By Nathaniel Gilchrist P.M.
In a recent Stated Meeting, Worshipful Master Douglas Scheid and Brother Kenneth Hudson spoke on the need to “Remember a Brother” by taking the initiative to reach out by calling or making a visit to a brother to see how he is doing and inquire about any special needs he may have where we could be of help. Certainly, a worthwhile initiative to underscore the fraternal brotherly love we must project.
I would also suggest as we approach the Memorial Day holiday and honor our veterans, there is another way to “Remember a Brother”; whether or not he is a veteran, and regardless of whether he is still surviving or has passed.
An example I would share is something that is very personal to me, and I have been diligent in seeing to each year for the past 12 years leading up to Memorial Day. It is my manner of remembrance of a passed very dear friend and brother in that of the Illustrious John Ward Willson Loose, 33 Degree.
My personal relationship with “Jack” W.W. Loose began in the mid-1960s when I was a student at Donegal High School, Mt. Joy, Pa. Mr. Loose or “WW”, as we referred to him then, was a history educator with a focus on “the Problems of Democracy (POD)”. In my senior year, as vice-president of my class, Mr. Loose served as our class mentor to ensure our class meetings were conducted in a democratic manner, and with proper decorum.
In addition to his career as an educator in history, government, and economics for over 40 years, and having taught literally thousands of students, he was also very well-known and respected for his expansive knowledge of Lancaster County history, having served as President of the Lancaster Historical Society from 1973-1992.
After high school graduation, my contact with “Jack” Loose was limited to the occasion high school reunions when he would be invited as a guest.
It was not until 1990 when I made my initial inquiry in becoming a fraternal member of Lodge 43 that I became reacquainted with “Jack” W.W. Loose. I became aware of his membership in the Lodge and asked him to be my first-line signer.
That request rekindled a relationship that grew into a strong fraternal and personal friendship and an example of fraternal brotherly love that I still cherish to this day. Brother “Jack” immediately became my personal mentor, and the teacher/student relationship once again took on a very special meaning. Brother “Jack” was my “go-to guy” for any Masonic questions I had and provided an in-depth explanation of the workings of Freemasonry. He included me in many of his initiatives pertaining to the Masonic History competitions that the Grand Lodge once generated each year. And… we always won an award for our Masonic History entry in the competitions!
Brother “Jack” W.W. Loose passed away in 2011. He was buried in a family plot in Mount Bethel Cemetery in Columbia, Pa. At the time of his passing, I became aware of his only family member, a sister in North Carolina. I am not aware of her status presently.
While Brother “Jack” W.W. Loose was not a veteran, by virtue of his career as an educator in the area of government and economics, he was a dedicated patriot in the truest sense of the word. He was well recognized and respected for his opinions on the politics of the day, and his many “Letters to the Editor” were routinely published in the Lancaster Newspapers.
Knowing that he had no immediate family members in the area, since his passing I have made it a practice as we approach each Memorial Day to “Remember a Brother” by making a visit to his gravesite. I plant Red, White, and Blue petunias in honor of his strong patriotic principles and do a little housekeeping on his memorial stone. It represents a nice opportunity for me to remember my friend and brother and pay him the respect he so richly deserves. I feel honored to be able to do that for my friend and brother!
As we approach this Memorial Day holiday perhaps you have a fraternal friend or brother you could consider in some way to “Remember a Brother“. Give him a call or visit if he is available to do so. I’m sure you would make his day immensely!
Or, as you visit the family gravesites of your family veterans, remember that fraternal brother, veteran or otherwise, and include him in your thoughts or actions this Memorial Day.