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  • MM 1966, WM 1972, Ancon
  • Member 1976-1980, Sojourners
  • District Grand Master (Panama) 1987-1989



From TROWEL, Summer 1987, Page 8:

Need something done? Give the job to a busy man, like R.W. Charles E. Lavallee who is serving his first year as District Grand Master of the Panama Canal Masonic District. Busy with Masonic responsibilities and as a capital program coordinator, Canal Improvements Division of the Panama Canal Commission, Bro. Lavallee has started a newsletter that has done much to renew Masonic interest among the members.

Produced with a new computer software, the newsletter includes a calendar of events and historic events, and highlights the many visitors to the Canal Zone. His appreciation for TROWEL resulted in a gift of $2,500 from the Masons there.

A native of Panama City where he was born 43 years ago, he is the husband of Judith Carole (Lambert) and they are parents of Judith Ann, 18, Jacqueline Marie, 15, and Jon Michael, 12. He is a graduate of Balboa High School and Georgia Tech, Atlanta, in the class of 1968. He has had extensive training as a budget analyst, financial manager, and administrative officer in the Office of the Comptroller, U.S. Army, Southern Command in the Canal Zone; also as administrative officer with the Panama Railroad. He is a member of the National Defense Transportation Association.

He has been active in the Boy Scouts of America, was a member and treasurer of the Gold Coast U.S. Bicentennial celebration, Cristobal, Canal Zone, 1975-76; a member of the budget and finance committee of the Canal Zone United Way, and secretary of the School Advisory Committee of Balboa High School. He was awarded the Gold Honorary Public Service Medal by the governor of the Canal Zone as a member of the Shrine Clown Unit of Abou Saad Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S. In June, 1985, he authored an article, Stretch Forth Your Hand!, that appeared in the June issue of the New Age Magazine. In November, 1986, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Georgia Tech as a student trainer. He is a member of the Lettermen's Club and the alumni of that school. A member of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Club of Atlanta, he is also a member of Panama Canal Zone Lodge of Elks No. 1414.

Bro. Lavallee was Raised in Canal Zone Lodge in 1966 and was its Worshipful Master in 1972. He is an affiliate of other Lodges in the Canal Zone that are all chartered by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and serves as Treasurer of Ancon Lodge. He began as Junior Grand Steward in the District Grand Lodge in 1973 and was District Deputy Grand Master in 1979, the same year he was chairman of the Masonic Relief Association. He is chairman of the committee on records and by-laws.

Active in the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, he received the 33rd Degree in 1979, and is Treasurer of Panama Canal Commandery No. 1, Knights Templar. He was Potentate of Abou Saad Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S., in 1980, Worthy Patron of Coral Chapter No. 3 of the Eastern Star (1974), and is a member of the Advisory Council of Pacific Chapter, Order of DeMolay.

An Honorary Life Member of several Lodges in different jurisdictions and 16 Shrine temples across America, he was presented the Joseph Warren Distinguished Service Medal in 1980. The President of the Southeastern Shrine Association selected the right man as Ambassador of Good Will in 1980. Bro. Lavallee has seen the political changes in the area since the Canal Zone ceased to exist under the Panama Canal Treaty that went into effect Oct. 1, 1979.


From TROWEL, Fall 1992, Page 4:

Past District Grand Master Announces Retirement
Reprinted from The Panama Canal Orient

On Friday. May 1, 1992. 111. Charles R. (Ron) Lavallee. 33°. Deputy of the Supreme Council, 33°, S.J.. U.S.A.. in the Orient of the Panama Canal, announced his retirement from the U.S. Federal Service and the Panama Canal Commission. III. Lavallee at the same time announced that he and his family would depart the Isthmus on or about the first of July for his retirement home in the United States. Ron will retire after over 23 years of service.

After his graduation from Georgia Tech in 1968, his professional career started with the U.S. Army Southern Command as Budget Administrator Trainee in the Office of the USARSO Comptroller. After completing the two year training program and working two years as a Budget Analyst in the Program Budget Division of the Comptroller's Office, Ron transferred to the Railroad Division of the Panama Canal Company as the Administrative Officer in June of 1972. He served in that position with the Panama Railroad until 1974 when he was promoted to the position of Management and Budget Officer of the Transportation and Terminals Bureau. He admirably served Col. Charles R. (Bob) Clark. USA (Ret), the Transportation and Terminals Director, in that capacity until June of 1978, when Governor Parfitt appointed Ron the last United States citizen Manager of the historic Panama Railroad.

Ron will readily admit that these were the best years of his career. He guided the Panama Railroad through the difficult last fifteen months of its operation under U.S. Government control. Ron credits the loyal, dedicated employees of the Railroad Division who. in spite of the impending loss of their jobs, did a magnificent job of putting the Panama Railroad in the best operating condition it had been for many, many years. Ron also proudly points out that many of those dedicated railroad employees were Masons; included are the Assistant Manager. Wor. Frederick R. Call. 32°: the Chief of Transportation. Atlantic. Bro. Loyd Matheney; the Chief of the Signal Section, Wor. Franklin A. Balmas, 32°, K.C.C.H.. Chief of the Track Section. Bro. Calvin M. Landrum, 32°: Track Foremen. Bro. Richard R. L. Slobig. 32° and Bro. Clark R. Saltz, 32°; and Signal Maintainer. 111. Richard A. Gilman, 33°. It is a crying shame that the historic Panama Railroad, turned over to the Republic of Panama on October 1. 1979. has been allowed to deteriorate to the point that the U.S. Government agencies have declared the Ferrocarril De Panama "to be unsafe at any speed", and they prohibited their employees from riding the train in any official capacity. It is even more disheartening to Ron and the rest of those who labored in the Railroad Division to see the rolling stock of the railroad being cut up and sold as scrap iron by the Government of Panama. It is time to leave!

In October. 1979. Ron was assigned to Executive Planning of the new Panama Canal Commission. His expertise in financial planning was quickly recognized, and he was assigned to the Program Development Division, where shortly thereafter, he was made the Capital Program Coordinator; the position he holds as he retires.

Ill. and R. W. Lavallee has had a most distinguished Masonic career. He was raised a Master Mason on November 4. 1966, while a student at Georgia Tech. in Palestine Lodge No. 486, Atlanta, Georgia, as a courtesy candidate of Canal Zone Lodge. Returning to the Isthmus in August of 1968. he joined the Scottish Rite as a member of the Fall 1968 Class. He almost immediately became an Assistant Secretary in the Office of the Secretary/Recorder/Registrar of the Panama Canal Bodies. Also becoming active in Canal Zone Lodge, he was elected Junior Deacon in 1969. jumped to Junior Warden in 1970 and was installed as Worshipful Master in December 1971 for the 1972 Masonic year. In February 1974, when the Secretary was appointed Deputy of the Supreme Council, Ron assumed the position of Secretary/Recorder/Registrar of the Panama Canal Scottish Rite Bodies, a position he served in for the next ten and one-half years.

In January, 1976. after serving the District Grand Lodge as a District Grand Steward and District Grand Chaplain, Brother Lavallee was installed as District Junior Grand Warden. Three years later in January, 1979, he was appointed and installed as the Deputy District Grand Master.

Brother Lavallee is a member of the Panama Canal York Rite Bodies and served as Treasurer of each of the Panama Canal Bodies from 1986 through 1988. Members of the Eastern Star. Judy and Ron served as Worthy Matron and Patron of Coral Chapter No. 3. Order of the Eastern Star, Gatun, in 1974.

Brother Lavallee has also been an active member of Abou Saad Temple. A .A .O.N.M.S . After his creation as a Noble. Ron was very active for many years in the Clown Unit. He also became a charter member of the Abou Saad Past Master's Unit. He served several years as Chief Aide and was elected to the Divan in 1976. In 1980 Ron was elected and installed as Potentate of Abou Saad by his father, Ill. Charles D. (Chuck) Lavallee (Potentate in 1958) making Chuck and Ron the first father and son to have served Abou Saad as Potentate. Since 1980. Ron has served Abou Saad as Treasurer (1984-86). Director of Ritualistic Divan several different years and a member of the Director's Staff.

Ill. Lavallee was appointed the Deputy of the Supreme Council. 33°, S. J.. U.S.A.. in the Orient of the Panama Canal, by Ill. Henry C. Clausen, 33°, Sovereign Grand Commander, on October 12. 1984. Facing a reduced Masonic population in the Orient, he has dedicated his tenure to the continuation of the Canal Zone Masonic tradition as it applied to the Panama Canal Scottish Rite Bodies. The task has been accomplished with a great deal of personal dedication and attention to every detail which would insure the continued viability of Scottish Rite Freemasonry at the Panama Canal. Deputy Lavallee is quick to point out that no one Scottish Rite Mason can claim credit for the continued viability of Rite in the Orient of the Panama Canal. He states that the credit belongs to each and every Brother who has contributed their time, efforts, and abilities to the Rite. Every contribution was vital and efforts will continue to grow in importance as the year 2000 approaches. Illustrious Lavallee reflects back with great pride on what he and all the Masons left on the Isthmus have been able to accomplish against all the various obstacles which would have discouraged even the most hearty and determined. The Deputy states emphatically. "I will not miss the sad state of affairs in the Republic of Panama or my job with the Commission, but I will be devastated at having to leave Masonry on the Isthmus and the many wonderful friends of the Masonic family who have been an integral part of my life for the past twenty-five years. A part of my heart and soul will reside with Isthmian Masonry always."

On December 29, 1986. M. W. Albert T. Ames, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, appointed and installed Brother Lavallee as the Right Worshipful District Grand Master for the Panama Canal Masonic District and the District Grand Lodge at the Panama Canal. R. W. Lavallee served from 1987 through January. 1990. during the very trying times leading up to and including the invasion of Panama in December of 1989. As District Grand Master. R. W. Lavallee continued his quest to carry-on the Canal Zone Masonic tradition. He also thought it was important to recognize those members who now reside in the United States by starting an Annual District Grand Master's Luncheon to be held in conjunction with the Annual Reunion of the Panama Canal Society of Florida. The luncheons proved to be very popular and have continued annually since that time. The hallmark of R.W. Lavallee's tenure as District Grand Master was the marked improvement in relations with the M.W. Grand Lodge of Panama, its constituent Lodges, and the Lodges under the jurisdiction of the M.W. Grand Lodge of Scotland. M. W. Albert T. Ames recognized R. W. Lavallee"s accomplishment when he awarded him the highest award of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, the coveted Henry Price Medal. M. W. Rodolfo Endara. Grand Master of Panama, also recognized his many contributions to improved relations between the two jurisdictions by presenting him with a Mason of Merit certificate.

Brother Lavallee is a member of San Lorenzo Conclave of the Order of Red Cross of Constantine and has held an office each year since becoming a member. He is also a member of the Royal Order of Scotland. Provincial Grand Lodge of the United States, and serves as the Screening Officer for Panama of the Order.

As a member of the Clown Unit, Noble Lavallee was honored by Governor Leber of the Canal Zone in 1969 when the Abou Saad Clown Unit was presented the first Gold Honorary Public Service Award. In May. 1991. Deputy and R.W. Lavallee was recognized for his multiple contributions to Masonry and the community by being awarded the Silver Honorary Public Service Medal by the Administrator of the Panama Canal Commission. He was shortly thereafter honored by the International Supreme Council. Order of DeMolay. when he was invested with the DeMolay Legion of Honor Honorary in June. 1991.

Deputy Lavallee is an Honorary Life Member of the National Supreme Council of Panama; an Honorary Life Member of Palestine Lodge No. 486, Atlanta, Georgia; an Honorary Life Member of Valle de Luna Lodge No. 16. David, Chiriqui. Republic of Panama: an Honorary Life Member of the Shrine Club of Colombia and the Western Region Shrine Club. Mayaguez. Puerto Rico; and an Honorary Life Member of over 40 Shrine Temples throughout the United States. Canada, and Mexico. There are many other offices, awards and other honors not listed here which Ron has earned over the almost twenty-five years he has been a Mason.

It would be unfair in this article to ignore Judy Lavallee and her contributions over the years. Suffice it to say that Judy truly deserves the title of Masonic widow and a medal for her support of Ron and her own contributions over all those years. Few people know that Judy has served as an Assistant Secretary in the Scottish Rite Secretary's Office for over a year now. The Panama Canal Bodies also owe Judy a special vote of thanks for assisting when and where she could.

Brother Lavallee will be missed by all the Masons on the Isthmus and the many Masons all over the world who have been touched by him. He leaves an indelible mark on Masonry on the Isthmus and on the Masonic Fraternity throughout this hemisphere. The full effect of his contributions will not be fully realized until someone turns to call on him and he is no longer there.

Deputy Lavallee spoke often of a saying by Bro. Teddy Roosevelt which seems appropriate here;

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again: who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who. at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who. at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

Ill. Lavallee need never wonder if "his place shall be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat." Timid he has not been, and his victories are his legacy as he departs. We doubt not that he will become active wherever he settles and that his new adopted community will be the beneficiary.

As Ron. Judy and their son. Jon. depart the Isthmus, we wish them God speed and the very best for the future. Thank you for sharing yourselves with Masonry and the community.

And Ron says,

"Words fail me as I now try. inadequately, to thank each of you who have supported me through all the years and during my terms as District Grand Master and Deputy of the Supreme Council. To each of you goes the credit for whatever I have managed to accomplish, because no one man can do anything in this gentle, volunteer Fraternity of ours without the support of those he is selected to lead. Thank you one and all. You will always have a very special place in my heart."

Distinguished Brothers