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

<p><a href=”″>Charlie Fick Oral History</a> from <a href=””>Film Farm</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>


Grand Master Frank T. (Ted) Praria 2011-2012

Frank T. Praria, Grand Master
Frank T. Praria, Grand Master

Ted was born in Camden New Jersey in 1945. He now resides in Jamestown, Michigan with his wife of 43 years. They have three children Frank, Jr, Christina Lyn Praria and Victoria Jane Labron. There are three grandchildren Samatha, Brendon and Balee. He is currently employed by GE Aviation Systems as a Lead Development Quality Engineer and will be retiring from GE on January 1, 2012.

His past professional experience has been working for GTE Information Systems in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey as a Quality Assurance Supervisor. In 1979 Ted and the family moved to Houston, Texas where he worked for Singer-Link at the Johnson Space Center as a Senior Quality Engineer on the Space Shuttle Program where he worked with Dr. Sally Ride the first American Female Astronaut. Later the family moved to St. Louis, Missouri where Ted worked for McDonnell Douglas as Senior Quality Procurement Representative. He worked on the Harpoon and Tomahawk Missile programs and one “Black Program”.
In 1989 they moved here to Michigan when Ted began his career with Smiths Industries which later was acquired by GE Aviation Systems. Ted has been responsible for several programs and Products that are used on several Fixed Wing Combat Aircraft such as the F-15, F-16, F/A-22 and the F-35 also several Rotorcraft such as the Apache, SH-60, CH-47 and Marine One. He has also been involved with several Commercial Programs used on Air Force One, 787, A380, C919 and Gulfstream G650. These programs have given him the opportunity to travel to Israel, India, Japan, Korea and China. Ted is a Senior DeMolay and PMC of Excelsior Chapter in New Jersey. He served as Chapter Dad for League City Chapter in League City, Texas and was Chairman of the Advisory Council of Grand Rapids Chapter. He received his Chevalier from League City Chapter and his Legion of Honor from Grand Rapids Chapter. He currently has accepted to be the District Governor of DeMolay for West Michigan.

In 1966 he was raised a Master Mason in Trimble Lodge 117 in Camden, New Jersey. He has been a member of Jacques DeMolay Lodge of Houston Texas. Ted eventually transferred his membership to Valley City Lodge # 86 which is now Grand Rapids Lodge # 34. He served as Worshipful Master in 1997 and was Mason of the year. He is a Honorary Member of several other lodges. He served on the Board of General Purposes for eight years. During that time he was Chairman of the Legislative Committee. He was elected to the Grand Lodge Line in 2004.

He has been active at Saladin Shrine having served on the Executive Board, Director of the Shrine Clowns, Vice President of Midway Shrine Club, First Lieutenant of the Mariners and a Member of the Big Wheels.

Ted is a member of the Grand Rapids York Rite Bodies and is Past Thrice Illustrious Master and Past Recorder of Tyre Council number 10. He is a member of the York Rite College and the Allied Masonic Degrees. He served as Patron of Crescent Chapter OES in New Jersey and is a member of Peninsular Chapter #65 OES, Grand Rapids Michigan. He is also a member of the Valley of Grand Rapids, AASR and has been nominated to receive the 33 degree in August of 2011 in Chicago. He has served as Programs Chairman of Grand Rapids Chapter 1001 of the American Society for Quality, and has served on its executive committee for 10 years and also served on their scholarship committee and on the Member Value Task Force.

Sen. Harry DeMaso Oral History Interview

Senator Harry DeMaso Oral History Interview

Sen. Harry DeMaso Receives 60 Year Pin.

On February 11, 2011, former Sate Senator (R) Harry DeMaso was honored at the Battle Creek Lodge #12. The Senator received his 6o year pin in recognition of his membership in the Masonic Fraternity.  The Senator served as Worshipful Master of Battle CreekLodge in 1955.


Michigan Masonic Charitable FoundationJoe Corrado, Major Gifts Officer of the Masonic Charitable Foundation organized the event.

Peter George WM of Battle Creek presided over the ceremony.



Walt presents the 60 yr. Pin

Walt Wheeler, Director of the Michigan Masonic Foundation,  and Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Michigan Free and Accepted Masons, presented Sen. DeMaso with the “certificate of recognition” for his sixty year membership in the Masonic Fraternity.



Brian, Mari, Harry & Tom

Joining Senator DeMaso for this auspicious event where members of his family; his wife Maria, his son Tom and his grandson Brian.



Several videos were presented to honor Senator DeMaso.  Larry Dillon, Past Master and life long friend of the Senator talked about how he met DeMaso and the influence this had on his life.  

Another video that was presented was a tribute by David Eddy, (Morning Mayor of WBCK Radio).  Eddy talked about the relationship DeMaso had over the years to the Battle Creek Community.

Here’s a video of the event: 

Masonic Oral History Project Review

In May of 2011 the Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation approved the “Masonic Oral History Project for a 6 month trail period.  Since that time we have interviewed eight Masons.  We have an interview scheduled for Oct. 28th in Lansing with former State Senator Harry DeMaso.  We are interviewing the Senator at the Sate Capitol, which will bring the six month total to eight since the project was official sanctioned.  Before that time we interviewed another five members of the Masonic Community.  By mid November  all of the interviews will be posted here.

As part of the review process we created a short video to present to the Foundations Board of Trustees who are meeting on Wednesday October 26.  The video is approximately 8 minutes in length.  We hope you enjoy it and if you could be so kind please add your comments after viewing the video.  Thank you.

Girbe Eefsting

Charles E. Collins Sr. Oral History Interview

On January 31st and February 14 we conducted an oral history interview with Charles Collins at the Film Farm.

Charles Collins Interview Transcript

Charlie is a Master Mason and Past Master of Middleville Lodge #231.  Charlie is a member of many Masonic organizations and has a life time of dedication to the craft.

Here is Charlie with his wife and partner Carol. Carol is a member of the Order of the Eastern Star and works tirelessly with Charlie on many Masonic activities.

Charlie and Carol have been running charity Texas Hold-Em Tournaments for the last several years.  The combined efforts have contributed to numerous Masonic Organizations.

The hall at the Middleville Lodge was dedicated to Charlie for his work in helping paying off the mortgage for the Lodge.

George French, Secretary of Middleville Lodge #231 handcrafted the sign.

Glenn Tussey, Master of Middleville Lodge presided over the ceremonies the evening of May 2nd 2010.  Many members of the Lodge were present in the celebration and dedication of the Charles E. Collins Sr. Masonic Hall.

Thank you to Charlie & Carol of all that you do.

Keep smilin brother!

Charlie Collins died on Sept 3, 2012

This video was made as part of his memorial service which was held Saturday Sept. 8, 2012 in the First Presbyterian Church in Hastings, Michigan.  The Middleville Masons Lodge #231 sponsored a dinner at the Lodge following the memorial service.