RICHARD JAMES STEWART 1943-
Junior Grand Deacon, 1982
Deputy Grand Master, 1991
Grand Master, 2011-2013
TROWEL, SPRING 1991
From TROWEL, Spring 1991, Page 5:
When Grand Master Edgar W. Darling selected Right Worshipful Richard James Stewart as the new Deputy Grand Master, he chose a man who has given instinctively of his time and talents - a truly winning smile - to the Craft. And he has given without fanfare, simply committed to being what every Master Mason is expected to be. His contributions to the Grand Lodge and Red Cross Blood Programs typify a man who lives up to the Tenets of his Profession as a Mason.
Born in Burlington, VT, and educated in the Worcester public schools and Worcester Junior College, he served in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve for eight years. He is the husband of Linda (Larson) Stewart and father to daughters Kimberly A. Dyrness and Heidi L. Stewart. Now the President and owner of the Charles P. Lauman Co. of Needham, a distributor of material handling equipment, he began with the company in 1964 as a salesman for Mr. Lauman who was the man responsible for Dick seeking light in Freemasonry. When Bro. Lauman died, Dick purchased the company from the family in 1974. He credits Heidi with taking active participation in operating the company. Dick and his wife are avid golfers and enjoy winter weekends on the ski slopes.
Raised in Athelstan Lodge, Worcester, January 26, 1966, he was Master in 1975 and Treasurer from 1980 to 1983. From 1974 to 1982 he was co-chairman of the Athelstan Lodge Blood Committee, during which time 4,028 pints were donated. He was cited by the Red Cross for his service in 1980 with the Certificate of Commendation for being an outstanding Pheresis donor and recruiter. In 1981 he was named the Outstanding Volunteer of the year for the Northeast Region. He is a member of St. Andrews Royal Arch Chapter, St. Bernard Commandery No. 12, a Past Wise Master of Lawrence Chapter of Rose Croix, Valley of Worcester, and the Massachusetts Consistory, where he is Assistant Master of Ceremonies. He is a member of the Massachusetts College Societas Rosicruciana, Boston Court No. 103, Royal Order of Jesters, and Aleppo Temple of the Shrine.
A Representative at Large for the Masonic Home since 1983, he has been active in every Grand Master's Country Fair. He was Marshal to R. W. Carl Bohn of the Worcester 22nd District in 1981-82 and was Junior Grand Deacon in 1982. A member of the Grand Lodge Service Committee since 1980, he was Grand Tyler 1985-86, Grand Sword Bearer 1987-89, and was the Grand Pursuivant to Senior Grand Warden Lowell U. Hammett in 1990.
He is a Trustee of the Worcester Masonic Charity and Education Association. Past President and Degree Master of the Worcester Scottish Hirams, and an affiliate of The Masters Lodge and Norumbega and Brookline Lodge of Newtonville, and Winslow Lewis and Mount Lebanon Lodges of Boston. In 1982 he was presented the Joseph Warren Distinguished Service medal, and in January, at his reception, the Grand Master presented Bro. Stewart with the Henry Price Medal.
What does Dick do in his spare time? "I enjoy working on our property and gardening." The grass may grow taller this summer because spare time may be hard to come by for this energetic Deputy Grand Master who knows what it means to give to and for others.
Born in Burlington, VT, Stewart was raised in Worcester and educated in the Worcester Public School system. He graduated from North High School in 1961. In 1963 he was hired by Charles P. Lauman Co., Inc. in Westborough as a salesman. He purchased the company in 1975 and currently serves as the Chairman and Treasurer. It is an ISO 9002 certified company. In 1972 Stewart completed 10 years of service to the United States Coast Guard Reserves. He left as a First Class Damage Controlman.
In 1966 he began his Masonic career by joining Athelstan Lodge (now Guiding Lights Lodge), Worcester. He served as the Worshipful Master, or presiding officer, in 1974-1975. Masons use the original definition of Worshipful, meaning “honorable”; English mayors and judges are still addressed as Worshipful. As Grand Master, Brother Stewart will be called Most Worshipful. He is also a member of Mount Lebanon Lodge, Boston; Norumbega Fraternity Lodge, Newtonville; The Masters Lodge, Needham (Worshipful Master, 1995-1996); Winslow Lewis Lodge, Boston (Worshipful Master, 1997-1999); Rose of Sharon Lodge, Charlton (Worshipful Master, 2007-2008). He is an Honorary Member of Mount Holyoke Lodge, South Hadley Falls; The Independence Lodge, Malden; and The Scouters' Lodge, Holden.
Grand Master Stewart was Co-Chairman of the Athelstan Lodge Blood Drive Program between 1974 and 1982. During this time the Lodge was honored numerous times by the American Red Cross for its blood collection program. His efforts brought him to the attention of Right Worshipful W. Terence Stephens, Chairman of the Grand Lodge Service Committee, who had Bro. Stewart appointed to the Committee in 1980. He has served Grand Lodge in some capacity every year since.
In 1982 M.W. J. Philip Berquist appointed Stewart Junior Grand Deacon, with responsibility for attending to the Grand Master. That same year he received the Joseph Warren Medal for Distinguished Service to the fraternity. In 1985 and 1986 he served as Grand Tyler – guarding the outer door when Grand Lodge was meeting. In 1986 he was named a Grand Representative to the Grand Lodge of Denmark, a position he still holds. From 1987 through 1989 he was the Grand Sword Bearer, assisting R.W. Lowell U. Hammett, Grand Marshal for M.W. Albert T. Ames. He was Grand Pursuivant in 1990, attending to admission and seating of members and visitors.
M.W. Edgar W. Darling appointed Bro. Stewart Deputy Grand Master, the second highest ranking Mason in the state. In that year he was also awarded the Henry Price Medal, the most prestigious honor conferred by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Beginning in 2004 he served on the Grand Lodge Board of Directors for a three-year term. He was re-elected in 2007 for a second term. A Director may only serve for two terms before he is required to step down.
In 2007 he was installed Grand Marshal to M. W. Roger W. Pageau, during his term as Grand Master. In addition to serving as the Grand Master’s escort and directing the formation of processions, the Grand Marshal is often one of the Grand Master’s closest advisors. Throughout Most Worshipful Brother Pageau’s three-year term, the new Grand Master was involved in making decisions about the operation of Grand Lodge, the selection and appointment of officers, and other important matters. His familiarity with the opportunities for the fraternity to advance and improve, as well as the issues and challenges it faces, has him positioned to begin his tenure well ahead of the normal learning curve for a new Grand Master.
Active in several Masonic organizations, Most Worshipful Brother Stewart is a member of the Scottish Rite in the Valley of Worcester. In 1988 and 1989 he led the Chapter of Rose Croix, one of four bodies within Scottish Rite, as Most Wise Master. He belongs to Saint Andrew’s Royal Arch Chapter, Boston Council, and Saint Bernard’s Commandery #12 of the York Rite; as well as the Massachusetts College, Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis, the Knights of the Red Cross of Constantine, and the York Rite Sovereign College – all York Rite-affiliated bodies that members join by invitation only. He is also a member of Aleppo Shriners, Wilmington, MA.
In 1991, Bro. Stewart received his 33° at the Annual Meeting of the Supreme Council, 33°, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States of America. About one-third of the country’s 1.5 million Masons become 32° Scottish Rite Masons. Of those, less than 1% receives the 33° recognizing their service to humanity, their community, or Freemasonry. Most recently he was made an Honorary Legion of Honor, the highest recognition that can be bestowed by the DeMolay Supreme Council. It is conferred on a Freemason who was not a DeMolay, but who has performed meritorious service in behalf of the Order of DeMolay, an international organization for your men between 12 and 21 that is sponsored by Masons.
A classic car enthusiast and the owner of a 1955 Jaguar and a 1957 Ford Thunderbird, Stewart has had the T-Bird since he was 17. The car has won many national meets sponsored by the Antique Auto Club of America. He also owns a 2004 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic Screaming Eagle. He is a member of the Harley Owners Group and the Overlook Riders, a group of motorcycle rider affiliated with Overlook Masonic Health System, Charlton. He also enjoys landscape gardening and once had his yard featured in Better Homes & Gardens.
Stewart has two daughters, Heidi and Kimberly, and four grandchildren.
TROWEL, SPRING 2008
From TROWEL, Spring 2008, Page 7:
While tradition provides for the outgoing Grand Marshal being elected Senior Grand Warden, there aren’t any traditions for Past Deputy Grand Masters becoming Grand Marshal, but that’s what happened this year. Rt. Wor. Richard J. Stewart served as Deputy Grand Master in 1991, just one of his many Grand Lodge offices over the years.
Before being appointed Deputy Grand Master, he had served as Junior Grand Deacon, Grand Tyler, Grand Sword Bearer and Grand Pursuivant.
Raised in Athelstan Lodge (now Guiding Lights Lodge), Worcester, in 1966, he served as Wor. Master in 1975. He has also served as Master of The Masters Lodge, Needham, Winslow Lewis Lodge, Boston, and the 6th Lodge of Instruction, and is currently in the East of Rose of Sharon Lodge, Charlton.
As Most Wor. Edgar W. Darling said when he introduced Bro. Stewart to address his brethren at the Feast of St. John’s in December 1990, the Deputy Grand Master “…is a man who’s given, not taken, from Masonry. He is a man who has been a leader, a follower, a worker, a friend and a brother.”
Bro. Stewart’s efforts haven’t stopped with ancient Craft Masonry. He has served on the Boards of Directors of both the Grand Lodge and the Overlook Health System, and currently chairs the Overlook VNA and Hospice Board of Directors.
He has worked diligently in Scottish Rite Masonry, serving as Most Wise Master of Lawrence Chapter of Rose Croix in the Valley of Worcester. He has also labored with Massachusetts Consistory and Supreme Council, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. He received the Thirty-third Degree in 1992. The Grand Marshal has also been Eminent Commander of St. Bernard Commandery #12, of the York Rite.
As Most Wor. Bro. Pageau said as he installed the Grand Marshal, we have been friends for many years, and “there is no one I would want as Grand Marshal more than Bro. Stewart.”
TROWEL, SPRING 2011
From TROWEL, Spring 2011, Page 5:
Brother Stewart began his journey in 1966, when he was raised at Athelstan Lodge in Worcester. He became Master of the lodge in 1974. (Athelstan was merged into Guiding Lights Lodge in 2003.) He has also served as Master of Winslow Lewis Lodge, Rose of Sharon Lodge, and The Masters Lodge. In addition, Bro. Stewart is a member of Mount Lebanon, Norumbega Fraternity, Mount Holyoke, The Independence, and The Scouters' Lodges.
The Grand Master began his service to Grand Lodge 30 years ago when he was invited to participate on the Grand Lodge Service Committee. He then progressed through a number of appointed Grand Lodge positions including junior deacon, tyler, sword bearer, pursuivant, and grand representative for Denmark. In 1990, he was appointed Deputy Grand Master by Most Worshipful Edgar W. Darling, and became a permanent member of Grand Lodge; he was awarded the Henry Price Medal that same year. Beginning in 2004, he served on the Grand Lodge’s board of directors for the maximum six years permitted. He is perhaps best-known in his most recent role from 2007 to 2010: Grand Marshal during the term of Most Worshipful Roger W. Pageau.
Most Wor. Bro. Stewart has been active in several other Masonic organizations. He is a member of the Scottish Rite’s Valley of Worcester, where he served as Most Wise Master for the Rose Croix Chapter. He received his 33° from the AASR’s Supreme Council in 1991.
He is a member of several groups within the York Rite: Saint Andrew’s Royal Arch Chapter, Boston Council, Saint Bernard’s Commandery, Massachusetts York Rite College, York Rite Sovereign College, Knights of the Red Cross of Constantine, and Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis. This past October, the DeMolay Supreme Council conferred its Legion of Honor on Bro. Stewart for meritorious service on behalf of DeMolay.
Brother Stewart lives in Shrewsbury; he was born in Burlington, Vermont. He began his working career as a salesman for the Charles P. Lauman Company in Westborough. He later purchased the company and he currently serves as chairman and treasurer. The Grand Master performed ten years of military service with the U. S. Coast Guard Reserve. He is the father of two daughters, who have rewarded him with four grandchildren.
The Grand Master is an auto enthusiast, well-known for his 1957 Ford Thunderbird; this car has won a number of meets sponsored by the Antique Auto Club of America. When traveling on four wheels seems too tame, he rides his 2004 Harley-Davidson motorcycle with the Harley Owners Group (H. O. G.) and the Overlook Motorcycle Group in Charlton. �
FEAST OF ST. JOHN, DECEMBER 1990
From Proceedings, Page 1990-169:
Most Worshipful Grand Master, Grand Officers, Distinguished Guests and Brethren All:
It is with a deep sense of humility and great pride that I accept your confidence in the opportunity with which you have bestowed upon me today to serve you and our Grand Lodge as Deputy Grand Master. I pledge to you and our Grand Lodge that I will serve to the utmost of my abilities.
With your permission, Most Worshipful Grand Master, I would like to share my feelings and thoughts on the subject we hear and read so much of today; the challenges that face our great fraternity going into the 21st century. It is my opinion there is but one great challenge which has two basic parts. Membership being one, the other being leadership. You hear some say, "we need more new members," while others say, "we need better leaders." But if we stop and reflect a moment, it becomes very clear to us that one cannot survive without the support of the other. Their dependency upon each other is essential to meet this great challenge.
We ask ourselves "why don't we have the new members they had many years ago?" The list of reasons or excuses are many. But the reasons or excuses can be summed up in few very words: Times have changed. Years ago it was unheard of for a member of our fraternity to talk to a non-member about joining the fraternity. Today we say "why is it that way?" and "why does it have to be that way?" Yes, times have changed.
Our Grand Lodge is meeting the challenge head on through the designs and efforts of our Masonic Awareness Committee Program. This committee, however, cannot make it happen by themselves. It is the responsibility of each Master Mason, of which we are some 68,000 in number, to make it happen. It can and must be done. Action causes reaction. Just stop and think a minute. If only five percent of our Master Masons sponsored only one new member this coming year, that would give us 3,400 new members. When we look at the number of new members we admitted this past year, it shows that only 1.5 percent of the Master Masons in our state were proud enough to sponsor approximately 1,050 new members.
We are all proud to be Master Masons who make up this great fraternity whose Grand Lodge is ranked number three in the world today. Today we are encouraged to speak out about what we stand for, what we do, what we have done and what we continue to do on a daily basis. If each one of us were to speak to a son, a son-in-law, a fellow worker, a member of their church or anyone they know who would make a good Master Mason and simply say, "Have you ever thought of becoming a Mason?" the rest would just fall into place. Let's keep it simple. Being the proud Master Masons that we are, let's be concerned, committed and just do it!
In order to meet the challenge we must look to strong leadership. We have all heard it said at least one time or another, "It just isn't like it used to be." So, again, we must ask ourselves "why?" Once again the answer comes back with renewed force: Times have changed. Yes, we all agree times have changed and they will continue to change as we race into the future years. Today we must stand ready to react to the changing times by focusing in on what is good for the fraternity as we approach the 21 st century and do so without lowering the standards by which our great fraternity has been guided over the past centuries.
Years ago it was unheard of to have your wife work full time. Her place was at home with the children. Today wives have to work to help meet the family needs. Who back then would have ever thought you could go shopping twenty-four hours a day seven days a week, let alone pump your own gasoline at any hour of the day? Just look at the leisure time activities we can choose from today which were inconceivable many years ago. Yes, indeed, times have changed. Our leadership today and in the future must be able to focus and refocus on the types of programs which will attract new members. They must take a hard look into programs within our communities by which the Masonic Fraternity will be looked up to, thereby creating a strong desire for a man to want to be associated with the Fraternity. They must utilize the many talents of the membership in running and managing this great Fraternity.
President Dwight Eisenhower when he was a General used to explain his theory on leadership by placing a small piece of string on his desk. "Look," he would say, "if I push it, it won't go anywhere. But, if I pull it, then I can take it anywhere I want."
Today, my Brethren, we must be able to compete in the highly competitive marketplace of leisure time by offering young men good, solid, worthwhile reasons as to why they should consider becoming a Master Mason.
Most Worshipful Grand Master, on behalf of all your appointed officers, we thank you for the opportunity to serve you and Grand Lodge in the ensuing year.
My Brethren all, may the New Year be prosperous and bring you all good health. I thank you.
CORNER STONE REDEDICATION IN NEEDHAM, NOVEMBER 2011
From Proceedings, Page 2011-124:
The Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts congratulates the citizens of Needham and all the dignitaries gathered here today in celebration of the 300th Anniversary of the Town and the rededication of the laying of the cornerstone of this Town Hall.
The traditions of Freemasonry originated with the stone masons who built the Great Pyramids of Egypt and the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. These stone masons of ancient time would place the first stone of the building in the Northeast corner in a ceremony filled with symbolic rites.
Modern builders have continued this tradition in the construction of today’s buildings and modern Freemasons continue a tradition of the symbolic laying of the cornerstone in buildings throughout the free world. Our eminent Brother George Washington participated in such a ceremony at the dedication of the Capitol of this great country of ours. As indicated earlier, in September of 1902, this same ceremony was used in the laying of the original cornerstone of this Town Hall by several members of the Grand Lodge who were longtime Needham residents and members of Norfolk Lodge here in Needham. In 1924, Norfolk Lodge celebrated its 50th Anniversary in the original Great Hall of this building and later that year assisted in the cornerstone dedication of your Needham Congregational Church.
Freemasonry is the oldest, largest, and most widely known fraternal organization in the world. It is comprised of adult men of good character from every country, religion, race, age, income, education, and opinion, who believe in a Supreme Being. Its body of knowledge and system of ethics is based on the belief that each man has a responsibility to improve himself while being devoted to his family, faith, country, and fraternity. It is not a religion, but every member must have a belief in a Supreme Being and at Masonic meetings, you will find a Bible or other book of scriptures to be present. For today’s ceremony, we are privileged to have with us the George Washington Inaugural Bible.
When Brother Washington was to take the oath of office as our first president of the United States at New York’s City Hall, although the ceremony was elaborately planned, at the last minute it was decided that the president should place his hand on a Bible when taking the oath of office. Jacob Morton, parade marshal and Master of St. John’s Lodge, quickly walked to his nearby lodge and borrowed its 1767 King James Bible. Robert Livingston, State Chancellor and presiding Grand Master of Masons in New York, then administered Washington’s oath of office on that Bible.
Since that time, many other Presidents of the United States have taken the Oath of Office on that Bible. Records weren’t kept to indicate how many other early presidents may have used the Washington Bible for their inaugurations, but four in the 20th century did: Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower; Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush. President George W. Bush had hoped to use it for his first inauguration in 2001, but the damp weather that day put a crimp in those plans. The Bible was present at the funeral processions of Washington and Lincoln. It has also been present at the cornerstone ceremony of the U.S. Capitol, the dedication of the Washington Monument, the centennials of the cornerstone laying of the White House, the U. S. Capitol and the Statue of Liberty as well as the launching of the aircraft carrier George Washington. And today, three members of St. John's Lodge in New York City, have brought that Bible here for this celebration.
We thank them as well as the members of Norfolk Lodge here in Needham for making arrangements to have this very special piece of American history with us today as we assist in celebrating the town’s 300th anniversary. For those who are interested, the Bible will be available for all to see at the Masonic Hall on Highland Avenue after the ceremony.
The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts was formed in 1733. It is the oldest Grand Lodge of Masons in the western hemisphere and the third oldest in the world. Needham is now three hundred years old.
As this is a time for celebrating our traditions, it is appropriate that we rededicate the cornerstone of this Town Hall and to proclaim thanks to all who have made this town and this country great.
May your next 300 years be as bright and as fruitful as the past 300 years. May God bless and preserve this beautiful Town Hall and all those that work therein.