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 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 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 Richard H. Sands, PGM 1985-1986

SandsMost Worshipful Grand Master, 1985-1986

Richard H. Sands was born on September 28, 1929 in San Diego, California. He moved with his family to Crestline, a small community in the San Bernardino Mountains. He graduated from San Bernardino High School in 1946 and started a career as an apprentice die maker. He continued his apprenticeship while attending the University of Redlands, where he graduated in 1950. In 1954, he graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a Ph.D. Degree in Physics. While attending Redlands, he met Emma Grace Allen of Bakersfield, California. They were married on August 11, 1951. They were blessed with four children. After coming to Michigan he joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1957 and became a Professor of Physics. He served as Chairman of the Department of Physics for five years. He has been an active research professor, supervising doctoral theses of eighteen Ph.D’s, two in biophysics and sixteen in chemical and atomic physics. He taught and directed several Academic Year Institutes for High School Teachers of Science to introduce them to forefront areas. In 1981, he participated in a mini-course entitled, “Physics and Ethics” and gave two lectures. One was published in the Michigan Quarterly Review under the title, “Physics, the Royal Society and Freemasonry.” It was this article that earned him the 1981 Certificate of Literature Award from the Philalethes Society.

Richard H. Sands was raised as a Master Mason in Golden Rule Lodge No. 159 on March 12, 1964. He served as Worshipful Master in 1971. He is also a plural member of Livingston Lodge No. 76 in Pinckney. He was appointed to the Grand Lodge Masonic Service and Education Committee while serving as the Worshipful Master of his Lodge. Under his chairmanship, the Committee developed “Planning for the East,” “A Lodge System of Education,” “The Intender Handbook,” “The Wardens Workshop” and “From Point to Pointe.” On May 30, 1985, he was duly elected Most Worshipful Grand Master.

He is an Honorary Member of nine Masonic Lodges in Michigan. He is also a member of Washtenaw Chapter No. 6, R.A.M.; Ann Arbor Council No. 86, R. & S.M.; Ann Arbor Commandery No. 13, K.T.; Jackson College No. 3, Y.R.S.C.; Scottish Rite Bodies, Valley of Detroit, where he served as Thrice Potent Master in 1983-84 and was a Trustee; Ann Arbor Chapter No. 122, O.E.S.; Washtenaw High Twelve Club No. 498; Zal Gaz Grotto; Moslem Temple Shrine; Grand Master’s Council “A” Allied Masonic Degrees; Fellow, Grand College of Rites; Provincial Grand Lodge, R.S.Y.C.S.; and Provincial Grand Chapter, H.R.M. of K.I.W.N.G.; Royal Order of Scotland; and St. Clement Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine. He is also a member of several Masonic Research Lodges, including the Michigan Lodge of Research & Information No. 1. He served as President of the Midwest Conference on Masonic Education in 1978. He is a Fellow of the Philalethes Society, which honored him in 1981 with its Certificate of Literature Award.

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