New Web Page Dedicated to 146th Annual Communication (2020)

Here is a link to our new Web page dedicated solely to the 146th Annual Communication (2020):

Here, you will find important information from the Grand Master and Grand Treasurer-Secretary about this year’s procedures, in addition to annual reports, and nominations. Information will be added and updated as it comes in.
You can also access this page from the pull-down menu near the top of this page.


Grand Master’s Revised Edict on Coronavirus

1 June 2020

To: All members of all constituent Masonic Lodges in South Dakota

This edict is to inform you of recent changes in South Dakota as they pertain to activities of our Lodges and my previous Edicts on Corona Virus.
Many areas in the state now allow social gatherings and businesses to operate at 50 percent of capacity with social distancing and personal hygiene in place.
It is my order that groups of persons are allowed to gather within the State of South Dakota's geographic regions, Masonic lodge meetings and communications may occur forthwith. As such, I revoke edicts limiting the conduct of regular or special communications and urge you to conduct business only meetings in the Entered Apprentice degree. Avoid contact when opening or closing. We will postpone the conduct of degree work or public events. Social distancing requires six (6) feet between people in all directions (64 square foot per person minimum) with adherence to guidelines of CDC, the State of South Dakota, and as established by your local communities. State projections say the Corona virus may not peak until mid June and we must be aware of the dangers we could be placing on our member.
I expect Lodge leadership and individual members to act with common sense and respect regarding conduct and attendance or in a public setting. The average age of our membership is 63 years of age making many of our Brothers in the more susceptible category for COVID. If a Brother is compromised in terms of age or health, I would encourage them to stay home. Further, all requirements for masks, washing of hands / personal hygiene, and social distancing must be maintained.
From time immemorial the door of Freemasonry is open to a Brother for purposes of fellowship, assistance and spiritual refreshment; that ancient right is to be honored.
My Brothers these are trying and unprecedented times. Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth will get us through this as well by checking on our Brothers. Be safe and stay healthy.
Fraternally yours,
Harold D. Ireland
Grand Master of Masons


2020 Scholarship Recipients

The Grand Lodge awarded ten $2,000 scholarships in 2020. Here are the recipients and the colleges they will attend:
- Kate DeVelder; Black Hills State University
- Kara Ewing; Black Hills State University
- Acadia Folkerts; South Dakota State University
- Gage Jager; South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
- Olivia Vermeulen; Augustana University
- Carter Jahnig; Dakota Wesleyan University
- Grace Kinder; South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
- Aireanna Santos; Lake Area Tech
- Lauren Sharkey; University of South Dakota
- Travis Sharp; South Dakota State University


Donations to South Dakota Masonic Charities

The Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of South Dakota would like to recognize the great support we have received through donations to the South Dakota Masonic Charities in support of our programs. These programs include the Child Identification Program, Masonic Model Student Assistance Training Program, the Lodge Matching Grants Program, and Grand Lodge Scholarships Program.
Through Individual, Lodge, Corporate, Family Memorials Donations, the Grand Masters Appeals and this year’s Grand Masters Table Lodge we raised $24,312.11 in support of our charitable programs. Listed are our Individual Donors for 2019-2020 year. Those that contributed more than $125 are designated in the Grand Master Circle with one (*); those who contributed more than $300 are designated in the Master Builders Club with two (**); and those who contributed more than $1000 are designated in the Legacy Society with three (***):

Asmussen, Ted **Isaacs, VernonPengra, Carl
Behrens, Dean & DonnaJarrett, Ronald R. Peterson, David *
Boldenow, RogerJerry StubbePiper, Charles Family ***
Booth, DanielJohnson, DonnellPremack, Herschel
Brown, BarryKlingman, RichardPulling, Brian *
Burke, RobertLamb, Michael *Riedel, Duane
Coffield, William *Leapley, LarryRodman, Mike G.*
Cole, HobartLoomer, James *Schnabel, Dennis
Cooper, DaleMaier, Robert J.*Serr, Terry L. & Christy
Craig SullivanMathes, Larry Jr. Shannon, Jeffrey
Cullins, Allison *McFarland, James **Sperry, James*
Farro, Dan J. Mclain, Ron*ieker, Michael **
Fidler, Baron *Melbourn, JohnSwindler, Jason *
Gellhaus, LonaldMenard, MarkTesch, Robert *
Graf, John D. *Michael R. GaulVaughan, Kenneth *
Hartmann, ErwinMichael R. GaulVocker, John J.
Henrickson, LyleMorrow, LaMonte **Wasco Builders LLC **
Hood, JamesNeale, William G. Weimer, Leonard **
Hood, James *Norman, MitchellWendt, Donald *
Horner, Howard *Obed CharwayWhitaker, George
Hoy, TomOlson, StephanieWood, DaNiel***
Ireland, Harold **Parker, Watson Family***Woodard, Ronald*
 Zerfoss, Jerold  

I want to personally thank all our generous donors who make it possible to continue our charitable works into the future.

Harold D. Ireland, Grand Master of Masons  
Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of South Dakota  


Masons in the News [posted June 2020]

 The Masons of Rapid City made the news with their terrific food drive!


Grand Master’s Edict on Election of Lodge Officers

As we continue to work through restrictions imposed by COVID-19 situation, we must accomplish our regular Masonic business in new and different ways. Under a previous edict I ordered that all regular meetings, degree work, and events be postponed or cancelled until conditions change and restrictions are lifted. Continue to utilize electronic meetings to conduct your Lodge business and fellowship with our Brothers.
It is not sensible to congregate in groups at this time per CDC, federal, state and local guidelines. Per requirements of Section 4.37 of Masonic Code of South Dakota the election of Lodge Officers shall be accomplished at the last May or first June Stated Communication. With that in mind, I direct the Election of Officers for Constituent Lodges be accomplished in the following manner:
1. Nominations will be accomplished by electronic means (Zoom, MS Teams, Conference Calls, Email, etc.).
2. Ballots will be written and either emailed or mailed to eligible voters of each Lodge.
3. Brothers print the Ballot and/or fill it out without placing their name on it and mail back to their Lodge. This will help accomplish secret ballots at this time.
4. Lodge Secretaries will receive Ballots by mail and provide to Worshipful Master.
5. Worshipful Masters will announce the selection for Elected Officers in their Lodge.
6. Installation of Lodge Officers can be conducted by remote settings as the Grand Lodge will do in June for the Grand Lodge Officers.
Under the current requirements to social distance, minimize group sizes, and health concerns we must consider the health and safety of our membership as our first priority. I direct your support in these unprecedented times as we are all in this together. Ensure your Brothers have the resources they require and assist wherever and whenever you can by showing others what Brotherly Love, Truth, and Relief are all about. If you know a Brother that needs assistance please let the Grand Lodge know so we can help.
Stay safe and healthy my Brothers.
Harold D. Ireland  
Grand Master


Nominations for Grand Lodge Offices

Here are the nominations for Grand Lodge Offices:

Junior Grand Warden

Senior Grand Warden

Grand Treasurer-Secretary

Deputy Grand Master

Grand Lodge Trustee

Grand Jurisprudence Committee

Nominees for each office are listed alphabetically. All information was provided to the Web Master by the office of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota and is presented without editing.



Important Information for Lodge Secretaries

Due to the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, the Grand Master has ordered the use of an electronic ballot for electing Grand Lodge Officers and voting on Grand Lodge reports as found in the annual preprinted reports.
As Grand Lodge prepares for Annual Communication in June we need your assistance to identify any Past Masters and those from your Lodge who are eligible to vote at our session. Request you send their names and email addresses to the Grand Secretary so he can generate a unique ID number for each to make the electronic voting work. In able to participate everyone must ensure their email is accurate in MORI or send an update to the Grand Secretary.
It is incumbent on the Lodge Secretaries to ensure we have all Past Masters identified so they can vote during our Electronic Session for Annual Communication on June 19, 2020.
James J. Burma, Jr.  
Grand Treasure/Secretary



Electronic Voting Requirements

This directive provides guidance for use of electronic ballots on 19 June 2020 by eligible voting members of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota.
The intent of this electronic balloting is to allow for conducting only the most essential annual business of the Grand Lodge. An in-person Communication, previously determined to be held 19-20 June 2020, is not possible by federal, state, and local guidelines and restrictions. The barrier is the current COVID-19 national emergency, which by order of the President, CDC and the Grand Master's Edict Regarding CORONAVIRUS baring the gathering of persons in any sized group.
I have approved an electronic ballot, created by an independent source, to do the most essential annual business. It contains only two items for voting members to consider: (1) Election of Grand Lodge Officers, Trustee, and Jurisprudence for 2020-2021, and (2) the approval of the Grand Lodge reports and budget proposal contained in the 2020 Annual Communication Preprint. Historically, these items have neither been controversial nor deeply contested. No issue that may have been considered controversial would have been placed on the ballot. With concurrence from the Jurisprudence Committee, all Legislation will be pushed to the next regular Annual Communication. All that wish to vote in this year's Annual Communication need to ensure the Grand Secretary has your email or it is accurate in MORI.
Each of our qualified voters will receive a unique number from the Grand Secretary. The voter will use that number to electronically sign in and receive access to his ballot and vote. Once the period for voting is complete, the Tellers Committee will collect the data, just as they would paper ballots, and report the results. The Grand Secretary is not a member of the Tellers Committee and will not have access to the ballots. The Tellers will not have access to the Grand Secretary's list of names and their unique identifying numbers. These efforts are to ensure a secret ballot, to the best of our ability.
I would like to pause just a moment to discuss secret ballots. Masons are men of honor. We take obligations to act that way, and hold each other accountable. Critics of this electronic balloting plan might balk at the notion that complete secrecy and privacy can be maintained in a digital environment. I reply to them with the following: I am requesting that the voting members of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota keep their ballots secret and hold them harmless from corruption. To not do so would subject a voter to Masonic discipline. With a nod to our Master Mason's obligation, we've now as secret and private a ballot as men on this earth can hope to have.
A link to the online ballot will be sent by email to each qualified voter, with his unique number. Follow-up will be made to their Lodges by our District Masters both reviewing the process and answering questions. Voters without access to the internet may proxy their vote to a Past Master of their Lodge or the Master of the Lodge may enter two or three votes, circumstances depending. In either case, this is just as would happen if a voting member was unable to attend the Annual Communication in person.
The Electronic Session of Annual Communication will open at 10:00AM MDT on Friday, 19 June 2020 followed by a roll call of Lodges, Announcements of Lodge of the Year, Master Builder of the Year, Lodge Education Officer and any special awards. References to Preprinted Reports on what are available on line and the procedures used to vote will be discussed. Balloting will open at 10:30 AM and remain open until 12:00PM. This is in keeping with our Grand Lodge Annual Communication per the Code except for election of Grand Lodge Officers will be accomplished as time allows through on line access. The Tellers Committee will meet at 12:00 PM to begin their canvass of votes. The chair will make his report and the Grand Master will announce the winners. Obligation and installation of the newly elected Grand Lodge officers will follow immediately thereafter.
I close with a point of emphasis. An electronic ballot is not how a single one of us wants to accomplish the work of our Annual Communication. My hope, though, is with this balloting, we can get as close as we can in this COVID-restricted environment to our usual form of work. When we've finished, we can look to a happy future period when we can gather together again to celebrate both our Brotherhood and our precious South Dakota Freemasonry.
To the Masons of South Dakota, I close with best wishes for your good health and for the health of your families. Continue to support one another as you always do, and I say again what a blessing it is to be counted among your number.
Fraternally and Sincerely,  
Harold D. Ireland  
Grand Master of Masons  


From the Deputy Grand Master [posted April 2020]

These are interesting times Brothers. I hope you are all staying well. I would like to thank those among us who are deemed essential during the Covid-19 pandemic. I would also like to remind everyone that the Grand Lodge is here for those that are experiencing hardship for whatever reason. We need to remember as Freemasons we should never feel we are alone. Most of us are used to regularly stated Lodge meetings to catch up with Brothers we may not see often and have good Masonic fellowship. Remember we are Masons, and this Fraternity has survived some incredible times in our history. We have had to constantly reinvent ourselves while staying within the bounds of our Landmarks, Code and By-laws. This is another time for us to think out of the box and get creative.
I applaud the Lodges that have embraced video-conferencing tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to stay connected with their Lodge while we can’t meet face to face. It’s nice to see familiar faces and hear voices that can offer some comfort and support during these uncertain times. Remember however, the Brothers that don’t have this capability. It is a great time to print a roster and reach out to as many of our Lodge members as possible to make sure everyone has what they need for now. I believe even just a conversation might be what a lot of us need right now. Remember the widows and orphans. We have vowed to take care of them as well. If you don’t have a list of those individuals it might be time to start doing some research and getting that accomplished. This might be an opportunity to remind our Brothers, their widows and orphans that we do truly care. And who knows, maybe it will give them a reason to reengage with the Lodge. In my mind that is a win-win situation.
I would also like to remind everyone that the Grand Lodge has funds set aside to assist Brothers and their families during the pandemic. We understand that some of us are temporarily unemployed or may have unexpected medical expenses that can add up in a hurry. We are here to help. The Grand Lodge office has applications that can be filled out and sent in. These applications are confidential, as only the Trustees see them. I realize there might be hesitation by some but remember those funds are put in place for just this reason. This is part of what we all work so hard for. To help our Brothers when they need it. Also keep in mind that those asking for assistance will not be asked to pay ANY of this back. We are doing this because it the right thing to do, plain and simple.
Masons are meant to be Leaders. Now is the time for us to show it. We should be doing all we can for our Brothers, our Lodges, our Family and our Community as long as we are staying safe while doing so. I know there are lots of ideas and plans out there. Make them known so they can be shared and used to help all of us get through these challenging times. Please stay safe and know I am just a phone call away. We are not alone we are all in this together.

Jason D Swindler, Junior Grand Warden  


From the West [posted April 2020]

To relieve the distressed is a duty incumbent on all men but more especially Masons. To soothe the unhappy, to sympathize with their misfortunes, to compassionate their miseries and to restore peace to the troubled mind is the grand aim of Masonry. So, in this time of social distancing (I prefer physical distancing) how do we accomplish relieving our family, friends, neighbors, Lodge members and Brethren wheresoever dispersed?
There is not a one size fit all solution but, we as Masons need to contemplate what we can do and contribute to relief of our communities, more especially our Brother Masons, as liberally as possible without material injury (and physical) to ourselves and family. I am very proud to say I know many brethren who are taking up the mantle of their lodges and instituting their own calling chains to make sure that nobody feels isolated at this time. They are making calls to brothers that they don’t even know. I personally have experienced a couple such calls where I have spent 30 to 40 minutes on the phone with somebody I have never met before. These conversations were as good for me as they were for the person on the other end of the phone. I recently had a discussion about not being able to get out and support my nonprofit charity because, if I were to contract this virus, I would be putting my family, who are in a high risk category, in unnecessary peril or danger. The brother on the other end of the conversation reassured me that, even though it was counterintuitive, I was making the right decision. We, my wife and I, have made a conscious decision that there are other ways that we can help those in our community that are in need without, unnecessarily exposing ourselves to the danger of this virus. We have been able to offer our Zoom account to allow groups to meet and socialize, I have also been able to use Facebook pages to connect and promote encouraging words.
As we end this year, we are under a dark cloud of the pandemic that is threatening the world. Masonry is taking a big hit but, it is how we react in the coming days that will define the Fraternity. I am proud to be involved with Lodges and Organizations that are reaching out to their members and making sure that we adhere to one of the tenants or our Organization, Relief. I urge everyone not just the elected officers of the Lodges to reach out to members that they may have lost contact with or that they do not even know. Renew your commitment to this Great Fraternity and always remember to practice those tenets of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.

Jeffrey P. VanCuren, Senior Grand Warden  


From the South [posted April 2020]

As I sit here in the last leg of my trip to the Conference of Grand Masters of North America, I can’t help but think, how many other brothers are on this plane with me? The first one I noticed just happened to be sitting right next to me. His name is Matt and we chat about what’s coming for us in Louisville in a very short time.
Then, as I watch the plane start to fill, Brother after Brother after Brother file in! They just keep coming and coming! Well, since I occupy the aisle seat and Matt has the window I get to greet them all one by one as they pile in, bringing their girlfriends or ladies.
Now we are in the air... all you hear is the occasional opening of an overhead compartment, the roar of the motors and all the wind noise you can handle. Matt and I exchange some words when one of us has something we want to share with the other, or he reads from a book, and well...I’m writing this to you. The point of my story telling is why would anyone not want this exceptional Brotherhood that we all share? I didn’t know Matt until he sat down. I’m not sure if I’ll see him again but I certainly hope so!
The longer I sit during the flight, it dawns on me that all the Brothers and ladies on this plane are headed to Louisville for one purpose: to keep Freemasonry alive! To keep the brotherhood going! Keeping up the more than 300 year history of this great fraternity that we all love, and to continue to move forward into the next centuries ahead.
If you know of a great and qualified man to join this great fraternity, first send him to for information about what to expect from the Order. Then lead him in the right direction! Talk with him, get his opinion on Freemasonry, invite him to a lodge function, so that other members can meet him. After you are satisfied that he will make a great Master Mason of our fraternity, then, hand him a petition! It’s a good feeling knowing that you have brought a good man to the craft and are in the process of making him a better man as he also helps others on their own personal journeys.

Dan Nace, Junior Grand Warden  


Tidings from the Grand Treasurer-Secretary [posted April 2020]

Well, things have been interesting, to say the least, at the Grand Lodge Office. This Covid-19 pandemic has made it necessary to change how our Grand Lodge Office does business. We had to get things set up quickly so Gwen could do most of her work from home. We now have remote access and cloud back-ups for all our information. This is something we were planning on doing anyway, but it is done now. Sharon is back but working a limited schedule also. We continue to monitor all the updates from the city and state and hope to get back to a new normal sometime later in May. If you need anything, please call and leave voice messages, or send e-mails and we will get back to you ASAP. Otherwise, the office is closed through May 15th as of now.
Hopefully, many off you have been able to meet via Zoom, Skype and other virtual means. Continue to be safe and creative as we all work to get through this.

James J Burma Jr., Grand Treasurer-Secretary  



Grand Master’s Appeal for Donations

Dear Brother,
It is my sincere hope that the South Dakota Masonic Charities (SDMC) can count on your contribution and continued support. Your contribution supports our mission as Masons through providing peace of mind to parents, support to teachers, and educating the youth of South Dakota. Your commitment and dedication to the Craft will carry us into the future for years to come.
As we are under the restrictions of COVID-19, we must be mindful of the obligation each of us has taken to assist our Brothers, their widows and orphans in need as long as it doesn’t do us material harm. The Coronavirus has made it difficult for all of us to accomplish our normal tasks and it becomes even more important to reflect on our Brothers and communities assisting wherever possible.
Consider supporting our SDMC, which encompasses four (4) major charitable programs: The SD Child Identification Program providing parents and guardians everything they need for an Amber Alert in case of abduction or loss of an individual; the Masonic Model Student Assistance Training Program, “Save a Child Program,” trains school staffs to recognize and assist in saving children at risk; the Scholarship Program provides tuition assistance to students for further education; and the Matching Grant Program provides up to $500 match with Constituent Lodges in funding charitable community projects. Additionally we are providing support to any of our Brothers and their families in need.
I am making a direct appeal to you as a Brother and asking for your contribution rather than using a marketing firm. A large portion of your donation used to go to a marketing firm to pay for their efforts, cover the expense of the provided gifts, and a modest portion made its way to our Charity. I believe your contribution should be maximized in support of the South Dakota Masonic Charities. I am therefore appealing to you personally, Brother to Brother, to make a tax-deductible donation directly to our beloved organization. In return for your generous contribution, your name will be listed at the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge next June as well as in the Masonic Messenger. Brothers who are able to contribute $125 or more will be recognized as a member of the Grand Masters Circle, those contributing $300-$500 will be considered in our Master Builders Club, and those contributing $1,000 or more will be recognized as a member of our Legacy Society. All donations, regardless of size, will be recognized with a letter of thanks.
If you are considering a more substantial donation through a bequest or other financial instrument, please contact the Grand Lodge or your financial advisor for more information.
Thank you again for you commitment and support of our noble Craft. Your generous gift will help ensure we are able to continue our charitable works into the future. May we always remember Brotherly Love, Truth and Relief are the foundation of our Craft, and Charity is our most important asset.

Harold D. Ireland  
Grand Master of Masons  
Grand Lodge of South Dakota  




I am happy to report that we were able to hold two Save A Child program trainings in South Dakota this year.
The first was held in Aberdeen at the Yelduz Shrine Center in November and about 20 educators were trained. A huge thank you to all who assisted with this training.
The second training was held at the Ramkota in Rapid City in February. Just over 30 educators were trained. Another huge thank you to all those involved in making this happen. One notable difference at this training was there were 6 attendees from the Rapid City YMCA after school program at North Middle School. To my knowledge, this is the first group to participate who were not full-time professional educators.
I believe for future trainings, we should invite not only area school districts, but organizations such as YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, Ministerial groups, etc.
The National Masonic Foundation for Children (NMFC) is a national 501(c)3 charity that is part of the Conference of Grand Masters of North America. This charity is the group that oversees the day to day administration of the MMSAP trainings. The NMFC employs a full time Executive Secretary who coordinates and schedules the trainers, sends the invitations to area schools, etc. and were a huge help to the program in getting these trainings done.
In addition to the standard MMSAP training we have done in South Dakota for more than 20 years, the NMFC and the company contracted to provide the trainers now offers several other trainings, including bullying, trauma informed care and others for educators, and training for youth peer groups in schools and training for Masonic youth leaders. It may be time to look at offering some of these other trainings, as the climate and environment of education continues to change.
It is our hope to provide another training this fall, but with the shutdown of schools because of the Coronavirus, I am not how that will play out.
I would again like to thank all those who continue to support this critical program financially as well as those who volunteered many hours to make the two trainings this year a reality. I would also thank Most Worshipful Grand Master Ireland for appointing me State Coordinator for our Save A Child program.
Respectfully submitted,  
Yancey Smith, PGM  
SD State Coordinator, Save A Child  


As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold in our communities as restrictions and guidelines are established to better slow the spread of this deadly virus, we must all do our part as Masons to ensure the safety and well being of our families, Brothers and our communities.
Remember your obligation “to help those in need if not a danger to ourselves.” Reach out and check on loved ones and Brothers. We are in this situation together and must assist whenever possible ensuring needs are met. I solicit each of our Lodges and Brothers to check on one another and identify anyone in need. If a Brother’'s needs are beyond capabilities of his Lodge, please contact the Grand Lodge Office for assistance. In times of Distress, “You are your Brother’s keeper.”
We continue monitoring the COVID-19 situation and encourage everyone to do their part by social distancing or isolation, practicing personal hygiene, minimizing travel, and following established guidelines provided through federal, state and local authorities or visit the CDC at CORONAVIRUS.GOV for latest guidance. Current estimates state the situation may not peak until May so we must do our best to adjust as necessary. Updates will be provided as circumstances dictate and changes to our policies are required.
Reach out to family, friends, and Brothers ensuring all are safe and their needs are being met. Utilize electronic means if possible to minimize exposure as we communicate with others. Changing your method of shopping by using phone-in orders with either delivery or curb side pickup can help. Consider ways to stay safe and encourage others to do likewise.
Practice our great tradition of Brothers helping Brothers, Widows and Orphans. I encourage you to continue this theme as we go through this matter together. Your Grand Lodge is standing by to assist in any way we can. I wish all Masons and their families continued health and safety during this wearisome time.
Harold D. Ireland, Grand Master of Masons  



March 18, 2020

Grand Lodge Office Update

Lots going on in the office due to the COVID-19 situation. The Sioux Falls MBA building is following recommended guidance of city, state, and federal governments. This will limit access to this building to Keyed Tenants only. They currently plan to have building Manager in Building 9 am to Noon Monday through Friday. Front door will be locked, and access limited to deliveries and people with direct business in the building. So, in the building, office hours over the next few weeks:
Mar. 23 - Mar. 27: 10:00 am to noon
Mar. 30 - Apr. 3: 10:00 am to noon
Apr. 6 - Apr. 10: 9:00 am to noon
Apr. 13 - Apr. 17: 9:00 am to noon
Apr. 20 - Apr. 24: 9:00 am to noon
Apr. 27 - May 1: 9:00 am to noon

Gwen will be in the office during these posted hours. She now has remote access to her office computer from home. She will check office voice mails during normal business hours.
Please do not come to the office unless it is absolutely necessary, and then by appointment only.
We hope to be able to return to normal operation on May 4. Any questions please reach out to me or Gwen and we will do the best we can to help!

James J Burma Jr.  
Grand Treasurer - Secretary  
Grand Lodge of South Dakota  



Open this link for an imporant edict from the Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota.

“In compliance with the State of Emergency declared both federally [and] in South Dakota, and the latest guidance directed by the President and CDC last evening of not more than 10 individuals meeting as a group, we must take measures to contain the COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Acting under my authority as Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota, I do hereby order all Lodge activities, including all Regular and Special Communications of subordinate Lodges, ritual practices, fundraisers, and social events be cancelled or postponed until further notice...”[for the full text click here.]


Golden Book Available Online

The Counselor’s Golden Book of Masonic Information, revised by Brothers of Resurgam Lodge #31, is now available online. This is an enormous and valuable resource for all Brothers, particularly Lodge Secretaries.


Spearfish Lodge #18 and Cedar Lodge #124

On March 14, Brothers of Spearfish Lodge #18 and Cedar Lodge #124 in Belle Fourche worked together to pass three Entered Apprentices to Fellowcraft, and then turn around and raise them to Master Mason status the same day. Those being passed and raised were John Larson and Don Nelson of Spearfish, and Wallace Eddy of Belle Fourche. Assisting in the presentation of the degrees were Brothers and officers from the Sundance and Gillette, Wyoming, Lodges.

Fellowcraft and Master Mason Degree work for candidates from Belle Fourche and Spearfish


Greetings from the Grand Master.
This is a reminder that Nomination packets for any elected Grand Lodge position or any proposed Legislation to be considered at the Annual Communication this June, according to the Grand Lodge By-laws, must be received in the Grand Lodge Office by 5:00PM CDT Friday, 20 March 2020.
Harold Ireland,  


Sesquicentennial Celebration of Incense Lodge #2

The Grand Lodges of South Dakota and Iowa participated in the Sesquicentennial and Rededication of Incense Lodge #2 on March 8 in Vermillion. A great crowd was on hand to help celebrate this historic event and share in the celebration.
Participating in the ceremony were GM Harold Ireland, GM William Crawford of Iowa; WB Dave Meltz; RWB Dennis Heflin of Iowa; RWB Jeff VanCuren; RWB Dan Nace; WB Tony Larson; and WB Harold Walker.

Incense Lodge was chartered as Incense Lodge #257 by the Grand Lodge of Iowa on February 10, 1869. Incense was one of the first five Lodges in the territory and its support led to the establishment of the Grand Lodge of Dakota Territory in 1875 when the name was changed to Incense Lodge #2 because it was the second oldest Lodge in Dakota Territory.
On November 2, 1889, the Dakota Territory became the two states of South Dakota and North Dakota, and these Lodges retained their names. The Lodge has been under three Grand Lodge jurisdictions: Grand Lodge of Iowa with its original charter, Grand Lodge of Dakota, and the Grand Lodge of South Dakota since 1889. The Installation Ceremony of the Grand Lodge of Dakota was held in the Baptist Church in 1875 with Thos H. Brown, MW Grand Master; F.J. Dewitt, RWD Grand Master; C.G. Shaw, RW SR Grand Warden; H.H. Blair, RW JR Grand Warden; Geo H. Hand, RW Grand Treasurer; and Mark W. Bailey, RW Grand Secretary.
The Order of Eastern Star, Juno Chapter #44 has been a partner with this Lodge since 1898 and was available to accomplish an excellent lunch for those participating in this historical event.
Incense Lodge #2 has a great history and has had influence on the area since 1869. An example of the influence was the dedication of the Clay County Courthouse by the Grand Lodge of South Dakota along with assistance from Incense Lodge #2 in 1912. There has been Masonic activity in what is now South Dakota as early as 1862. The first charter was issued in Yankton, Dakota Territory in 1863.
Incense Lodge #2 is a place where Brothers could meet on the level and practice our great foundation of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. We wish them success in their endeavors for the next 150 years.


Vermillion Masonic Lodge Celebrates 150th Anniversary [posted March 2020]

VERMILLION — Members of the Masonic Grand Lodge of South Dakota celebrated the beginnings of the fraternal organization in Vermillion Sunday by making a bit of history of their own.
Masons performed a historic cornerstone rededication ceremony as part of the 150th anniversary celebration of the dedication of what was originally Incense Lodge #257, chartered in 1869 by the Grand Lodge of Iowa.
The ceremony was held Sunday afternoon in the Masonic Lodge in Vermillion, known as Incense Lodge #2, located at 7 West Main in the heart of the community’s downtown.

Iowa Grand Master William Crawford (center) presents Tom Sorensen, Worshipful Master of Incense Lodge #2, at right, with a pin that celebrates the 175 years of Masonry in Iowa. At left is South Dakota Grand Master Harold D. Ireland.

The event attracted a strong crowd made up of not only local Masons and their spouses, but also some of the organization’s regional leaders, including Grand Master Harold D. Ireland, Senior Grand Warden Jeffrey P. VanCuren and Junior Grand Warden Daniel A. Nace.
Incense Lodge #2 was named in 1875, when the Grand Lodge of Iowa gave its jurisdictional rights to the newly formed Grand Lodge of Dakota, making it the second oldest lodge in the jurisdiction behind St. John’s Lodge in Yankton.
Tom Sorensen, the Worshipful Master of Incense Lodge #2, thanked the members of the Order of Eastern Star Juno Chapter #44 who helped make Sunday’s ceremony possible.
“As old as this lodge is, the Order of the Eastern Star has been under our roof, according to our history books, since 1898,” Sorensen said. “We have a partnership that goes back a long ways.”
Masonry, a benevolent, educational and charitable organization, is the world’s oldest and largest fraternity of men dedicated to helping each other and contributes to the betterment of society.
Masonic lodges across South Dakota support various local youth and community projects and humanitarian efforts through South Dakota Masonic Charities.
“The Masons here in Vermillion and Clay County and in this area, in February of last year, celebrated its 150th year and it takes time to plan things and get people together,” Sorensen said. “We were established as a lodge in 1869 when Dakota Territory was here and stretched from the Missouri River all the way to Canada”.
Incense Lodge #2 was instrumental in helping install and establish the Grand Lodge of Dakota Territory, Sorensen said.
The lodge was first known as Incense Lodge #247 under the jurisdiction of Iowa.
After Dakota Territory became North Dakota and South Dakota on Nov. 2, 1889, Incense Lodge #2 in Vermillion became part of the Mason’s South Dakota jurisdiction.
“We were established as a lodge on Feb. 10, 1869, under dispensation issued by the Grand Lodge of Iowa. The Grand Lodge had received due application as early as 1867, but it took a couple years for everything to happen,” Sorensen said.
The first communication of Iowa’s new Incense Lodge was held in a room on the second story of a building below the bluff in what’s known as Original Vermillion.
“It moved several times until finally we established our lodge in this building and then later we remodeled and added on to it,” Sorensen said.
The lodge is the home of several historic documents, including its original charter.
Sorensen noted a photograph showing a partially built Clay County Courthouse and the large crowd that had gathered for the ceremony of laying the building’s cornerstone.
“The Grand Lodge of South Dakota helped handle this in 1912 at the Clay County Courthouse,” he said. “We have a very rich history and this is the latest part of our history so watch what happens.”
According to a document prepared by the Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center in 2017, there was Masonic activity as early as 1862 in what is now South Dakota. The first charter was issued under the jurisdiction of Iowa to a lodge in Yankton, Dakota Territory, in 1863. By 1875, there were five lodges, all in the southeastern part of the territory.
In 1875, the Iowa Grand Lodge instituted the Grand Lodge of Dakota at Vermillion. In October 1899, 10 years after statehood was granted, North Dakota and South Dakota were split into two Grand Lodges.

Reprinted with permission from The Vermillion Plain Talk



March 12, 2020


Given the national and statewide concern regarding the COVID-19 Virus (coronavirus) and its impact around the world, in consultation with our SDCHIP healthcare partners, Grand Master Ireland has directed a temporary pause in conducting South Dakota Child Identification Events until further notice.
We take COVID-19 seriously and are committed to the safety of our communities, volunteers, and fellow Masons along with the mitigation of the disease. While there is no need to panic, we need to be cautious and responsible. More information on the COVID-19 can be found on the state’s website at or on the CDC’s website,
We thank you for your understanding in this matter and appreciate your commitment to the South Dakota Child Identification Program. Please contact me with any further questions.
Mike Rodman, Chair, SD Child ID Program


South Dakota DeMolay Conclave 2020 [posted March 2020]

On Friday and Saturday, February 28 and 29, several young men from across South Dakota and Wyoming attended the DeMolay Spring Conclave. Carrying on a 100-year tradition, sixteen young men ranging in ages from 12-20, with their adult advisors, spent the weekend at the Sturgis Masonic Lodge, engaged in the fellowship and leadership opportunities that DeMolay provides. DeMolay has been a part of Sturgis history since 1949. Many of those young men of the Sturgis Chapter of DeMolay have gone on to serve their communities as doctors, lawyers, business. and military men and became great husbands and fathers.
This Spring Conclave gave an opportunity for these young men to come together to do Degree Work. The DeMolay degrees teach life lessons that encourage filial love, sacred things, courtesy, comradeship, fidelity, cleanliness, and patriotism. These youth also had the opportunity to meet young men from other Chapters.

SD and Wyoming DeMolay Spring Conclave 29 February 2020

DeMolay is the premier international youth leadership organization, striving to shape young men into leaders of character by epitomizing timeless values, and accepting the challenge of leadership. Both by character and action, the young men of DeMolay transform themselves into citizens of the highest caliber. DeMolay is an inclusive organization that only asks interested young men to believe in a higher being.
Each young man takes ownership of his DeMolay experience. From generating ideas, planning events, coordinating logistics, and executing their plans, each DeMolay Chapter is responsible for defining its success. This is accomplished under the mentorship of trained advisors, selected from the local community, enabling each Chapter to be uniquely tailored to support the interests of its members.
The Black Hills Scottish Rite, Valley of Deadwood, acquired its set of backdrops from Kansas City in 1935. One of these historic backdrops happens to be the one used in 1921 at the first International Meeting of DeMolay. The participants had a unique opportunity to have their picture taken with that backdrop during their Spring Conclave weekend.

First International Order of DeMolay (1921) in Kansas City

The DeMolay youth also had a joint meeting with the Job’s Daughters Bethel #12 from Sturgis. Afterward the two youth groups attended the Rapid City Rush Hockey game Saturday night.


MW Charles W. Nash Masonic Burial Rites [posted March 2020]

On Saturday, May 2, 2020, MW Harold D. Ireland, Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota, will preside over the Final Masonic Burial Rites, for MWB C.W. Nash, our founding Master, at the Masonic Cemetery in Philip.
MWB Nash was Captain of Hatch’s Battalion, Minnesota Cavalry, which was sent to Ft. Pembina in the fall of 1863, during the Sioux Uprising. Their military duties were insure the safety of the local residents, and to assist in guarding the border between Dakota Territory and Ruperts Land, British Territory.
Within this military unit there were a number of Masons, who wished to continue their Fraternal Fellowship while stationed at Ft. Pembina and thus reached out to the Grand Lodge of Minnesota for an ability to do so.
MWB Nash was appointed the founding Master of Northern Light Lodge U.D., at Ft. Pembina, Dakota Territory, when it was given a Dispensation to operate as such, on September 18, 1863. He personally carried this Dispensation with him from St. Paul as the soldiers made their way north.
While pondering a proper name for his Lodge one winter evening, Nash witnessed a beautiful display of color and light high above him and was compelled to call his lodge, Northern Light.
This name continues today under the affiliation of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba A.F. & A.M.
A number of prominent individuals and soldiers from the Red River Settlement (present day Winnipeg) wished to join the Masons and, knowing of the Lodge operating at Ft. Pembina, traveled south to receive their Degrees.
When the soldiers from Minnesota were no longer needed along the border they returned home to Minnesota during the month of June, 1864. All the meeting records, membership list and the original Dispensation were returned and given to the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota.
In the meantime, the northern Brothers had petitioned MWB, A.T.C. Pierson, Grand Master of Minnesota to reinstate the Dispensation of Northern Light Lodge U.D., Red River Settlement, Ruperts Land, which he signed on May 20, 1864. He also appointed Bro. John Shultz to act a Master.
WB Shultz would later become the fifth Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, serving from 1888 to 1895.
This original Northern Light Lodge U.D. became a cornerstone Lodge of three who originally formed the Grand Lodge of Manitoba, and it operates today as Northern Light Prince Rupert’s Lodge No.1, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
In its formative years the Grand Lodge of Manitoba held Fraternal authority of all lands to the west within Ruperts Land, including present day Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Northwest Territories.
MWB Nash, returned to the Minneapolis, St. Paul area and was an active member of the community as well as the Masonic Lodge. He held a law degree and founded the Pioneer Printing Company. Prior to arriving in Minnesota he had also held the office of Mayor at Ft. Dodge, IA.
On April 21, 1868, a fire destroyed the building that housed the Grand Lodge of Minnesota, and all records from the past were consumed in the flames, but our unique history with Northern Light Lodge continued on.
WB Nash was nominated and elected, off the floor of the Minnesota Grand Lodge to the position of Grand Master without ever holding another office! And, on January 10, 1872, as Grand Master of Masons in Minnesota, he signed the Charter for Yellowstone Lodge No. 88, Ft. Buford, Dakota Territory, which became the first Chartered Lodge in what is now the State of North Dakota.
Thus, he became a Grand Master of Masonry which eventually held leadership over several million square miles, and a Father of Masonry for many historically recognized Lodges in the U. S. and Canada, including the noted Northwest Mounted Police Lodge No. 11, at Regina, Saskatchewan.

Schedule of Events:
-May 1: Welcome Steak Fry at 73 Steakhouse for fellowship
-May 2: 8:00 Breakfast and Program at Senior Center
-10:30 Masonic Rites at grave site in Philip Masonic Cemetery

For Lodging Reservations:
- Motel West, 421 Auto Ave, Philip, SD 57567, 605-859-2546
- Americas Best, 401 SD-73, Kadoka, SD 57543, 605-837-2188
- Lakota Lodge, 106 SD-73, Kadoka, SD 57543, 605-837-2151
- Sundowner Motel, 510 SD-73, Kadoka, SD 57543, 605-837-2296

Kadoka is about 20 miles south of Philip, and the roads are in good condition, so spending the overnight there should not create too much of a problem for those who have to travel back and forth.
The public is invited to attend the services and dedication at the cemetery, and all Members and Ladies from any Jurisdiction are welcome to attend both the steak fry and breakfast on Saturday morning.
The committee is asking that if you intend to attend the steak fry or the morning breakfas, to please contact the Brothers Philip Lodge No. 153 listed below within a reasonable amount of time. They will need this information in order to have enough provisions on hand for everyone when they arrive.

Duke Westerberg,
Master, Philip Masonic Lodge No. 153
PO Box 456
Philip, SD 57567
Mobile: (605) 515-3281

Doug Thorson
Past Master, Philip Lodge No. 153
22750 Cottonwood Rd
Quinn , SD 57775-3200
Mobile (605) 515-1590


Brother David Vuich Honored [posted March 2020]

Brother David Vuich, 33o, has been honored by the Republic of Serbia with the Order of Karađorđe’s Star of First Degree, commemorating his extensive contribution to the Apollo space program. This honor has been bestowed to only one other Serbian-American — the esteemed inventor Nikola Tesla.
Brother Vuich was raised a Master Mason in Rapid City Lodge December 17, 1957, and has remained a member of Rapid City Lodge all these years.

Republic of Serbia
Secretariat General of the
President of the Republic

Esteemed Mr. Vuich,
It is with great joy and pleasure that I inform you that the President of the Republic of Serbia Mr. Aleksandar Vučić has decided to decorate you with the Order of Karađorđe’s Star of First Degree on the occasion of Sretenje — the National Day of Serbia.
Appreciating the significant results, you have achieved working on the Apollo cosmic program as well as valuing your contribution to the advancement of the reputation of the Serbian community in America, as well as the Serbian Nation all over the World, the President has decided to decorate you with this high award.
Please accept my sincere congratulations, along with my wishes that for many years to come you wear this medal in good health, for the pride of your family and all the citizens of Serbia.
The ceremonial presentation of the decoration will be held at the New Palace, Andrićev venac 1 in Belgrade, on February 15, 2020, at 1:00 pm.
In hope that we will meet you on Sretenje, I send you my kindest regards
Secretary General
Nikola Selaković


Scholarship Applications Deadline Extended to April 15 [posted February 2020]

The deadline for submitting Grand Lodge Scholarship Applications has been extended to April 15:


Summons to the 146th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota [posted February 2020]

To the Worshipful Masters of all Lodges in the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of South Dakota:
You are hereby summoned, with your Wardens and Past Masters (whom you will please notify), to attend the One Hundred and Forty Sixth Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of South Dakota to be opened at 10:00 AM (Mountain Daylight Time) on Friday, 19 June 2020 in the Best Western Ramkota Hotel and Convention Center, 2111 N. Lacrosse, Rapid City, South Dakota.
Worshipful Masters and Wardens unable to attend will appoint qualified Proxies to attend and vote in their stead. All Members must show their current 2020 Dues Card, and if attending as a Proxy, they must present a properly signed proxy card. All Master Masons, in good standing, in a recognized Lodge, are cordially invited to attend.
The Secretary of each Lodge shall read this summons in open Lodge at the first meeting after its receipt.
Harold D. Ireland, Grand Master

Presenters at the 146th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota

2020 Grand Lodge of South Dakota Registration Form


Lodge Education Officer of the Year Nominations [posted February 2020]

It’s time to nominate the Lodge Education Officer (LEO) of the Year:


Scholarship Applications Due March 15 [posted February 2020]

Grand Lodge Scholarship Applications are due March 15:


Minnesota Exchange [posted February 2020]

Masonic Brothers from Nelson Lodge #135 (Buffalo, MN) and Star Lodge #62 (Rockford, MN) joined Brothers from Gettysburg, Aberdeen and Redfield for an evening of fraternal fellowship and an exchange of activities in Lodges represented to further our local presence and the interests of Masonry. We enjoyed Oyster Stew, Chili, sandwiches and dessert. The following comments are from W.Bro. Secretary of Star Lodge:

Hi Brother,
We raised six last year and had two transfers into our lodge from other lodges, We are involved with and raise money for an active local 501c3 that runs the food shelf, lunch deliveries in the summer for kids, and a variety of other local community events and services. They are called RiverWorks Community Development. We also provide a 2 x 2,000 scholarships each year to local seniors for tech schools (2 year programs) as we have found that support for 2-year vs 4-year degrees are limited.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for further info.
Eric Sorenson

We hope for a repeat next year and will make a strong effort to get pictures.
Larry Madsen, Secretary
Ionic Lodge #83, Gettysburg


South Dakota Masons announce the Sesquicentennial Celebration of Incense Lodge #2 in Vermillion [posted February 2020]

The Masonic Grand Lodge of South Dakota is proud to announce that they will be performing a historic cornerstone rededication ceremony as part of the 150th Anniversary Celebration of the dedication of what was originally Incense Lodge #257, chartered by the Grand Lodge of Iowa, in Vermillion, South Dakota at 2:00 PM CDT at the Lodge at 7 West Main on Sunday, March 8, 2020.
“The Grand Lodge of South Dakota is pleased to honor Incense Lodge #2 and its 150 years of involvement in the community of Vermillion,” said Harold Ireland, Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota. “We invite South Dakotans to come and witness this piece of Masonic history being made with us on March 8th.” Other events scheduled for the day include a community luncheon hosted by Incense Lodge #2 that will begin at 1:00 PM CDT, at the lodge in downtown Vermillion, the cornerstone rededication ceremony at 2:00 PM CDT and tours of the lodge building will be provided after the rededication ceremony.
Incense Lodge #2 was named in 1875, when the Grand Lodge of Iowa gave its jurisdictional rights to the newly formed Grand Lodge of Dakota, making it the second oldest lodge in the jurisdiction, behind St. John’s Lodge in Yankton.
Contact Tom Sorensen, WM of Incense Lodge #2, (605) 659-5483, for more information.


Tidings from the Grand Treasurer-Secretary [posted February 2020]

I want to first say thank you the Grand Master Harold Ireland for this appointment. It is an honor to be asked to serve and help out in the Grand Lodge Office. Since joining the team in November, I have been working hard to get up to speed and help where needed most. We are lucky to have a great office team in Gwen and Sharon. They make the job a lot easier. My Masonic journey started in March of 2004 when I became a Master Mason with Trinity Lodge #200 in Sioux Falls. The path I took at the time was to become active at El Raid Shrine. Joining the Oriental Band and becoming an aid to the Potentate in 2005. By 2008 I was asked to Join the El Raid Divan as Outer Guard, which led to Potentate in 2017. In 2018 I was appointed to the Twin Cities Board of Governors for the Shrine Hospital for Children a position I still hold and enjoy and now a member of the Steel Drum Band. But through all my time with the Shrine I continually worked to promote getting back to Lodge while on the DIvan. So, this opportunity to serve as Grand Lodge Treasurer-Secretary was a good way for me to get back and give back.
I hope to be able to bring some of my business marketing and management background and 30+ years in business to help in the Grand Lodge office.
We are currently working on new ways to improve communications across all the Offices and committees in Grand Lodge. Also exploring ways to provide improved support to all Lodges in SD and their secretaries if needed.
Thanks again to all for this opportunity to serve!

James J Burma Jr., Grand Treasurer-Secretary  


From the South [posted February 2020]

I hope everyone had a fantastic set of Holidays. Time to get back to the grind! I think we all had a good time at the Grand Lodge mid-year meeting in Pierre — and looking forward to more exciting things to come!
As we move our lodges forward to the future, let us not forget to keep all of our members engaged in Lodge. An idle Lodge is hard to keep members or to gain new ones. If a Brother in Lodge is eager to do something new, why not give it a try? Have fun while doing things as a Lodge! I feel that one of the biggest problems with membership retention, is if a Brother doesn’t feel needed or welcome, the chances of that Brother staying a member is almost zero. Find the passions of the Brother and help steer him in the right direction. Get your Lodge education officer to work, don’t just read the minutes and close. Have a meal invite the families or friends of the brothers, so they can see what it’s about. Also, it’s a great idea to let the Lodges around you know what you are up to, so they can visit. If you are having success on gaining members please share!! Most of the Lodges would sure like to know!
Another great tool for membership retention is to use the “Six Steps to Masonry” while talking to a possible new member. If you need copy of them to read over, please get ahold of me or any of your Grand Lodge officers, we will gladly set you up with it.

Dan Nace, Junior Grand Warden  


From the East [posted January 2020]

As Grand Master of Masons of South Dakota, it has been a very busy but rewarding year to witness the great work we do in so many of our communities across the jurisdiction. Your Grand Lodge is working extremely hard to live up to the commitment of our mission in supporting the Constituent Lodges and Masons of this jurisdiction. At the recent Grand Lodge Midyear Session held in Pierre we reviewed the status of the various programs that were established and promoted for improvement of the Craft. We are making great strides forward with the South Dakota Masonic Charities and the four areas under its purview: Child Identification Program, Masonic Model Student Assistance Program, Academic Scholarships, and Matching Grants. I am happy to announce the Grand Lodge of SD and the MMSAP Committee along with the National Masonic Foundation for Children hosted a training session in Aberdeen 19-21 November, and will be hosting another training session in Rapid City 25-27 February. We have been recognizing Masonic Legacy Families through the presentation of Lewis Legacy Awards. Our annual Leadership Conference is beginning to pay dividends with many Lodges engaged in degree work for their incoming members. We continue to stress the use of the Six Steps to Initiation to make “Masons for Life” not just more members. With six new District Masters this year we have engaged them to get involved and work with the Lodges in their districts. I want to personally thank these Brothers for stepping up and recognize their efforts and enthusiasm. These folks are the conduit between Lodges and the Grand Lodge to carry information or concerns both ways. I request Lodges utilize their District Master to help improve and grow. Effective 1 January 2020: Deadwood Lodge #7 and Golden Star Lodge #9 consolidated to become Deadwood Golden Star Lodge #7; Ree Valley Lodge #70 consolidated with Lily Lodge #62; and Sisseton Lodge #131 dissolved. As we address the many changes and challenges that are witnessed, we must always keep in mind “how do our actions help Masonry” with all decisions. Collectively we will make a better Craft..
We are preparing to accomplish two 150 Year Anniversary and Rededication Ceremonies for Incense Lodge #2 in Vermillion on March 8 and Elk Point Lodge #3 on April 18. On 1-2 May we will hold the C.W. Nash Founders Celebration in Philip to recognize the beginning of Masonry in this part of the world. Mark your calendars and come be part of history in the making as we celebrate these events.
Our Annual Communication is just around the corner and we are getting some exciting speakers and events lined up to enhance your experience. I urge anyone interested in being a Grand Lodge Officer (elected or appointed) to contact RWB Jason Swindler and visit with him about your wishes. We have a number of District Master terms that are up this year as well and we are looking for some replacements. Remember nomination packets are required not later than 90 days prior to Annual Communication so if you are running for a position get your packet submitted.
Harold D. Ireland, Grand Master of Masons  


From the West [posted January 2020]

As we look at the health of our Lodges, I believe we have gotten a few things sideways. First, I believe that the officers of the Lodge should be the best Brothers to run the Lodge, both in terms of time and competency. How many times have we asked a brand-new Brother to take a job as an officer shortly after he has been raised? How often do we consider a Brother’s talents before we ask him to do a job in the Lodge? Do we look down on a Brother if he doesn’t want to get into a leadership position? Would a business or professional organization do the same thing we do as an organization? Would a college, bank or business change leadership every year?
Why then do we as an organization expect our Lodges to do the same? I think there are three main reasons for this.
1) When Masonry was one of the few fraternal organizations to belong to, there was a plethora of qualified Brethren to run a Lodge and it was just a way to keep our best of the best involved in the Lodge. 2) A Lodge is looked at being weak or in a rut if they “recycle” a Worshipful Master. 3) And finally, too many Worshipful Masters see the job as a one and done event. We need to change that perception.
Granted, I also see the need for new and different leadership to make sure we keep the Lodge moving in a positive direction. Balance is the key.
We want younger Masons in our mix but, younger Masons have wives, kids and jobs. Maybe they are involved with their church, kid’s sport team or even attending school themselves. I believe God, family and job take precedence but, if you take an officer position than you have obligated yourself to a higher commitment to the Lodge on a voluntary basis and should honor that commitment. Why do we expect our younger Masons to undertake such a burden so early in their Masonic career when they barely understand their 24-inch gauge? Maybe we need to explain what the working tools mean to our younger Masons before we expect them to utilize those tools in the running of the Lodge. Maybe our middle-aged Masons need to look at this period of their life and determine if they can contribute to the Lodge and give a little extra for a couple of years. Finally, our Past Masters, as older Masons, need to stay involved in the Lodge and not be afraid to offer their opinion. I personally have heard too many Past Master say “It’s your year, Worshipful Master” rather than giving good and timely counsel and then be the first to criticize when an idea fails. Older Masons also must get out of the way when it comes to new and innovate ways to deliver the time-tested lessons of Masonry.
Choose wisely, don’t obligate yourself until ready, and don’t pressure those that are not ready. Finally, remember the three steps of Masonry and apply that to the Lodge (Youth, Manhood and Old-Age).

Jeffrey P. VanCuren, Senior Grand Warden  


From the Deputy Grand Master

I have been debating on what I wanted to write about for this article. I finally decided to give a few of my thoughts on something you may not have expected. One of the most challenging, yet rewarding, tasks I have been faced with as an adult is parenting. As parents we decide whether to be strict and unwavering or easy-going and laid back. I know in my experience what I imagined was going to work and what I had envisioned the outcome to be usually turned out to be nothing close to what happened. And that was just with the first child. If you happen to be silly enough to think just because a technique worked for one child that it will work for the next one, think again! In the end we probably end up somewhere in the middle of strict and easy-going and maybe that’s for the best. I think consistency is the key and even that is a hard to do with so many moving parts of a family. In the end our children need to be able to count on us to be somewhat predictable in order to connect with us at some level.
Now you may be asking why I bring this topic up. I believe being a leader is a lot like being a parent. We may have a grand view of what our ideas and goals will bring to the table but we must understand that not all of them will work out like we planned. Some ideas will be accepted, some thrown in the garbage can, but some with conversation and debate might turn out better than planned. Leaders are only as good as the people they are leading. We must build teams and realize when we need to trust someone to lend us a hand or at least whisper wise counsel in our ear. But probably most of all we need to be consistent. If we want the people that look up to us to lead to eventually trust the path forward, they need to be able to look back on our character and on how we have reacted in the past. It is my hope that in the next few years we will have some consistency. That we will have more Brothers decide to become leaders in the Fraternity and eventually have a desire to serve as officers in the Grand Lodge.
We all know men that would be good Masons. Invite them to dinner. Answer their questions honestly and let them know about your personal journey in Masonry. We need to be thinking about who is going to replace me if I can’t be there for whatever reason. And remember, my Brothers, I have told my wife and kids that if they are ever in need to reach out to a Mason. I trust I am putting them in as good of hands as my own. That’s part of being a Mason. It is an honor and a privilege to serve this Jurisdiction and I look forward to working with all of you in the coming months and years.

Jason D Swindler, Junior Grand Warden  


Season’s Greetings

The Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of South Dakota wishes you a Merry Christmas and happy and prosperous New Year! Here is a picture of this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree as decorated with the pictures of the nineteen governors who were Master Masons stating when they were governor, and what Lodge they belonged to. The tree is decorated with the working tools of the Masons. From the Grand Lodge officers and staff we bring you season’s greetings.


Grand Lodge Midyear Session and SD Masonic Lodge of Research

The Grand Lodge Midyear Session and SD Masonic Lodge of Research will be held at Pierre Lodge #27 on January 11, 2020. The Grand Lodge Session will start at 12:00 CST. All Grand Lodge Officers and District Masters are encouraged to be in attendance as we review this year’s progress and programs. We are looking forward to rolling out MS Teams as a better way to enhance communications between the Grand Lodge and the Districts to the Lodges. The SD Masonic Lodge of Research (LOR) is scheduled to start at 3:00 PM with the normal session and speakers. The LOR will be sending out invitations with more details soon. There will be a banquet after at 5:00 PM. MWB Jim Savaloja, ND Historian, will be the guest speaker at the banquet. He will speak on the development of Masonry in the territory and area, and the upcoming ceremony in Philip, on May 1-2, celebrating the accomplishments of Charles William (C. W.) Nash. He was the Founding Master of the first Lodge (Northern Lights) in west Rupert’s Land and the first Grand Master to charter a Lodge in the Dakota Territory. C. W. Nash, as he was usually addressed, is buried in the Philip Cemetery, and we plan to accomplish graveside Masonic Rites as part of the May celebration of Masonry. Lunch will be available at 11:00 for those that come early for the Grand Lodge Session for $10.00. Please RSVP to WB Matt Schatz at 605-280-7248 or for lunch or for the banquet after the Lodge of Research for only $15.00. We look forward to a productive session and fellowship in Pierre on January 11, 2020.


Lily Lodge #62 and Ree Valley Lodge #70 Consolidate

The Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of South Dakota accepts the Resolutions to Consolidate from Lily Lodge #62 and Ree Valley Lodge #70 as prescribed in the By-Laws of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota under Sections 3.18. Effective January 1, 2020, the two lodges will be consolidating into Lily Lodge # 62. The new lodge will operate under the By-Laws of Lily Lodge No. 62 until such time as a new set of by-laws is adopted after the date of Consolidation.


Deadwood Lodge #7 and Golden Star #9 Consolidate

The Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of South Dakota accepts the Resolutions to Consolidate from Deadwood Lodge #7 and Golden Star Lodge #9 as prescribed in the By-Laws of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota under Sections 3.18. Effective January 1, 2020, the two lodges will be consolidating into Deadwood Golden Star Lodge, No. 7 at Deadwood, South Dakota. The new lodge will operate under the By-Laws of Deadwood Lodge No. 7 until such time as a new set of by-laws is adopted after the date of consolidation. A recognition ceremony is planned for their first meeting under the new name on January 7, 2020, at the lodge in Deadwood. We will be presenting their new charter in a ceremony at this event as well. All Masons are encouraged to be part of this ceremony.


From the Deputy Grand Master [posted November 2019]

Last weekend I had the opportunity to spend some time with a Past Grand Master who may just be partially responsible for me being where I am today. I told him that I hadn’t seen him for quite some time. He told me that he didn’t feel like he was needed anymore. I was completely disheartened. I began thinking about the current state of Masonry in South Dakota. This is, of course, totally my opinion.
In the last number of years, the course of Masonry in this State has been if you are not with me you are against me. Lines in the sand have been drawn and we are expected to be on one side of the other. We have made it East vs. West, one “camp’s” ideas vs. another “camp’s” ideas, the comparisons can go on and on. I think we should ALL be very concerned about this line of thinking. In my humble opinion this is NOT Freemasonry. Those Masons that do not agree with the current course have been told their ideas and beliefs are wrong and that if they do not agree with the status quo their opinions just simply do not matter. Those Masons, in turn, simply go back to their home Lodge and hope that one day Leadership in the State will once again represent them. In the case of Past Grand Masters, some just feel like their experience and knowledge about Freemasonry in South Dakota doesn’t matter and some, at all expenses, feel like their way is the only way forward and refuse to let new or contradicting ideas even be discussed. We need discussion and input from all our living Past Grand Masters. They have been there. Some of them have been Masons for a lot longer than most of us in the current line and many in the very recent past. I am not saying the old way is always the right way, but their input and guidance should be just as important as the recent Past Grand Masters that seem to feel without them Masonry in South Dakota cannot succeed.
My Brothers, each one of us should feel like we are a part of shaping Masonry in South Dakota. We should not feel that if we stand up and speak at our Grand Lodge session that Brothers that do not have our same feelings about our journey forward are just going to snicker and make comments while we debate our points. Believe me, I sat in the Junior Grand Wardens chair last year during our annual communication and that is exactly what was happening, and I was appalled. I realize you and your Lodge may not be having issues but if a Brother or a Lodge stands up and says something at Grand Lodge, we should ALL be listening. What would happen if a new Grand Master decides the way you and your Lodge are doing things is wrong? Would you feel like proposing Legislation to protect your Masonic beliefs? Would you want your Brothers to, at least, listen to your reasoning?
There are, at least, two ways to look at most arguments that I have heard in my time as an elected officer. Both sides should be heard. Let our Brothers hear both sides and vote like Masons. If we continue to draw lines in the sand, we are bound to have some major issues moving forward. For those of you that don’t know me I am a listener and I really appreciate hearing both sides of an issue. I can then, in my own time, make my own decisions based on my own Masonic beliefs and upbringing. Ultimately, I am only one voice and I am confident of my Brothers’ ability to make the right decision for our Jurisdiction. If we are true leaders of this Fraternity, we should be listening to as many opinions and viewpoints as possible and taking all that into consideration when we formulate our programs for the upcoming Masonic year. Our Past Grand Masters and all the Masons who feel like their opinions don’t matter should know that I value your thoughts and ideas as I move forward in planning my year as Grand Master. Be wary of Brothers that have all the answers. We can only do this together. We MUST be able to find some common ground and come together as Masons, leaving politics and agendas by the wayside.

Jason D Swindler, Junior Grand Warden  


From the West [posted November 2019]

We, as a Fraternity, are struggling to define ourselves, increase our membership, and get into the public eye.
In the quest to keep our Lodge rooms full, some have determined that there is a problem: We have a decline in membership and we can no longer afford our buildings and programs that we have created. Therefore, we must increase our membership.
In problem-solving, there is a distinct set of steps we must follow. First, we must define the problem. Second, we must identify a root cause of why the problem is happening. Third, we should identify counter measures in order to eliminate the root cause. And finally we must establish procedures in order not to revert back to our previous situation.
In the above example, I believe we have skipped over the second step of identifying the root cause.
I am sure there are some of you who believe we have identified the root cause and since we are trying to get in the public’s eye, it might be assumed that the root cause was that we are not viable to the average “Joe” on the street and the community and that is what is causing us to not get new members. This is what has caused us to think we must become visible to the average public.
What if there is a simpler explanation? What if, we have gotten away from the basics of our institution and as a result not retaining the members we are getting who will then in turn bring in new members?
In philosophy, there is a principal called Occam’s Razor. This principle says that if there exist two explanations for an occurrence the explanation with the fewest assumptions is most likely the correct one.
In the current assessment of the problem, we are assuming that the institution requires big ornate buildings (or buildings at all) that requires large memberships to pay the bills and that we have to attract as many people to Masonry by being in the public eye.
Let me just throw something out there. If you look at how the fraternity is transferred from one generation to the next, it is through our oral traditions (the Attentive Ear, the Instructive Tongue and the Faithful Breast). First, by definition, as a Regularly Recognized Grand Lodge, we must operate within the Landmarks, then after that everything is passed down via our oral ritual. Our Constitution and By-Laws were created long after masonry had been in existence and they were created to satisfy our need to conform to societies expectations of a lawful organization.
So, our fraternity has existed for over 300 years and now we must define ourselves to the public? We must increase our membership though other means than by friend to friend? Are we not told in our ritual that, we are led to the door by a friend whom afterwards we find to be a Brother?
If we follow our Landmarks and oral traditions, and we look to those “Friends” that we believe are worthy of our great Fraternity and will benefit from our teachings then we may be able to increase our membership with “Active” Members. Realistically we all could bring one person a year into the Lodge. “Friend to Friend.” But, once we bring a “Friend” into the fraternity, we must deliver on what we exemplify in the three degrees.
As we go forward let us remember Occam’s Razor and look at the simple explanation. We have gotten away from the original intent of the Fraternity. Nothing more and nothing less.
Our Landmarks
Our Obligations
Our Ritual — A regular system of Morality, veiled in Allegory and illustrated by Symbols.
Our Working Tools
Our Tenants
Brotherly Love

Our Principles

The Four Cardinal Virtues

Jeffrey P. VanCuren, Senior Grand Warden  


From the South [posted November 2019]

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have 33,000 Masons in our state? Currently we have fewer than 5,000. In the state of Georgia they have more than 33,000. Now before you say, “Well they have a bigger population” you would be correct. The state of South Dakota has an estimated population of 892,631 of that population 50.3% of the population is male. The median age is 36.8 so that makes roughly 446,315 possible Masons. If the median age is so low, why don’t we have WAY more than 5,000 Masons in our state?
In 2018 the population of Sioux Falls was 181,883, yet we have roughly 1,000 Masons in Sioux Falls. Just giving out some facts so that you will understand what I’m about to say. I would like to challenge everyone reading this to go and find a man who you know could benefit from becoming a Mason. If you can accomplish this, we would have almost 10,000 Masons in our great state! I was always told by my family, that is important to replace yourself so I had children in order to ensure that my family name will live on for at least one more generation, think about that. If we don’t replace ourselves at a minimum, then Masonry will disappear altogether.
Membership is key to our survival. It makes zero difference if a man finds his passion in Blue Lodge, Shrine, Scottish Rite or York Rite. We ALL need to work together to grow our great fraternity, there is something for any man in Masonry, we just need to appeal to his interest.
Here is a secret that, of course no lady of a man wants to hear and no man wants to admit, if you can capture the Lady’s interest you will get the Mason. Get a family program going in your Lodge if it doesn’t seem to go well at first keep pushing, you may need to change a few things but keep trying. Think of inviting more than just Lodge members and their families, ask Lodge members to bring their friends and family. That would be a great way to introduce your friend to Masonry and for them to see how family oriented we really are.
Many families are busy and for a father/husband to spend that time away NEEDS to be worth it! If all your lodge does is open, read minutes, pay bills and then close it is going be very difficult to keep the interest of the younger generations. The younger generations need to be engaged, give them a reason to come to Lodge, and make them feel welcome.
Too often I’ve heard, “Well I didn’t fit in,” and that’s not the way Masonry should be. We, as Masons, teach Brotherly love which in the simplest form is friendship. (Side-note: Friendship costs you absolutely nothing). The simplest thing you can do to start attracting the younger generations is by having a Credit Card system for them to pay dues or buy tickets to whatever you have going on. The younger generation does NOT carry a lot of cash or write many checks. They do, however, pay for things online or with a credit card/debit card. So, if your lodge is still in the stone age of checks and cash, you are missing out.
I will get off the soap box now and wish every one of you a great set of holidays to come. May the Great Architect bless each and every one of you!

Dan Nace, Junior Grand Warden  


Zenith Lodge Pins Three

A 50-Year pinning ceremony was held Sunday, November 10, at Zenith Lodge #202 in Tulare. A potluck dinner was served at 6:00 pm. There were 20 people in attendance.

Pictured are Douglas Bjorke, District Master of District #9 of Masons of South Dakota; Gordon Marzahn, who was pinned by his wife, Cynthia Marzahn; Alan Steinheuser, who was pinned by his wife, Diane Steinheuser; Bernard Blume, who was pinned by family friend, Deb Schultz; Worshipful Master Zenith Lodge #202, Tom Schultz.

Unique tidbit: Gordon, Alan and Bernard were all initiated, passed and raised all on the same days in 1969. They all followed each other through the Masonic line, and at one point, they were Master, Senior and Junior Wardens of their lodge. Congratulations to a combined 150+ years of Masonic Service to the Craft.


Grand Lodge Capital Christmas Tree

The Grand Lodge will have a Christmas Tree in the state capitol again this year to honor our Masons. The theme for this year is “Home for the Christmas.” We will be decorating the tree with globes commemorating the nineteen governors who were Master Masons and listing what Governor they were (i.e.: 1st Governor), what years, and of what Lodge they were a member. Also as decorations we will be using the Masonic tools in lieu of normal items. Our fraternity was part of the early development of the Dakota Territory long before South Dakota became a state. We feel it is only fitting to display the impacts Masonry has had on our great state. This year we plan to highlight the fact that we have about 5,000 Masons in 70 South Dakota communities and we are your friends and neighbors. We will be decorating the Grand Lodge Capitol Tree on 24 November starting at 10:00 AM central time. If you are available and would like to assist you are welcome.


Brother Matthesen Honored

Historic Spearfish Lodge 18 presented a Fifty-Year Pin to Donald Matthesen at its November meeting. Pictured are the brothers attending the presentation by Harold Walker, District Master, District 17 and Charles W Nicholas, Master of Spearfish Lodge #18 AF&AM.

Masons gathered for 50-Year Presentation for Donald Matthesen


New Grand Treasurer/Secretary

The Grand Master has appointed Brother James J. Burma, Jr., to replace RWB Terry Knutson as Grand Treasurer/Secretary, effective November 1. Brother Jim will serve the interim period until Annual Communication in June; and can be reached at He is the Past Potentate of El Riad Shrine in Sioux Falls, has served as a member of our Finance Committee for the past three years, and operated a large business in the Sioux Falls area. Jim’s expertise and knowledge are welcomed. Thank you to RWB Knutson for his service to the Grand Lodge.
Congratulations, Jim.


Welcome back, Gwen!

Gwen Olson has replaced Kari Muller as the Grand Lodge Office Manager effective October 21. It is great to have her back in the office and moving forward with our programs of support to the Masons and Lodges within South Dakota. Thank you to Kari for her service to the Grand Lodge.
Congratulations, Gwen.


Bookkeeping Changes

The day-to-day bookkeeping will now be accomplished by our staff in-house with oversight by our CPA firm as our association with K&B Solutions has ended.


South Dakota Child Identification Program Appreciation Award

The South Dakota Child Identification Program Appreciation Award was given to Pauly’s Pizzeria & Sub Company, 1624 E Saint Patrick St., Rapid City, on August 30 for its continued support at our annual Outdoor Expo and Youth and Family Services Child Identification events.
Pauly’s got its name from the first store started by Paul Dadah (Brian’s father) back in the mid ’80s in Box Elder as a place for active duty personnel and employees from Ellsworth to grab a quick, cheap, and quality lunch without spending their lunch time running to Rapid City and back or “brown bagging” one. At one time there were four locations as Paul had left each of his children a store when he retired. This store on East Saint Patrick is the only one left and Brian has done a great job of keeping up with the industry.
For the past three years Pauly’s has donated free lunches to our volunteers at these Child Identification events. The menu typically is a six-inch sub with chips and a water one day and pizzas the next. Pauly’s typically provides at least 80 sub lunches and 20 pizzas per event.
Although Brian Dadah (the owner) is not a Mason, he certainly is a “Friend and community supporter of Masonry” and continues to support our endeavors in all that we do. Be sure to tell him “Thank You” the next time you stop in for a fresh sub or one of his famous Pauly’s pizzas.
We look forward to many more years with Pauly’s and its continued support.


Sharon Piper Honored

On October 12, Masons of Hill City gathered at Desperados Cowboy Restaurant for a luncheon celebration to honor Sharon Piper as the Masonic Lady of the Year for Tin City Lodge #112.
Sharon has had a long association in the Masonic family in the Eastern Star and Daughters of the Nile, having served on their national board and along with her dedicated service, she and her late husband, Charlie have been enthusiastic supporters of the many Masonic charitable programs for many years. On hand to honor Sharon and present her award was the Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota, Harold Ireland and his wife Edie, and the current Master of Tin City Lodge #112, Jack Welker.
The Masons of Hill City are currently sponsoring the Delta Dental Mobile Clinic, Bikes for Books with the Hill City Library and two high school scholarships every year.


Brother Goodhope Honored

On September 13, members of Joppa Lodge #120 (Hurley) gathered together in Sioux Falls to present Brother Robert Goodhope his 70-year pin. It just happened to be Brother Robert’s 96th birthday that day as well. Pictured standing from left to right: Donald Weeg, Secretary Wayne Petersen, Paul Scheidt, Wayne Davey, Charles Larsen, Bobby Goodhope (son), Worshipful Master Roger Petersen. Seated is Brother Robert with special friend Darlene Petersen.


Proclamations from the Grand Master

The Grand Master has issued the following proclamation regarding:

The Grand Master has issued the following proclamation regarding:

The Grand Master has issued the following proclamation regarding:

The Grand Master has issued the following proclamation regarding:

The Grand Master has issued the following proclamation regarding:


WB Clayton Sloat Honored

Brookings Lodge #24 honored WB Clayton Sloat, a World War II veteran, at the 2019 Fourth of July Parade in Brookings.


Grand Lodge Library Cornerstone Opened after 95 Years [posted August 2019]

On Wednesday, June 19, members of the Grand Lodge and the local community gathered at 415 South Main in Sioux Falls, the site of the former Masonic Grand Lodge Building and Library that now houses Architecture, Inc. The significant purpose for this gathering was to view the contents of the sealed time capsule from June 6th, 1924 that was part of the buildings cornerstone.
The history of the Grand Lodge notes that nearly 1,200 people attended the dedication of the Grand Lodge building that day in 1924. Then Grand Master Edgar Brookman proclaimed in part, “This magnificent building, when finished will reflect credit upon the fraternity at large. It will mark an epoch in Masonic history of South Dakota. The growth of our Order has kept pace with the splendid material development of our young state, and the future is big with promise.” The cost of the building was $75,000.
The Grand Lodge Building and Library were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The building was sold to Architecture, Inc., in 2000.
Dozens of items were removed from a box set in the building’s cornerstone, including a Masonic Bible, several editions of the Argus Leader newspaper and a typed copy of the address given during the time capsule ceremony 95 years ago. The time capsule also included a sealed envelope with stamps and coins, proceedings of the Grand Lodge, proceedings of appendant and concordant bodies, a local phone directory and the US flag.

Several more items were added for the next time the capsule is unveiled, including a Rapid City Journal newspaper article about the Grand Lodge’s hosting of the 2019 Conference of Grand Masters, several Grand Masters’ pins and other Masonic materials.


South Dakota Masonic Charities Announces New Director of Philanthropy [posted August 2019]

South Dakota Masonic Charities Foundation board chairman, Floyd Rummel has announced the selection of Susan Ricci as our Director of Philanthropy on a part time basis. Ms. Ricci is well known in the non-profit circles in South Dakota and has successfully secured foundation grants for SDMC in the past.
Ms. Ricci will be working with the SDMC board to establish a long-term growth plan to ensure that the foundation is able to provide the necessary funding for our charitable endeavors.
South Dakota Masonic Charities is a 501(c)3, which allows us to accept charitable donations under IRS rules. Currently, SDMC oversees the following charitable programs for the Grand Lodge: Masonic Model Student Assistance Training Program, better known as Save A Child, a program that trains education professionals across the state to help students at risk; South Dakota Child Identification Program which provides the most comprehensive child protection packets with all the information necessary to assist law enforcement in cases of missing children; The Masonic Scholarship program that provides funding for students’ secondary education; and one of our newest programs, the Matching Grant program, which provides local Lodges up to $500 in matching funds for local community service programs, provided that the Lodge generates local publicity for the donation.
South Dakota Masonic Charities is also developing criteria under IRS rules that would allow local Lodges or building associations to have their own 501(c)3 fund managed by the foundation to allow for deductible donations and grant applications for the restoration and preservation of their Masonic buildings.


Grand Master Wood Receives Award of Recognition from the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Board [posted August 2019]

The Memorial continues the tower restoration project this year on the 3rd through 5th levels. Along with repair and cleaning of a number of damaged stones on the exterior of the building, fabrication and replacement of new windows for the Memorial Hall is also underway. This will return to the original plan of the architect and will dramatically change Memorial Hall. For more information or to donate to the Memorial projects, log on to: .

Making the presentation was MWB Bob Conley, PGM of Michigan and immediate past chairman of the GWMNMA board of directors, along with MWB Mike Rodman, of the GWMNMA board.


GM Wears Dakota Territory Jewel for Cornerstone Ceremony

In a moving tribute at the 100th Anniversary rededication ceremony at Mount Theodore Roosevelt Friendship Tower, MWB Lowell Domier, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of North Dakota presented MWB Harold Ireland, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota, the Dakota Territorial Grand Master’s jewel to wear during the ceremony. The cornerstone ceremony was a recreation of the Dakota Territory Grand Lodge and had participation by both North and South Dakota Grand Lodges. This is believed to be only the third time this jewel has been worn by a Grand Master in South Dakota since 1889.

The Masonic Jewel was crafted in Ohio in 1885 for the 11th Anniversary of the Dakota Territory Grand Lodge and was presented at the annual communication that year in Fargo. The entire set of Grand Lodge jewels (18) were purchased for $152.

In 1889, the Dakota Territory Grand Lodge was divided into North and South Dakota Grand Lodges at the annual communication in Mitchell. MWB George Ayres, in his first act as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota was to present the Dakota Territory jewels to the Grand Lodge of North Dakota in what he called, “A spirit of fraternity and brotherly love.” These priceless jewels are kept in a locked vault by the Grand Lodge of North Dakota and are only displayed annually for special events.
Grand Master Ireland stated, “We certainly are grateful to GM Domier and the Grand Lodge of North Dakota for allowing me to wear and the Masons of South Dakota the opportunity to see this extraordinary piece of history.”


Historic First for the Grand Lodge of South Dakota [posted August 2019]

With the June 21st Installation of MWB Harold Ireland as Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota, history was made as it is the first time in SD Masonry that biological brothers have served as Grand Master. Masonry has been an important part of the Ireland family as their father, Forrest “Shorty” Ireland was a very well-known and active Mason in western South Dakota for 62 years. Currently there are eight active Masons in the Ireland family.

MWB Kenneth Ireland, 117th Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota; MWB Harold Ireland, 137th and current Grand Master; and WB Howard Ireland, Master of Mt. Moriah Lodge #155 in Kadoka.


Rapid City Lodge #25 Earns Lodge of the Year for Region “C” for 2nd Consecutive Year [posted August 2019]

At the annual awards dinner, held Thursday, June 20th during the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of SD, Rapid City Lodge #25 was honored to earn the distinction of Lodge of the Year for Region “C” for the second consecutive year.
To earn the title, Lodge 25 completed a number of mandatory and optional requirements, such as Raising Master Masons, Ritual Proficiency, visiting other Lodges, attendance at District and Grand Lodge meetings, community involvement and public presence, etc.
Region C comprises 21 Lodges in four Districts.

The Brethren of Lodge 25 with the Lodge of the Year Award: Br. Don Humes; WB Herb Cook; WB Bruce Crisman, Master; MWB Yancey Smith; WB George Bauder; MWB Lowell Holmgren; Br. Mike Lamb, SW.


Grand Lodge Installation of Officers for 2019-2020 [posted August 2019]

The Annual Communication was held in Sioux Falls at the Ramkota Hotel and Convention Center on the 21st and 22nd June. As part of the event the following Grand Lodge Officers were installed on Friday, June 21st to carry on the business of the jurisdiction into the future for the betterment of the Craft. The installing officers were MWB Mike Rodman, Installing Grand Master; MWB Dean Behrens, Installing Grand Marshal; MWB Kenneth Ireland, Installing Grand Secretary; and MWB Jack Welker, Installing Grand Chaplain.

The 2019-2020 Grand Lodge Elected Officers include: Harold Ireland of Piedmont as Grand Master, Jason Swindler of Mitchell as Deputy Grand Master/Grand Master Elect, Jeffery VanCuren of Rapid City as Senior Grand Warden, Daniel Nace of Sioux Falls as Junior Grand Warden, Terry Knutson of Sioux Falls as Grand Treasurer-Secretary.
The 2019-2020 Grand Lodge Appointed Officers include: John McKnight of Rapid City as Grand Chaplain, Kendig Bergstresser of Sioux Falls as Grand Orator, Tony Larsen of Mobridge as Grand Marshal, Dane Bloch of Sioux Falls as Senior Grand Deacon, LaMonte Morrow of Custer as Junior Grand Deacon, Alan Bishop of Hermosa as Senior Grand Steward, Todd Knutson of Whitewood as Junior Grand Steward, Timothy Helms of Sturgis as Grand Standard Bearer, Michael Lamb of Rapid City as Grand Pursuivant, Justin Stanek of Pierre as Grand Historian, James Frey of Avon as Grand Musician, and Brian Teller of Buffalo as Grand Tyler.
The District Masters for the ensuing Masonic year are Bradley Hazuka in District 1, Kyle Orth in District 3, Jeffrey Jung in District 4, Benjamin Johnson in District 6, Doug Bjorke in District 9, Larry Hornstra in District 10, Jack Frantz in District 12, Christopher Kaus in District 13, Matthew Miller in District 14, Mitch Kammerer in District 15, Vernon “Pete” Isaacs in District 16, and Harold Walker in District 17.


Civility versus Charity [posted August 2019]

Greetings Brethren,
Once again I am humbled to be appointed our Civility Ambassador to the Grand Lodge of South Dakota. I started during MWB Mike Rodman’s year when the Masons were a part of a national group called The Civility Project. After some disagreements, exploitations of Masonry for profit and a need for Masons to maintain individual identity while remaining a stand-alone nonprofit organization, the Masonic Family Civility Project was formed
MWB Russ Charvonia of California is the Chair. I’ve attended several online training programs and attend monthly online meetings with this group of Grand Masters from all over the world, where the discussion is always Civility. On their website is a “Tool box” we may draw from, as well as a speech scorecard to judge various presentations as they rate for staying civil. There was a first for this group with a “Call to Civility” convention at the George Washington Memorial this past spring, where several politicians were invited to test their knowledge of and learn how to be more civil in their interactions with one another. The next convention is scheduled for the spring of 2022. “How” we as a Grand Lodge choose to use these tools and to what extent is at the discretion of the Grand Master. We have presented several Civility Championship awards from across the state so far and are always open to more cases of a civil action to be recognized. My first tasking by Grand Master Harold Ireland is to define the difference between Civility and Charity. Not always so easy to differentiate, but I’ll try to help each of us learn.
Civility can be defined as “Claiming and caring for ones identity, need and beliefs without degrading someone else in the process” (from The Institute for Civility in Government) or “The action of working together productively to reach a common goal, and often with beneficent purposes” (from Masonic Family Civility Project definition accepted by Wikipedia).
Some of you may have read George Washington’s Rules of Civility, which he transcribed from an earlier publication by Francis Hawkin (1661) entitled Youth’s Behavior, or Decencie in Conversation Among Men. Or maybe you read Mark Tabberts “George Washington’s Rules for Freemasons in Life and Lodge” (2016). In this publication, Brother Mark “modernizes to today” several of the 110 Rules for Lodge Meetings and Refreshment by George Washington. Things such as not crossing your legs while in Lodge, picking your teeth at the table, speaking with a mouthful of food and keeping your forearms off the dining table are included. Or maybe you’ve read the English translated version of the original Hawkins book? If you have read any or all of them, hopefully you see, as I do, the common theme with all these rules — that being, the correct way to interact with one another verbally, physically, and emotionally, even when in disagreement.
Charity differs in that it is a gift that has a quantitative element, such as monetary, time, etc. There are many examples of Civility on the web these days, one of which I like is “Small Acts of Civility in the Workplace” to help your career at: No wonder we Masons are the right men to perpetuate Civility among each other and the world at Large.
We are the Masons.
WB Dave Meltz, Civility Ambassador  
Grand Lodge of South Dakota  


From the East [posted August 2019]

Brethren, it is a great honor to serve as Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota and I do not take the task lightly. It was a special day when I was installed as your Grand Master to have my wife and sons in attendance as well as two of my brothers, Kenneth, a Past Grand Master, and Howard, who has served in all the chairs of his Lodge and currently serves as the Worshipful Master. Having grown up in a Masonic household and understanding the benefits of Brotherly Love and Relief, I strive to live up to the standards set by my father as a true Mason. He belonged to the Blue Lodge, OES, Shrine, Scottish Rite, and York Rite. Even though I don’t belong to all of these organizations, I do have an understanding of each of their platforms and goals. To all the Brothers of this jurisdiction, I would like to say thank you for placing your trust in me as together we move the Craft forward. Some have asked me if there is any significance to my lapel pin this year and my answer is “Unity.” My goal is to unite Masonry across South Dakota and to strengthen our Fraternity. Each and every member can make a difference and collectively we will make a better organization. Our numbers have continued to decline and each one of us could take charge of bringing in a new member. Just think of the impact we would have in our communities if Masonry doubled in numbers. I am confident that each of us knows a good man that should be in our Fraternity. Take the challenge and visit with those folks about what Masonry means to you. Another area where I plan to work hard is in clear communications and transparency. Help ensure your Lodge and Grand Lodge have accurate contact information on all the Brothers of your Lodge so we can keep them informed. If you are not involved in your Lodge I ask that you become active and be the leader you were meant to be. We have a great deal of work to do and I accept the challenges but solicit your assistance with the numerous programs for the betterment of Masonry in this jurisdiction. I look forward to a successful and rewarding year as your Grand Master and thank you for the opportunity to serve.
Harold D. Ireland, Grand Master of Masons  


From the Deputy Grand Master [posted August 2019]

Fraternal Greetings! I would like to thank you all for trusting me to serve as your Deputy Grand Master for the ensuing Masonic year. I will admit it is somewhat daunting but with the support of a great Jurisdiction of Masons I have no doubt the next two years will be successful.
I would like to congratulate PGM Wood on his successful Grand Lodge Session in June. The electronic balloting was a major break-through for streamlining our voting and seemed to be well received by all in attendance. And, it was nice to see civil Masonic debate and conversation regarding the legislation that was proposed. It is important to hear both sides so we can make informed decisions on issues that will pave our path into the future.
I think it is important to remember that each one of us went through the same three degrees, as did our mentors and their mentors before them; yet our Masonic path is deeply personal and unique. We all have been guided by our own mentors and other respected Masons we have met along the way. For that reason, I realize that we should be careful when we have conversations with our Brethren and try to respect their path and what they have been taught. It might be different than what I know or think but that doesn’t necessarily make it wrong. We need to be open-minded and listen to our Brothers. If we say “Well, I’m right and you’re wrong*#8221; without having good Masonic debate and being open to at least consider another’s opinion I truly believe we are doing ourselves a great disservice. We all have the same basic teachings of Masonry but look at all the different ideas we have. As an elected officer it is my hope that we can start migrating towards the center instead of polarizing what we believe is the way forward. I might not be the one that gets this task accomplished but I strongly believe it is my duty to get things moving in that direction.
I look forward to working with MWB Ireland and the rest of the elected line this year. We are already busy planning and getting the year organized. Mark your calendar for the District Masters training and Leadership conference that will take place at Cedar Shore Resort in Oacoma on September 6th and 7th. Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts or ideas.

Jason D Swindler, Junior Grand Warden  


From the West [posted August 2019]

Welcome to my first article as a Grand Line Officer. I have spent about a month trying to figure out what I would actually write in this article. I am so humbled that I have been chosen by the fraternity for this position. I am a bit overwhelmed, as this is something I never sought or even thought would be in my future. So, I have decided that instead of promoting some agenda or program I would take this opportunity to pass on something that I find important in Masonry.
Brotherly Love: This is the first of the three Tenets of our Fraternity. By brotherly love we are taught to regard all mankind as one family and are bound to aid, support, and protect each other.
On this principle, Masonry unites men of every background and enables true friendship among those who might otherwise have remained unknown to each other.
This is one of my favorite lessons taught in Masonry and is taught to us in one of our first lectures as an Entered Apprentice. This lesson has special meaning to me, as when I was visiting Sturgis one year I met a Brother, who has become a very good friend to me. Without Masonry this would have never happened. Fast-forward two years from then, when I come back to Sturgis and met this Brother again. This time I have just found out that I have been accepted for a job and I am moving back to the area. My wife was coming back in a few weeks for her cousin’s wedding and we decided that she could drive a U-Haul. We asked this Brother if he could arrange some help for her to unload this U-Haul as I had to tie up loose ends at my previous job and start getting the house ready to sell. Eagerly, he accepted and said it was no problem. Thank goodness, he recruited 10-15 Brothers to help because, little did he know, it would be a 26-foot U-Haul with all my heavy stuff in it. In spite of all this, we are still good friends to this day. To creatively alter a song, “It ain’t heavy, I’m his Brother.”
I would now ask you to take a little bit of time and reflect on what Brotherly love means to you, and how Masonry has united you with someone who might otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance. Take this time to reach out to a Brother who you may have lost contact with and re-kindle that friendship that has become an integral part of your life.
Jeffrey P. VanCuren, Senior Grand Warden  


From the South [posted August 2019]

Greetings Brethren All! This being my first write-up in the Masonic Messenger, I would first like to say THANK YOU for the trust you have instilled in me as Junior Grand Warden for the 2019 year. They say that, “Time flies when you are having fun,” and they sure are right. As a Grand Lodge Representative, I am excited to be given the opportunity to attend seminars and visit several Lodges across the state that I have not yet had the pleasure of attending.
Speaking about visiting other Lodges, I would like to challenge everyone to visit a Lodge in your area, or a Lodge you wouldn’t normally visit. The fellowship of visiting other Lodges in our state is not only an excellent way to see how they are doing, and to see what they are doing to get or to keep members, but also a time-honored right of every Brother Mason. Also remember, that there is at least one Traveling Apron that can be claimed from whichever Lodge currently has possession. I happen to know that one currently resides at Unity Lodge #130 in Sioux Falls. For further information on the Traveling Apron, especially if you have never heard of it, consult your Lodge Secretary.
Lastly, I would encourage Lodges to participate in local community events. By getting out into the community you also gain members from your community. When they see your Lodge out in public they will ask or wonder what your Lodge is all about, which will give you an excellent chance of attaining some much needed new members. Be proud of who you are and what you represent, which could also help with getting new members.

See you in Lodge,  
Dan Nace, Junior Grand Warden  


Tidings from the Grand Treasurer-Secretary [posted August 2019]

Striving for efficiency. Just a reminder to Lodge Secretaries, please continue to work on updating your Lodge Members’ information in MORI. Home address and e-mail address are the most important pieces of information we can have. Valid e-mail addresses allow us to save on postage and stationery and still get information out to the Brothers in a timely fashion. Valid home addresses are valuable because we don’t want to spend additional postage mailing to invalid addresses. Also, the sooner a newly raised Brother’s information is entered into MORI, the sooner we can mail out the New Member Packet and welcome the Brother to the Craft. We appreciate your cooperation in helping us improve on efficiency.
To expand on the theme of my last article,”are we doing the right things", I would like to present a few more thoughts on the subject. I’ve seen numerous pundits in the news lately adamantly arguing whatever their position happens to be and citing”evidence" intended to make their argument appear indisputable. But, when even vague scrutiny of their so-called evidence is done, you find it is based on what they BELIEVE, and has no relation whatsoever to what is actually TRUE. Someone so obsessively convinced that what they believe is right, has only managed to add passion to their misguided efforts.
We have our work cut out for us and we have plenty of work to do. Let’s focus on the right things and make sure the foundations of our beliefs are supported by what is true.
Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. Are we living the tenets we espouse or only providing lip service to them.

Terry Knutson, Grand Treasurer-Secretary  


Grand Master’s 2019 Award of Merit Recipient [posted August 2019]

Grand Master DaNiel Wood presented the 2019 Grand Master’s Award of Merit to MWB Jack Welker during the Annual Communication at the Grand Master’s banquet in Sioux Falls on June 21, 2019. The Grand Master acknowledged the many Masonic activities that Jack has been involved in this year, including the Vice-Chairman of South Dakota Masonic Charities, the West River South Dakota Child Identification coordinator, and the Vice-Chairman of the 2019 Conference of Grand Masters planning committee.
The Award of Merit is designed to be given to that special Mason that “toils quietly in the quarry,” not worried about recognition, just serving Freemasonry and working for the betterment of the Craft. Congratulations MWB Welker!

MWB DaNiel Wood presents the Grand Master’s Award of Merit to MWB Jack Welker. Assisting him is MWBs Mike Rodman and Yancey Smith


Tin City Lodge #112 Installation [posted August 2019]

Officers for Tin City Lodge #112 in Hill City for the 2019-2020 year were installed on June 29. Very impressive Installing Officers made it an awesome day for the new officers. Installing Officers were SGW Jeff VanCuren, Installing Marshal; PGM Mike Rodman, Installing Master; PGM Yancey Smith, Installing Secretary; and Grand Chaplain John McKnight, Installing Chaplain. The Installation was well-attended, and the light lunch was enjoyed by all.
Since Jack has done this a few times, several Past Grand Masters were there to impress on him that he was to do it right this time.

Officers installed: Joe Klein, Marshal; Brian Ireland, Sr. Deacon; Jim Olson, Jr. Warden; PGM Jack H. Welker, Master; PM LaMonte Morrow, Tyler; and PM John Knapp, Secretary and Co-Master Builder for Region C.


GM Wears Dakota Territory Jewel for Cornerstone Ceremony [posted August 2019]

In a moving tribute at the 100th Anniversary rededication ceremony at Mount Theodore Roosevelt Friendship Tower, MWB Lowell Domier, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of North Dakota presented MWB Harold Ireland, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota, the Dakota Territorial Grand Master’s jewel to wear during the ceremony. The cornerstone ceremony was a recreation of the Dakota Territory Grand Lodge and had participation by both North and South Dakota Grand Lodges. This is believed to be only the third time this jewel has been worn by a Grand Master in South Dakota since 1889.

The Masonic Jewel was crafted in Ohio in 1885 for the 11th Anniversary of the Dakota Territory Grand Lodge and was presented at the annual communication that year in Fargo. The entire set of Grand Lodge jewels (18) were purchased for $152.

In 1889, the Dakota Territory Grand Lodge was divided into North and South Dakota Grand Lodges at the annual communication in Mitchell. MWB George Ayres, in his first act as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota was to present the Dakota Territory jewels to the Grand Lodge of North Dakota in what he called, “A spirit of fraternity and brotherly love.” These priceless jewels are kept in a locked vault by the Grand Lodge of North Dakota and are only displayed annually for special events.
Grand Master Ireland stated, “We certainly are grateful to GM Domier and the Grand Lodge of North Dakota for allowing me to wear and the Masons of South Dakota the opportunity to see this extraordinary piece of history.”


PM John Knapp Receives Master Builder Award [posted August 2019]

Past Master John Knapp’s name was submitted by Tin City Lodge #112 for the Grand Lodge’s Master Builder Award for his leadership and ability to inspire those around him to serve. The point system utilized by the Grand Loge resulted in a tie between John and Past Master Ardel Reder of Pasque Lodge #214. Accordingly, the Grand Master approved both as co-recipients of the award.
The framed certificates were presented at the 145th Annual Communication, but as John was not in attendance, it was presented to him at the next Lodge meeting. Following completion of the individual plaques from the Grand Lodge, John’s plaque was presented to him at the Tin City Lodge #112 Installation of Officers held on June 29th.
This is not only a very deserving award for a well-respected Brother, but also serves as a thank you to John for a great year of service.


Bro. West: 2019 LEO [posted August 2019]

Joseph D. West of Jeptha Lodge #121 was recognized as the 2019 South Dakota Lodge Education Officer at the 145th Annual Communication in June.
The South Dakota Grand Lodge Masonic Education Commission recognizes a Lodge Education Officer (LEO) each year. LEOs are selected from names submitted by their Constituent Lodges. The nomination form must be signed by the Worshipful Master and Secretary of the Lodge. The Commission bases their selection on originality of education topics presented at meetings, mentoring, and involvement in constituent bodies. The nomination form and criteria are available for download on the SD Grand Lodge website. The LEO selected has his name engraved on the plaque and that plaque is displayed at the recipient’s Lodge during that Masonic year.

Pictured with him are Larry Madsen, current Chairman of the SD Masonic Education Commission and Mike Lamb, the incoming Chairman of the SD Masonic Education Commission.


Sturgis Volunteer Fire Department Receives New Generator from Local Masons [posted July 2019]

Olive Branch #47 AF & AM of Sturgis and the Grand Lodge of South Dakota, through the South Dakota Masonic Charities Matching Grant program, presented a portable generator to the Sturgis Volunteer Fire Department on July 30, 2019.
Fire Chief Shawn Barrows has a plan for the new addition to the department. The generator will go on the heavy rescue truck, which has a light tower to illuminate the fire scene. The portable generator will allow for additional lights on the far side of a structure fire. Additional lighting will provide added safety for the department. The generator will also allow power for tools and other equipment.
Harold Ireland, Grand Master of Masons of South Dakota said, “Olive Branch #47 is the first Lodge in the state to apply for the Matching Grant program.” The South Dakota Masonic Charities administers the Matching Grant program which allows local Lodges to donate items to improve their communities.
Olive Branch #47 AF & AM has been a part of the Sturgis community dating back to 1883. Many times, the Masonic fraternity has contributed to local community projects. Olive Branch #47 participates with the SVFD serving the elementary school children at the annual fire safety week each fall.

Shawn Barrows, Fire Chief; Harold Ireland, Grand Master; Todd Knutson, Worshipful Master, Olive Branch #47; Dusty Barker; Bob Tesch, Secretary, Olive Branch #47; Harold Walker, District Master District 17


Upcoming Leadership Seminar [posted July 2019]

Learn to be a better leader! The Grand Lodge of South Dakota leadership training seminar will be held September 6-7, and the Cedar Shores Resort.
To register, print the following form, fill it out, and send it to the Grand Lodge office.

2019 Leadership Conference Registration Form

2019 Leadership Conference Agenda

Annual District Master Training
The Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of South Dakota will sponsor our Annual District Master and Leadership Seminar the weekend of September 6-7, 2019 at Cedar Shore Resort, Oacoma, SD. The District Masters Training session will kick off at 11:00am CST and cover the District Masters Resource Manual showing them the requirements of their duties as well as any updates and programs from the Grand Lodge. This will be a fast paced session with loads of information. Additionally, we will be covering areas of communication with OLP and MORI, as well as Lodge Management. We will be honored to have as Guest Presenter, Jordan Yelinek, Director of Member Services and Lodge Development from the Grand Lodge of California. We hope to see all the District Masters at this session to get the latest updates and participate with sharing of experiences.

Annual Leadership Seminar
The Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of South Dakota will sponsor our Annual Leadership Seminar the weekend of September 6-7, at Cedar Shore Resort, Oacoma, SD. The Leadership Seminar is focused on providing training and education for future Lodge and Grand Lodge Officers but is open to any Brother who would like to gain further experience in leadership. We will be honored this year to have as Guest Presenter, Jordan Yelinek, Director of Member Services and Lodge Development from the Grand Lodge of California. We hope to see all the Lodges send representation to this session to get the latest updates and participate to make your Lodge stand out across the jurisdiction. We have a block of rooms for Friday night, September 6th at the Cedar Shore Resort for $99, just call (605) 734-6376 and ask for the Grand Lodge rate. To register for the conference click here


50-Year Pin Awarded to Brother Twitero [posted July 2019]

Pictured is MM Tom Twitero of Sisseton Lodge #131 receiving his 50-Year Pin from his wife Marguerite. The presentation was held on July 15th at Rosalie’s Restaurant in Sisseton.

Also pictured congratulating Tom are two of his brothers, Harold Twitero (left) and George Twitero (right).


60-Year Pin Pesentation [posted July 2019]

On July 5, members of Custer City Lodge 66, A.F. & A.M. presented the 60 Year Pin to W.B. Dennis W. McDonald, Past Master of Chamberlain Lodge #56. The presentation by Custer City lodge was at the request of Chamberlain Lodge 56 because WB McDonald lived in Custer.
The presentation was made in W.B. McDonald’s home. W.B. McDonald appreciated receiving his pin. A wonderful time of sharing his Masonic journey was enjoyed by those present.

W.B. David Kline, Past Master and Junior Warden Custer City, Brother Leon Cordell, W.B. Dennis W. McDonald, Brother Jared Carson, WM Custer City Lodge, W.B Bill Patterson, Secretary, Custer City 66


Friendship Tower turns 100 [posted July 2019]

Historical tower rededicated in ceremony
By Jaci Conrad Pearson,Black Hills Pioneer

Actors portrayed Seth Bullock and Teddy Roosevelt at Saturday’s Mount Theodore Roosevelt Friendship Tower 100th anniversary rededication ceremony. Pioneer photo by Jaci Conrad Pearson

The presentation of colors was made by the Black Hills Backcountry Horsemen at the 100th anniversary rededication of Mount Theodore Roosevelt Friendship Tower. Pioneer photo by Jaci Conrad Pearson

A Masonic cornerstone rededication ceremony was performed at Saturday’s 100th anniversary rededication of Mount Theodore Roosevelt Friendship Tower. Pioneer photos by Jaci Conrad Pearson

DEADWOOD — More than 200 people gathered Saturday to help rededicate the Mount Roosevelt Friendship Tower on its 100th anniversary.
The tower is here thanks to a friendship forged more than 100 years ago by two highly influential historical American West figures. Desirous of creating a memorial to his friend’s life, as well as a place where people could view the wide open spaces that they both held dear, Seth Bullock, famous Deadwood sheriff, built the Mount Roosevelt Friendship Tower in 1919 as a tribute to his friend of many years, President Theodore Roosevelt.
Saturday’s celebration closely emulated the original dedication that was held 100 years ago on July 4, 1919, with then-Gov. Peter Norbeck presiding.
Deadwood Mayor David Ruth, Jr., welcomed the crowd, thanked those involved in performing the program, and introduced fellow guests of honor.
“I’d like to take this opportunity, first, and foremost, to thank you for joining us in enjoying the beautiful views of the Friendship Tower and being here to rededicate this fantastic monument, the hidden jewel of our community,” Ruth said.
Other featured speakers included South Dakota Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden, Black Hills National Forest Supervisor Mark Van Every, and the Rev. Michael Johnson.
“One hundred years ago, a group of people gathered in this very place for the dedication of a tower they dubbed Mount Roosevelt,” Rhoden said. “I imagine that day was a bit different than today. None of them would have had cell phones. No one would be snapping photos to post on Facebook. They wouldn’t have been thinking about the air conditioning that waited for them in their homes or cars after standing outside in the sun. But a few things would be similar between that day and today. The value of community. A sense of state pride. And a spirit of friendship.”
Rhoden said the last century has seen Mt. Roosevelt become an icon and a symbol of pride for Deadwood.
“The peaceful walk and scenery brings outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs to the community and bolsters the historic feel of the area. The result is what we see before us,” Rhoden said. “Today, we remember the incredible story of friendship that made this monument possible.”
Van Every drew many parallels between the two friends, including the fact that both men believed in the spirit of the west, both were ranchers, both had political ambitions, both were soldiers, and both were conservationists.
“We all have the privilege to be able to continue to enjoy these lands that these two men had the foresight to set aside for the use and enjoyment of all the American people,” Van Every said. “Their friendship endured all the way up until both of their deaths and about six months after President Roosevelt passed away, this tower was dedicated and then three months later, Seth Bullock passed away. So, an enduring, lasting part of their friendship and a lasting legacy to the things they did for our country and for the national forests.”
Johnson encouraged all in attendance to follow the example of Roosevelt, whom he called a great American who loved humanity more than class and righteousness better than peace.
“Whenever the creed of commerce shall seek to lay violent hands upon the natural resources of the earth, for selfish purposes, to the exclusion of the common seal, help us to remember Theodore Roosevelt’s great fight for conservation,” Johnson said. “He loved these mountains and forests. May we ever love them, too and preserve them for the generations to come.”
“May this monument help us to carry such a banner of friendship in the portion of this great country that God has given us the honor in which to reside,” Johnson said.
A Masonic cornerstone rededication ceremony was performed by the Grand Lodge of South Dakota, as both Bullock and Roosevelt were Masons and Roosevelt had an affinity for attending cornerstone dedication ceremonies.
“It is said that Bullock and Roosevelt first met in 1892 on the prairie outside of Medora,” said Grand Master of Masons of North Dakota Lowell Domier. “That chance meeting was the beginning of a friendship that lasted over 30 years, including military service, political campaigns and appointments, family time, and a passion for conservation and western heritage. When Roosevelt appointed Bullock to forest supervisor of the Black Hills National Forest, Bullock’s office was on the second floor of the Deadwood Masonic Temple.”
Also part of the program were the Banner Girls of Leeds, N.D., who performed the National Anthem and God Bless America, as well as the Black Hills Backcountry Horsemen who performed the presentation of colors.
In 1919, the Society of Black Hills Pioneers provided financial support to build the Mt. Roosevelt Friendship Tower. In 1966, the society donated the tower to the United States Forest Service. In 2005, the tower was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Many partners and agencies worked together to pull the ceremony together, including the Business Improvement District of Deadwood, U.S. Forest Service, Deadwood Chamber of Commerce, Deadwood Historic Preservation, Masons of South Dakota, Northern Hills Recreation Association, Lawrence County Search & Rescue, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, and the cities of Deadwood and Lead.


Bro. Carey Honored [posted June 2019]

Brother Irvin J. Carey of Resurgam Lodge #31 in Mitchell was presented with his 60-Year Pin on June 11 at Resurgam Lodge.

Bro. Irvin J. Carey, RWB Jason Swindler, WM Lennie Tucker


Sunrise Lodge #211 Awards Bicycles to Local Youth [posted June 2019]

Sunrise Lodge #211 in Aberdeen sponsored and delivered a Reading For Bikes program to the six schools (Grades K-5) in the Aberdeen School system. This wonderful and rewarding program ran the entire school year under the supervision of each school’s principal.
Each grade (K-5) received two bikes (1-boy and 1-girl), for a total of twelve bikes given to each of the six schools. The 72 bikes, presented during the last week of school, were awarded to students for reading books to further their education.
In this video from the Aberdeen News, you can see action from the giveaway at O.M. Tiffany Elementary School and hear more about why the program is so important for the community (1:09).


Grand Lodge Scholarship Program [posted June 2019]

In all our Masonic teachings, we are admonished to contribute to the relief of our Brothers and their families. The Grand Lodge Scholarship Program is one of the several ways we put these words into action. This year I am pleased to report we have awarded 5 scholarships for students to attend college, university, or technical school. The five lucky recipients are: Jasmine Ferguson, Andrew Klingaman, Madelaine Neely, Lilly Norton, and Olivia Vermeulen. Their college choices include Augustana University, Dakota Wesleyan University, Lake Area Technical Institute, and SD School of Mines. We wish each and every one of these students all the best as they journey forth on their roads to knowledge.
If you have a relative who will be attending college in the future, remember to encourage them to apply for the Grand Lodge Scholarship. Application details are available on the website.
Grand Treasurer-Secretary Terry Knutson


50-Year Pin Presentation [posted June 2019]

Brother Perry DePoy of Eagle Butte Lodge #172 in Eagle Butte was presented with his 50-Year Pin on May 20 at Eagle Butte Lodge. Brother DePoy’s pinning had a very good turnout, with family members, Lodge brothers and District Master Wade Kopren in attendance. Despite the chilly day (and the chilly lodge until the furnace caught up!), it was a great evening of catching up and visiting amongst members.

L-R: Mike O’Neal, Robert L. Booth, Terry O’Neal, Walker Rose, Andrew Schuler, Darla DePoy (daughter), Joe Rose, Joseph Balderas, Robyn DePoy (daughter-in-law), Chuck LeCompte, Shannon DePoy (son), Hailey DePoy (granddaughter), Perry DePoy, Ardis DePoy (wife), Ben Booth, Travis Spiel, Case DePoy (grandson), Robert H. Mader, Robert B. Mader, Dan Booth, Wade Kopren


Worshipful Brother Eide Honored [posted May 2019]

WB Allen Eide of Jeptha Lodge #121 was presented with his 50-Year Pin from PGM Virgil Andersen, with Allen’s wife Elaine looking on, at the annual Recognition Banquet held May 5 at Jeptha Lodge #121 in Hudson, SD.