I am greatly saddened by this as I know all brethren in Alberta are. My condolences ring out to his wife, Lorraine, and his family.
I met Bob on several occassions as his lodge, Exemplar #175, meets on the same night as my lodge, across the hallway at Freemasons' Hall. I now deeply regret not having attended the Grand Lodge session in Edmonton back in June when I was home visiting.
Why? Brother Bob was one of those rare, larger-than-life men, who when entering a room, always with a smile, humble in his stature, would light it up so brightly, you knew you'd be in for a special moment. His jokes were legendary. Often when you'd ask him how he was doing, he come back with a witty comment about his own shortcomings. He WAS the name of his lodge, Exemplar, in the truest sense.
His Installation as Grand Master took place just over a month ago on June 9 and having Bob in the big chair, all the brethren were looking forward to what was to be an exciting year of Masonry in Alberta. Now we all share heavy hearts.
The following bit of Masonic ritual from "The General Charge", in my opinion, describes Brother Bob so well, to give you an idea of what he was, and what we all thought of him:
If you see a man who quietly and modestly moves in the sphere of his life; who, without blemish, fulfils his duty as a man a subject, a husband and a father; who is pious without hypocrisy, benevolent without ostentation, and aids his fellowman without self-interest; whose heart beats warm for friendship. whose serene mind is open for licensed pleasures, who in vicissitudes does not despair, nor in fortune will be presumptuous, and who will be resolute in the hour of danger;
The man who is free from superstition and free from infidelity; who in nature sees the finger of the Eternal Master; who feels and adores the higher destination of man; to whom faith, hope and charity are not mere words without any meaning; to whom property, nay, even life, is not too dear for the protection of innocence and virtue, and for the defence of truth;
The man who towards himself is a severe judge, but who is tolerant with the
debilities of his neighbour; who endeavors to oppose errors without arrogance, and to promote intelligence without impatience; who properly understands how to estimate and employ his means; who honours virtue, though it be in the most humble garment, and who does not favour vice though it be clad in purple; and who administers justice to merit whether dwelling in palaces or cottages;
The man who, without courting applause, is loved by all noble-minded men,
respected by his superiors and revered by his subordinates; the man who never
proclaims what he has done, can do, or will do, but where need is will lay hold with dispassionate courage, circumspect resolution, indefatigable exertion and a rare power of mind, and who will not cease until he has accomplished his work, and who then, without pretension, will retire into the multitude because he did the good act, not for himself, but for the cause of good!
If you, my brethren meet such a man, you will see the personification of brotherly love, relief and truth; and you will have found the ideal of a freemason.
So mote it be! Farewell, my brother. May the Great Architect of the Universe keep you and bless you always.
For more information on Brother Bob, visit www.freemasons.ab.ca (photo above taken therefrom).
(I'll soon be back blogging about my recent week-long road trip through British Columbia, which I have deemed the "Greatest Road Trip Ever", with lots of scenery pictures and stories.)
For now, along with my brethren, I mourn.