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Deputy Grand Master, 1908


From Proceedings, Page 1920-572:

The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons met with a most sad loss when on the morning of the 10th of September our well beloved Brother, Right Worshipful William H. L. Odell, went out from our earthly association.

Born in Beverly, Mass., September 5, 1863, he was educated in the schools of his native town and after years of training he became an expert in the preparation and handling of sheepskins, and the firm of Besse, Osborn and Odell which he organized was known far and wide for the honesty of its transactions and the quality of its products, and the success which was achieved and the enviable reputation which it attained were in a large measure due to the genius and business ability of Brother Odell, who was for three years president of the Boston Boot and Shoe Club, and also a Director of the Boylston National Bank.

Big-hearted and sociable, Brother Odell coveted the companionship of his fellow men, and he was a member of the Boston City CIub, the Algonquin Club, the Boston Art Club, the Boston Athletic Association, the Vesper Country Club of Lowell, the Point Shirley Club, the Bostonian Society, and one of the Advisory Board of the Old Colony Club, the Aleppo Temple AAONMS, and Massachusetts College Societas Rosieruciana.

Brother Odell was descended from ancestors whose valor and devotion helped to shape this republic of ours in its earliest days and he was always intensely patriotic. He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, the Society of Colonial Wars, the Massachusetts Society of the Founders and Patriots of America, a, member of the Fusilier Veteran Association, a Past Commander, of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, a Vice-President of the Republican Club of Massachusetts, and a member of Kinsley Post Associates of the Grand Army of the Republic.

Brother Odell cherished a hearty veneration for the Christian religion and contributed generously to its support. He was a member of the Pilgrim Congregational Church of Dorchester and served on its Prudential Committee.

Widely, therefore, in the fields we have enumerated, and in many works of benevolence and charity which cannot be tabulated, was the wonderful energy of our Brother constantly expended, but we have yet to consider what we may well unite in affirming - that the foremost inspiration of his life came to him from Freemasonry, and above all other organizations or works tending to promote the welfare of mankind he loved and sought to advance the prosperity and establish the principles of our exalted Fraternity.

He was initiated in Robert Lash Lodge, of Chelsea, January 22, 1890, and he was its Worshipful Master in 1898 and 1899. He was District Deputy in 1906 and 1907 (Third Masonic District). He was Deputy Grand Master in 1908.

He was exalted a Royal Arch Mason in Shekinah Chapter June 4, 1890: He was received and greeted as a Cryptic Mason in Naphtali Council February 28, 1891, and was Thrice Illustrious Master in 1900 and 1901. He was Deputy Grand Master in 1909 and Most Illustrious Grand Master of the Grand Council in 1915, 1916, and 1917, and Grand Treasurer 1918, 1919, and 1920, and in 1918 he was elected General Grand Marshal of the General Grand Council and held that position at the tine of his death. He was Knighted in Palestine Commandery September 10, 1890, and dimitted January 9; 1907, to affiliate with St. Bernard Commandery, of which he was Eminent Commander in 1917.

In the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite he received. the 14th degree in Sutton Lodge of Perfection March 24, 1905, the 16th degree in Giles F. Yates Council February 12, 1909, the 18th degree in Mount Olivet Chapter February 19, 1909, and the 32d. degree in Massachusetts Consistory April 25, 1909. He was crowned a Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the 33d degree at Philadelphia September 16, 1919, and he was Junior Warden of Mount Olivet Chapter of Rose Croix at the time of his death.

The life of Brother Odell was many-sided and a blessing to all who were privileged to be his associates. One of the most marked of his characteristics was his surpassing loyalty to his friends, and such he numbered in every walk of life. Broad and democratic of spirit, he was as hearty and genuine in his regard for the humble as for the great and affluent and he delighted to bestow favors upon those who could make no return to him.

Thoroughly kind of heart, he deeply regretted any quick, impulsive word he may have spsken and was swift to make apology, and he was one of the most forgiving of men - never cherishing ill-will for those who sought to thwart his plans, but always ready to bury the past and renew the ties of comradeship.

With his convivial spirit and delight in festive occasions, he coupled a serious sense of honor and integrity and a fidelity to the dictates of conscience. He was very human, but withal he was an honest upright, lovable man, and he will be greatly missed now that he is gone.

In this Grand Lodge he was a right hand of strength and helpfulness for long years, and to all those who have been entrusted with the direction of affairs. His readiness for any task, his excellent judgment, and his practical business sagacity have greatly conduced to the success of our enterprises and efforts.

Here he cemented his closest friendships, and for many of us our relationship with him was of such a personal character that it was like losing one out of our own household when he was called away.

He loved the Masonic Home. His whole heart went out toward the unfortunate of the Craft, and he was ready to labor in their behalf to the fulness of his ability. He was a true and worthy Mason, a splendid embodiment of our principles, one of the most honored and most worthy members of our Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.

Sacred will his memory ever be to all of us, and may a full measure of his zeal and devotion to our Fraternity descend. upon us as we reflect that "God buries his workmen, but continues to carry on his works."

A life like his hath never close,
But ever on its influence flows,
The clay that held the odor sweet
May fall all shattered at our feet,
But yet. the fragrance will abide,
And shed its blessings far and wide,
Ancl though o'er earthly garments frail
The cruel hand of Death prevail,
The love lives on, for you and me
An inspiration still to be.

Be this my prayer for each clear friend:
May memory its magic lend,
That we forever holding fast
The precious vision of the past,
The wondrous joy and sunshine rare
It hath been ours a while to share,
May find in these the prophecy
Of what I feel again will be
When we have gained the heavenly shore
And, reunited, part no more.

John Albert Blake,
R. Perry Bush,
Alton B. Atwood,

Distinguished Brothers