Grand Master W. Don Baugher 1993-1994

Don's Card ClipW. Don Baugher was born on October 20, 1938 in Senath, Missouri. He graduated from Senath High School and moved to Michigan in 1956. After serving two years in the U.S. Army, he went to work for the Whirlpool Corporation in Benton Harbor. He attended Lake Michigan College, and majored in Business Administration while working for Whirlpool. He continued to work for them for over thirty-nine years until he retired. He married Georgia “Jo” Bishop on September 23, 1961. They were blessed with two daughters.

He was raised a Master Mason on March 25, 1963 in Lake Shore Lodge No. 298. He transferred to Coloma Lodge No. 162 where he served as Worshipful Master in 1978. He holds honorary memberships in Dearborn Lodge No. 172, Three Oaks Lodge No. 239, Lake City Lodge No. 408, St. Joseph Lodge No. 437 and Britannia No. 601, a Lodge he constituted when he was Grand Master. He served the Board of General Purposes for District No. 10, and served as Board President in 1984-1985. He is a member of the York Rite and holds memberships with the Calvin Britain Chapter No. 72, R.A.M.; Nile Council No. 19, R. & S.M.; Malta Commandery No. 44 and York Rite College No. 10. He is a member and Past Puissant Sovereign of St. Vincent Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine. He joined the Scottish Rite in the Valley of Grand Rapids in 1972 and was elected Class President. He has worked on the 4th, 8th, 23rd and 32nd degrees. He has held several offices in the Consistory and currently serves as First Lieutenant Commander of DeWitt Clinton Consistory. He crossed the hot sands of Saladin Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S., and served as Membership Chairman for District 1. He is a Past President of the Berrien County Shrine Club. He is a member of the Coloma Chapter No. 307, Order of the Eastern Star. He serves on the advisory Board of the Fidelity Rainbow Assembly No. 45 and is a State Official for the Michigan Grand Assembly and a member of the Grand Cross of Color. He is very involved with the National Masonic Foundation for Children. He has served on the NMFC Board of Directors since 1991, served at its President for four years and currently serves as Executive Director.

He was installed as the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Michigan Masons at the close of the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons on May 26, 1993. There were 77,000 Masons in 431 lodges in Michigan during his term of office.


Grand Master Lary R. Smith 2003-2004

Lary Smith GM PortLary R. Smith was born on April 24, 1942 in Plymouth, Michigan. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in teaching physics from Kalamazoo College and obtained a Master of Science degree in theoretical mathematics at The Ohio State University. He also took course work at Wayne State University and other universities, including the University of Glasgow, Scotland.

After graduating he taught math and physics in the Warren Consolidated School District and in the Livonia Public Schools. In 1970 he became the Livonia Public Schools’ Computer Specialist and then joined the staff of the Wayne County Intermediate School District (now Wayne County Regional Educational Service Agency-Wayne County RESA) as its Computer/Technology Consultant. After retiring in 1999, he started EdTech, LLC, a consultant firm that helps local school districts make the Internet accessible to students.

He was raised as a Master Mason on May 24, 1974 in Plymouth Rock Lodge No. 47. Over the next few years he assisted as an advisor to the Plymouth Chapters of Rainbow and DeMolay. He served as Worshipful Master in 1979-80 and again in 1989-90. In 1992 he was elected Lodge Mason of the Year and was also awarded District Mason of the Year. He joined the Plymouth Chapter No. 115, Order of the Eastern Star in 1976 and in 1980-81 while serving as Worshipful Master, served as the Chapter’s Worthy Patron. In 1978 he was elected to the Plymouth Rock Masonic Temple Association and served as its Secretary until 1995. In 1989 he was elected Secretary of the Masonic Masters’ Association. He served for over 20 years in that position. In 1995 he became a plural member with Britannia Lodge No. 601 and served as its Secretary from then until 2001. In 1978 he joined the Plymouth High Twelve Club No. 64 and served as its President several times and is still a member of Redford-Northwest Club No. 14. He has served on the Grand Lodge’s Computer Committee since 1994, has been a Grand Representative to the Grand Lodge of Uruguay and, more recently, to the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island, served on the Masonic Foundation of Michigan, Inc. and was appointed in 1998 as one of nine Grand Master’s Representatives in the State of Michigan. He has been a member of the Quatuor Coronati Correspondence Circle in association with Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, the premier Lodge of Masonic Research in London since 1994. He is also a member of the Michigan Lodge of Research and Information No. 1., the Scottish Rite and York Rite Bodies.

He was elected Worshipful Grand Marshal at the 1998 Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge in Grand Rapids and was duly elected and installed as the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Michigan at the Annual Communication held in Acme, Michigan in May 2003.

On July 29, 2003, Most Worshipful Grand Master Lary R. Smith presided over a crowd estimated at more than 500 people to help dedicate the new John C. and Velma Doig Community Conference Center on the campus of the Michigan Masonic Home in Alma, Michigan.

His term ended in the closing hours of the 178th Annual Communication in May 2004, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Legacy Series: MWB Donald J. Van Kirk Most Worshipful Grand Master, 1996-1997

Donald VanKirk, PGM 1996-1997Most Worshipful Grand Master, 1996-1997

Donald J. Van Kirk was born on January 6, 1935. When he was seven years old, his family moved to Dearborn. He graduated from Dearborn High School and received a two year associated degree from Henry Ford Community College. He served in the U.S. Navy and continued his education as the 1st Class Recruit Education Petty Officer at Great Lakes, Illinois and graduated at the top of his class at the Electronics School. He completed several courses through the U.S. Armed Forces Institute and passed the Federal Communications Commission Examination for a first class Radio-Television Operators license. He attained the rank of 2nd Class Petty Officer before his honorable discharge from the Navy after four years of service. He married Wyva Moore on April 28, 1956. They were blessed with one daughter.

He received his Electrical Engineering Degree from Wayne State University, a Masters Degree in Engineering Mechanics, and a Master’s Degree in Finance and Management from the University of Michigan. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Michigan. He was employed by the Ford Motor Company in special Vehicle Engineering for twenty years before his retirement in 1985. He established his own Forensic and Consulting Engineering firm.

He has been a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers for more than twenty years and has served on their Biomechanics Subcommittee.

He was raised as a Master Mason on May 16, 1977 in Dearborn Lodge No. 172. He is a member of Phoenicia Waverly Lodge No. 527 and served as its Worshipful Master in 1990. He holds membership in Dearborn Chapter No. 172, R.A.M.; Northville Council No. 30, R. & S.M.; Detroit Commandery No. 1, K.T.; Detroit York Rite College No. 1, where he served as Governor in 1991. He holds Purple Cross and Charity Jewel Awards. He is a member of the Scottish Rite, Valley of Detroit, where he served as Thrice Potent Master as well as Commander-in-Chief. He was Coroneted with the Thirty-third Degree in 1988. He served as Recording Secretary of the Cycle Patrol Unit of Moslem Temple Shrine for ten years. He is also a charter member of Britannia Lodge No. 601 and the Michigan Lodge of Research and Information No. 1, where he was a founding member and second Worshipful Master. He is a member of Dearborn Chapter No. 421, O.E.S.; Al Matta Grotto; Thistle and Rose Council No. 27 of the Allied Masonic Degrees and served as Celebrant of the Michigan College of the Sociatas Rosicruciana in Civitas Foeteratis. He is also a member of the Iowa, Missouri and Southern California Masonic Research Lodges as well as the Correspondence Circle of Quatour Coronati Lodge No. 2070 in London, England. He holds life memberships in the Philalethes Society, Royal Order of Scotland and has had ten Masonic research papers published, earning him the honor of being listed in “Who’s Who in Freemasonry.”

He was duly elected and installed as the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Michigan on May 30, 1996.

During his term of office he dedicated the John C. and Velma Doig Chapel and Education Center at the Michigan Masonic Home in August 1996. He also dedicated the new public library in Lowell, Michigan.

Grand Master Henry A. Wilson, Jr. 1984-1985

Henry A. Wilson, Jr. PGM 1984-1985Most Worshipful Grand Master, 1984-1985

Henry A. Wilson, Jr. was born in Detroit on June 12, 1939. He attended Southeastern High School and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Genetics from Michigan Lutheran College in 1968. In 1978 he received a Masters of Art degree in Computer Science from the University of Detroit. He worked toward a Doctorate Degree in Education, Evaluation, Measurements and Research at Wayne State University. He was a partner and department head of the Management Advisory Services of Alexander Grant & Company, a national Certified Public Accounting firm.

He met his wife, Mildred, while he was stationed in Stephenville, Newfoundland while in the United States Air Force. They married on June 17, 1962.

He was raised as a Master Mason in Grosse Pointe Lodge No. 584 on February 18, 1972. Four years later he served his Lodge as Worshipful Master. In 1977, he was elected representative for District Three to the Board of General Purposes. The delegates at the 153rd Annual Communication elected him as Worshipful Grand Marshal in May 1978.

In York Rite Masonry, he is a member of East Detroit Chapter No. 185, Royal Arch Masons, Jeremiah Council No. 88, R. & S.M., Highland Park Commandery No. 53, Knights Templar and Prince Edward York Rite College No. 8. In 1983, he was elected to receive the Order of the Purple Cross of York Rite Sovereign College of North America. He is also a holder of the Gold Cross Award of York Rite Colleges.

In Scottish Rite Masonry, he is a member of the Valley of Detroit. He is Past Sovereign Prince, Carson Council, Princes of Jerusalem 1982-1983. He was coroneted a 33º Mason in Cleveland Ohio in 1985.

He joined Moslem Temple A.A.O.N.M.S. in 1973, and served as a member of the Fraternal Relations Committee. In 1982, he was nominated for membership in the Detroit Court of the Royal Order of Jesters. In 1978, he joined the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Valley of Detroit where he was active in the portrayal of the dramatic degrees. He is also a member in the Lakeshore Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star in Grosse Pointe and Detroit, and the Downtown Hi-12 Club. He was named as an Honorary Member of the following Lodges: Harper Woods No. 585, Dearborn Lodge No. 172 and William M. Perrett Lodge No. 524.

He also served as Treasurer and Junior Warden and as an usher, for St. Columbus Episcopal Church. He was also a member of the reorganization committee for Wayne County.

During his term of office he Dedicated wings A & B of the Michigan Masonic Home on August 4, 1984.

Grand Master Robert W. Sanborn 1982-1983

Sanborn GM PhotoRobert W. Sanborn was born in Geneseeville, Michigan on February 10, 1929. His family moved to Clio shortly after his birth. He graduated from Clio High School and started his own retail gasoline business at the age of 19. In 1952 he changed to the wholesale petroleum business and owned the Sanborn Oil Company in Clio.

On April 2, 1950 he married Donna Jeanne Scott. They were blessed with three sons and a daughter.

He was raised as a Master Mason in Vienna Lodge No. 205 on January 30, 1951. He was duly elected as Worshipful Master in 1958. He was an officer for 30 years and was Treasurer. He was the Chairman of the Dedication Ceremonies of Clio’s new Masonic Temple in 1969. He served as President of the King Solomon’s Club in 1961.

In Grand Lodge, he served as Representative to the Board of General Purposes District No. 20, in 1969 and was President of the Board of General Purposes from 1973-1974.

He is a member of Flint Rapids Chapter No.116, R.A.M.; Genesee Valley Commandery No. 15, K.T., Flint; Flint Council No. 56, R. & S.M.; Flint York Rite College No. 5; Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite 32° Valley of Bay City; Elf Khurafeh Temple A.A.O.N.M.S., Saginaw; received the York Rite College Gold Honor Award in May 1972; Order of the Purple Cross York Rite College; Worthy Patron, Vienna Chapter No. 283, 1964-1965; Mallet Club of Michigan; Vehicle City Masonic H-12 No. 673; Honorary Memberships in Salyersville, Kentucky Lodge No. 769; Honorary Memberships in 13 Michigan Lodges; Member of St. Martin Conclave Red Cross of Constantine; Honorary 33° Mason; Served as Commander-in-Chief of the Bay City Consistory 1997-1999.

He was with the Clio Area Fire Department for 25 years, and retired as Fire Chief in 1980. He served the Township of Vienna in various positions for 42 years. He was a member of Bethany United Methodist Church, served as Chairman of the Trustee Board, Chairman of Administrative Board, Superintendent of Sunday School and served as head usher, Boy Scout Troop No. 201, and an Honorary Kentucky Colonel. He retired after 50 years in business in Clio.

He became Most Worshipful Grand Master on May 26, 1982. He also served as Right Worshipful Grand Treasurer from 1983-1989.

Grand Master Wayne Turton 1990 -1991

Wayne Turton GM Photo

Most Worshipful Grand Master, 1990-1991

Wayne E. Turton was born in Felicity, Ohio on January 1, 1929. The family moved to Centerville, Ohio when Wayne was five years old. He obtained his elementary school education in the Centerville and Miamisburg schools and his high school education at the Centerville High School, graduating in 1947. After high school, Wayne was sponsored by the Frigidaire Division of General Motors Corporation and graduated from General Motors Institute in Flint, Michigan in 1952 with a BBA degree, majoring in accounting. In 1956 General Motors transferred him to its Central Office in Detroit where he was assigned to supervisory and management positions in Data Processing and Data Systems Analysis. Before his retirement in 1985 he was associated with the Information Systems and Communications Activity Section in Facilities Construction and Management.

Wayne married Mary Emma Buriff on September 11, 1948. They have been blessed with three sons and two daughters and nine grandchildren.

Wayne was raised as a Master Mason on September 27, 1954 in Rock Moriah Lodge No. 740 in Centerville, Ohio. He transferred to Farmington Lodge No. 151 in 1961 where he served as Worshipful Master in 1974. He served as High Priest of Union Chapter No. 55 in 1968, Grand High Priest of Royal Arch Masons of Michigan in 1978-79, Deputy General Grand High Priest for the East Central Region of the United States and General Grand Master of the Third Veil, and is now serving as a Trustee of General Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons Int. He served as Thrice Illustrious Master of Northville Council No. 30 Royal and Select Masons and Commander of Northville Commandery No. 39. In the York Rite College, he served as Grand Governor for the State of Michigan 1979 through 1982, Herald General 1982 through 1985, Governor of Prince Edwin College No. 8 in 1984 and was elected a Regent of the Sovereign College in 1990. He is a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Detroit and Moslem Temple Shrine. He holds membership in the Aries Grotto; Allied Masonic Degrees; National Sojourners; Order of the Eastern Star; Order of Amaranth; White Shrine of Jerusalem; Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis; Royal Order of Scotland; the Philalethes Society; Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests; Tall Cedars of Lebanon; and serves the DeMolay Foundation of Michigan as a member of the Board of Directors and Treasurer. Among the honors he has received are the York Rite Sovereign College Order of the Purple Cross; General Grand Chapter R.A.M. International Silver Medal of Distinguished Service; DeMolay Cross of Honor and Honorary Legion of Honor; Rainbow for Girls Grand Cross of Color; and Job’s Daughters Grand Triangle of Honor. He was active in Boy Scouts for 17 years and served as Scout Master, Committee Chairman and Explorer Advisor. He has been a member of Orchard United Methodist Church since 1959 and served as treasurer for over 8 years.

Wayne was installed as Michigan’s Most Worshipful Grand Master at the closing session of the 165th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons of Michigan in Lansing on May 25, 1990. He laid the Cornerstone of the new Masonic Health Care Center in Alma, Michigan on October 13, 1990. He rededicated the entire Michigan Masonic Home in Alma on January 12, 1991 as a part of the 100th anniversary celebration and dedicated Centennial Walk in Alma on April 20, 1991.

Grand Master Richard P. Ruhland 2005-2006

Richard P. Ruhland%0AMost Worshipful Grand Master 2005-2006

Richard Patrick Ruhland was born on September 29, 1950 in Denver, Colorado. He spent his formative years there. During his junior year of high school his family moved to New Jersey. Immediately after graduation from high school the family moved to Michigan. He attended Oakland Community College and majored in Business. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. He married Pat Cusac in Detroit, Michigan in July 1972. They were blessed with a daughter and a son.

Advancing on a career path in the restaurant field he worked his way into various management positions with local restaurant chains. In 1977 he began a career with the General Motors Corporation as a First Line Production Supervisor. After a series of promotions, he moved into his current position as senior Manufacturing Engineer at the Powertrain Manufacturing facility in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

He became interested in Masonry because of his attendance during a 1991 Shrine parade in Phoenix, Arizona. He was impressed with the membership’s interest in children. He was raised as a Master Mason in Wayne Lodge No. 112 in Westland, Michigan on April 25, 1992. He served his Lodge as Worshipful Master in 1999 and became a Pre-Paid member in 2001. He also served as President of the Masonic Masters Association of South East Michigan in 1999. In search of further light in Masonry, he joined Wayne Chapter No. 182 Royal Arch Masons, Northville Council No. 30 Royal & Select Masons, Northville Commandery No. 39 Knights Templar, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Valley of Detroit, Moslem Shrine A.A.O.N.M.S., Nankin Chapter No. 238 Order of the Eastern Star, York Rite Sovereign College of North America, Prince Edwin No. 8, Crusader Council of Allied Masonic Degrees No. 142 and is a plural member of Britannia Lodge No. 601. He has the extreme honor of being an honorary member of Lake City Lodge No. 408, Waybon No. 305, Saline Lodge No. 133, Garden City-Builders Lodge No. 587, Buchanan No. 68, and Union of Strict Observance No. 3 and High Twelve International Mid-Michigan Club No. 602.  With extreme pride he received the DeMolay Honorary Legion of Honor and was commissioned with the Title of Knight Commander of the Temple from the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States and the Rainbow Grand Cross of Color.  He was duly elected and installed as the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Michigan on May 26, 2005.

Grand Master Ruhland is a planner, organizer, and in some respects a futurist and takes great pride in bringing ideas and projects into fruition.  He feels his Masonic affiliation has given him the opportunity to utilize his skills in these areas to further benefit this fraternity.  He is humbled by the outpouring of support from all the men and women of this great Masonic family.

During his term of office he rededicated the Masonic Health Care Center in Alma on July 20, 2005.  It is now called the Jack F. Sanders Health Care Center. He also developed the new Masonic Festival at the Michigan Masonic Home in Alma.   He introduced the MI CHIP, Michigan Child Identification Program and the Pocket Petition. Also, a decision was made by the Grand Lodge Board of Directors to move the Grand Lodge office from Grand Rapids to Alma.  It was dedicated on January 28, 2006. Throughout his term, he spearheaded the following initiatives: 1) he worked with Grand Lodge Officers and others to merge the Michigan Masonic Home Charitable Foundation  with the Masonic Foundation of Michigan, Inc.; 2) he organized and led a drive to seek property tax relief for Michigan Masonic Lodges; 3) he helped raise $10,000 in sponsorships for the 2006 Grand Lodge Golf Outing; and 4) during his watch, he helped to recruit fifty-one new members of the Lewis Cass Society. The members of this Society pledge assets in their estate plans to the Masonic Foundations.

His term of office ended in the closing hours of the 180th Annual Communication in Grand Rapids, Michigan on May 24, 2006.

Grand Master Robert P. Conley, PGM 2000 – 2001

Most Worshipful Grand Master, 2000-2001

Robert P. ConleyRobert P. Conley was born on March 21, 1959 in Harbert, Michigan. He completed his education in the River Valley School System and settled into life as an apprentice Engraver working in the company his father founded in 1961. He took over the ownership of Robert Conley Engravers in 1991. He has been active in his community. He has served as the representative to the Economic Development Council, Republican Precinct Delegate, and was Treasurer of his local Chamber of Commerce. He also served several terms as President in the Sawyer Lions Club, and was an active member in Toastmasters, and the Jaycees Club.

 He was raised as a Master Mason in Three Oaks Lodge No. 239 on May 10, 1982. He served his lodge with distinction in 1987 as Worshipful Master. He was honored by being elected Mason of the Year in his Lodge in 1986. He was elected by the Brothers in his district to the office of District Deputy Instructor of District 10B.

He is a member of Royal Arch Chapter No. 2 in Niles, Niles Council No. 19 Royal and Select Masons, Niles Commandery No. 12 Knights Templar. He is a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason, in the Valley of Grand Rapids, a Noble of the Mystic Shrine in Saladin Temple, and a member of Three Oaks Chapter Order of the Eastern Star.

In 1992 he ran and was elected to the Board of General Purposes. Grand Master W. Don Baugher appointed him to the office of Right Worshipful Grand Lecturer. In 1994 he was elected to the Grand Lodge line as the Worshipful Junior Grand Deacon. He has been very active in the Masonic Renewal program both within the state of Michigan on the national level. He serves on the Masonic renewal Committee of North America.

He was installed as the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Michigan on June 1, 2000.

During his term of office he developed the Beacon Project.  This is a program that utilizes Masonic Volunteers in elementary schools.  Its goal is to help children learn to read.  He also dedicated the Picnic Pavilion at the Michigan Masonic Home in August 2000.

Here are some images of MWB Conley during his tenure as The Grand Master of Michigan Masons.

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Here is the oral history of MWB Robert P. Conley.  We recorded this interview at Pathways in Alma, MI on June 4, 2013.




Grand Master Robert W. Stevens, PGM 1997 – 1998


StevensRobert W. Stevens was born on March 21, 1943 in Saginaw, Michigan. He graduated from Arthur Hill High School in Saginaw and began employment with the General Motors Corporation as a Journeyman Patternmaker. He retired in December 1994 after thirty-three years with the Corporation. At that time, he became the Assistant to the Secretary of the Scottish Rite Bodies in the Valley of Bay City, and on July 1, 1996 assumed the office of Executive Secretary. He married Trudy Korniski on September 28, 1963. They were blessed with a son and a daughter.

He became a member of George Washington Chapter, Order of DeMolay in 1958. He was honored in 1996 by the Order of DeMolay when he received the Legion of Honor and served as Secretary-Treasurer of Saginaw Valley Preceptory, which is sponsored by the Valley of Bay City.

He was raised as a Master Mason on September 24, 1964 in Salina Lodge No. 155, F. & A.M. of Saginaw. He served the Lodge as Worshipful Master in 1971 and later served as its Treasurer for several years. He also served the Grand Lodge as District Deputy Instructor for District 22A. He was appointed by Grand Master William Skrepnek as Worshipful Grand Marshal of the Grand Lodge in January of 1992. He has served faithfully through the line of the Grand Lodge until he was installed as Most Worshipful Grand Master on May 30, 1997. He has honorary memberships in Saginaw Lodge No. 77, Pioneer Lodge No. 79, Metamora-Hadley Lodge No. 210, Centre Lodge No. 273, Tawas Lodge No. 274, St. Charles Lodge No. 313, Lake City Lodge No. 408 and Merrill Lodge No. 411.

He is a member of Martha Washington Chapter No. 113, O.E.S.; Saginaw Valley Chapter No. 31, R.A.M.; George Hill Council No. 85, R. & S.M.; St. Bernard Commandery No. 16, K.T.; Northern Michigan York Rite College No. 16; Pythagoras Council No. 66, A.M.D.; Elf Khurafeh Shrine Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S.; Saginaw Court No. 74, R.O.J.; and St. Martin Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine.

He has been very active in the Scottish Rite since he received the degrees in the Valley of Bay City in February 1967. He served as Sovereign Prince of the Bay City Council of Princes of Jerusalem in 1994-96. For his many services to the Craft, he was created a Sovereign Grand Inspector General, 33°, Honorary Member of the Supreme Council on September 24, 1991 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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