Metropolitan Detroit elected Russel as their presiding officer. He served his Lodge as Worshipful Master in 1976 and that year he was elected president of the Masonic Masters’ Association of Metropolitan Detroit. In 1958 he joined and is a Life Member of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Detroit where he was active in the portrayal of the dramatic degrees. Also in 1958 he joined Moslem Temple A.A.O.N.M.S. where he served as DeMolay Chairman from 197l-77, Masonic Relations Chairman in 1977 and on the Legal Staff from 1977-80. The Detroit Court of the Royal Order of Jesters nominated him to membership in 1972.
In York Rite Masonry, he is a member of Birmingham Chapter No. 93 R.A.M., Monroe Council No. 1 R. & S.M., Detroit Commandery No. 1 K.T., York Rite College No. 1, and in 1982 he was elected to receive the Order of the Purple Cross of the York Rite Sovereign College of North America. He is a member in Victoria Chapter No. 290 O.E.S. in Detroit and Southfield Hi-12 Club. The following lodges have elected him as an Honorary Member: Centerline No. 550 in 1978, Lincoln Park No. 539 and Dearborn No. 172 in 1980, Golden Ark No. 595, Vienna No. 205, and Olive Branch No. 542 in 1982, He is also an Honorary Member of Mizpah Shrine Temple of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
He served on the Administrative Board and the Finance Committee of the Nardin Park United Methodist Church, and on the Deerfield Village Community Association where he was the Charter Treasurer and the second President. He served on the Community Advisory Board of Woodland Hills Center in Troy.
He became Michigan’s Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons during the closing hours of the 158th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Michigan in Flint on May 25, 1983.
During his term of office he laid the Cornerstone for the Masons Wing at the Michigan Masonic Home on August 27, 1983.
Grand Master Robert G. Helmic 2004 – 2005
Most Worshipful Grand Master, 2004-2005
Robert G. Helmic was born on May 28, 1939 in Lansing, Michigan. He graduated from J.W. Sexton High School and attended the General Motors Institute before graduating from Michigan State University with a Bachelors degree in Landscape Architecture. After working for the Parks Department of the City of Lansing, he began a career with the state Parks Division of the Department of Natural Resources, which lasted for more than 32 years. During that time, he oversaw the Development Planning Section and was in charge of the $60 Million Quality of Life Recreation Bond Program.
He married Ann Blomquist on June 16, 1964. They were blessed with a daughter and a son.
He joined Lansing Chapter, Order of DeMolay in 1954. He is a Past Master Councilor, Chevalier and a member of the Legion of Honor. He was raised as a Master Mason on November 30, 1960 in Walter French Lodge No. 557. He immediately became a steward and began to serve on the DeMolay Advisory Board. He transferred his membership to Okemos Lodge No. 252 in 1979 and served as his brother-in-law’s Chaplain. He served as Worshipful Master in 1983 and was the Lodge’s Mason of the Year in 1987. He was elected Grand Marshal in 1999.
He was active with Job’s Daughters when his daughter Robin joined Okemos Bethel No. 50. He served as Associate Bethel Guardian in 1980. He later served as Director of Epochs and Guardian Treasurer for Bethel No. 5 Lansing-Okemos. He served as Associate Grand Guardian in 1995-96.
He holds Honorary Memberships in Lake City Lodge No. 408 and in St. George Lodge No. 190 in Aberdeen, Scotland. He is a member of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Bay City; Lansing Commandery No.25; Williamston Chapter No. 117, R.A.M.; Leslie Council No. 50 R. & S.M.; St. Martin Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine; King Aethelstan York Rite College No. 47; Elf Khurafeh Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S.; Saginaw Court No. 74 Royal Order of Jesters; Lansing High 12 Club; National Sojourners, Chapter No. 316; Past Patron Arbutus Chapter No. 45. O.E.S., and Michigan Lodge of Research No. 1. He was appointed Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of Goias, Brazil in 2001.
He was duly elected and installed as the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Michigan on May 24, 2004.
Ambassador Meeting MMCF
The Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation’s Lewis Cass Society meeting.
What Is Oral History?
Grand Master Ira S. Slaven 2007 – 2008
IRA S. SLAVEN MOST WORSHIPFUL GRAND MASTER 2007-2008
Ira Sherman Slaven was born in Taylor, Michigan on February 1, 1942, the third child of AY and Ruby Slaven. Ira was educated in Taylor Schools and graduated from Taylor Center High School in June 1960.
He joined the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at K I Sawyer Air Force Base in Marquette and then at Kincheloe Air Force Base in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
After his discharge he attended Henry Ford College, studying for a career in Mortuary Science. While working as a medical technician for Taylor Ambulance in 1965, he met Gayle Dornton in the Emergency Room of Oakwood Hospital.
They were married on October 5, 1968 and were blessed with five children, Joseph, Judith, Joanna, Jayson and Jessica. They have six Grandchildren, with number 7 & 8 on the way.
While working for the ambulance company Ira accepted a challenge from a fellow worker and wrote the exam for a position with the Taylor Fire Department as a Firefighter. Ira was hired shortly thereafter and retired in 1996 as Fire Inspector.
Ira began his Masonic journey while serving with the Air Force in Sault Ste. Marie when he petitioned Bethel Lodge #358. After his discharge he transferred his membership to Golden Ark Lodge #595 and served as the Secretary for a total of more than 23 years, serving as Worshipful Master in 1977and is currently a Life Member.
Ira’s other Masonic affiliations include a plural membership with Allen Park Key Lodge #580; Valley of Detroit Scottish Rite, where he served as Most Wise Master of Mt. Olivet Chapter of Rose Croix; Detroit Commandery No. 1, K.T.; Monroe Council #1, R.& S.M.; Monroe Chapter #1, R.A.M.; Moslem Temple Shrine; Nankin Chapter, O.E.S.; and Al Matta Grotto.
Master Mason Chuck Zilch, PM, Edmore Lodge No. 360
The Legacy Series: Oral Histories with Masons of Michigan. In this segment, Keith Bankwitz, Dir. of Philanthropy for the Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation, interviews Chuck Zilch, Past Master of Edmore Lodge No. 360. The interview was conducted at Pathways the Masonic Retirement Community in Alma, MI. The date was June 5, 2013.
Grand Master Mike J. Jungle Past Master 2008 – 2009
MICHAEL JUNGEL MOST WORSHIPFUL GRAND MASTER 2008-2009
Most Worshipful Brother Michael J. Jungel was elected Grand Master of Masons in Michigan at the 182nd Annual Communication held at the Detroit Masonic Temple in the City of Detroit on May 31, 2008.
Mike was born July 3, 1946 in Paw Paw, Michigan the eldest son of Warren Michael and MaryLou Jungel. He spent 38 years in law enforcement retiring as Deputy Chief of Police for the City of Portage.
Upon retirement from Portage he was hired to develop a police agency and assist in development of the criminal justice system for the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, where he retired in 2007.
He was a Michigan State Police Basic Academy graduate as well as a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He also attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Western Michigan University.
Most Worshipful Brother Mike joined Brady Lodge #208 (now Portage-Brady #340) in 1985 and served two years as Worshipful Master. He also served several years on the Vicksburg Masonic Temple Association.
He is a member of Michigan Lodge #1 of Research Kalamazoo Area Masonic Retirees and an Honorary Member of St Albans Lodge #20, Buchanan Lodge #68 and Montrose Lodge #428. Most Worshipful Brother Mike is a member of Loyalty Chapter #497 Order of the Eastern Star. In the York Rite, he is a Past High Priest of Kalamazoo Chapter #13, Royal Arch Masons, Past Thrice Illustrious Master of Kalamazoo Council #63, Past Commander Peninsular Commandery #8, and Past Governor of Western Michigan York Rite College #10. He served, as Grand Prelate for Grand Commandery in 2002-2003.
He is a holder of the Grand Knight York Cross of Honor and the Order of the Purple Cross. He is also a Past Sovereign Master Marcellus Council Allied Masonic Degrees, member of the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests and St Vincent’s Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine.
Most Worshipful Brother Mike was elected and served as Grand Master of the Grand Council Royal and Select Masons in 1994.He is a member of the Valley of Grand Rapids Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite and served as Most Wise Master of Robinson Chapter of Rose Croix in 1998- 2000.
He served on the Children’s Learning Center Board of Governors as a member and one term as chairman. He also served on the Board of Trustees a number of years including one term as vice –president and one term as president. He was coroneted a 33rd Degree Mason in Indianapolis Indiana in 2001.
He is also a member of Saladin Shrine AANOMS and the Kalamazoo Shrine Club.
Most Worshipful Brother Mike and Rosemary are members of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Portage where he serves as an usher and lay reader.
Most Worshipful Brother Mike married the former Rosemary Brown in 1966. They have three children Elizabeth, Michael Jr., and Heidi. They also have seven grand children Thena, Clara, Crystal and Ashley daughters of Elizabeth and her husband Robert Johnson and Melissa, Ashley and Tiffany daughters of Michael and his wife Ann.
Master Mason Charles F. Fick’s Oral History
We interviewed Charlie Fick at the Super 8 Motel in Grayling, Michigan on July 28, 2011. The Super 8 Motel is part of “Charlie’s Country Corner,” in Grayling and includes a Marathon Gas Station, an Arby’s Restaurant, CAT Certified Scales and serves as Charlie’s Corporate Headquarters.
Conducting the interview is Keith Bankwitz, Director of Philanthropy for the Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation.
We enjoyed spending time with Charlie and getting to know him and his community. Charlie is a committed to Mason. He gave us a card that he passes out to people that he helps and Charlie helps a lot of people. or when he sees someone who might be a mason he will present this card to them as well. Over the years he has printed and given out over 31,000 of these cards.
David Bedwell, President of the Foundation introduced us to Charlie. Thank you for that David.
Here’s is the interview with Charlie Fick. Hope you enjoy hearing Charlie Fick’s Oral History