Mobridge Bike Rodeo

The Mobridge Masonic Bodies (Mobridge Lodge No. 164 AF&AM, Mobridge York Rite Bodies and Mobridge Shrine Club) gave out free hot dogs, cookies and pink lemonade to all participants, parents and helpers of the 2016 Mobridge Bike Rodeo held outside the Mobridge Masonic Temple on May 12.

WM Tony M. Larsen, WB Rod Simons, and WB S-T (Pro Tem) Bruce Redding


WM Tony M. Larsen of Mobridge Lodge No. 164 had the honor and pleasure of escorting his son, Tyler Larsen, to the One Day Conferral of the Degrees of Freemasonry hosted in Rapid City on April 23. WM Tony was able to literally raise Brother Tyler to the sublime degree of Master Mason. This was a wonderful experience for a father and son, who are now also Brothers!

WM Tony M. Larsen with his son, Brother Tyler Larsen


Masonic Scholarships

Two 2016 Mobridge Masonic Scholarships were presented to Kaytlin Gilbert and Rachael Springfield, both of Mobridge Pollock High School, by WB Rod Simons, WB S-T (Pro Tem) Bruce Redding, and WM Tony M. Larsen of Mobridge Mobridge Masonic Lodge No. 164 AF&AM on May 13. The recipients were selected from 17 applicants from two area schools.

WB Rod Simons, Kaytlin Gilbert, WB S-T (Pro Tem) Bruce Redding, Rachael Springfield, and WM Tony M. Larsen


Jurisprudence nomination

Donald A. Gray

MWB Donald A. Gary was born on October 6, 1937 in Sioux City, IA. MWB Gray was initiated an Entered Apprentice on April 6, 1967, Passed to a Fellowcraft on May 5, 1967 and was Raised a Master Mason on June 1, 1967, all in Elk Point Lodge No. 3, of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota. MWB Gray has held several offices in Elk Point Lodge No. 3: Junior Warden 1973, Senior Warden 1974, and served as Worshipful Master in 1975. He was elected to the Board of Trustees for the term of 1976-1978. He was elected secretary of Elk Point Lodge No. 3 in 1985 and is still serving in that capacity at this time.
MWB Don Gray served the Grand Lodge A.F.&A.M. of South Dakota as District Master in District No. 1 in 2008-2012. MWB Gray was elected Junior Grand Warden in 2012, Senior Grand Warden in 2013, Deputy Grand Master in 2014 and Grand Master of Masons of South Dakota in 2015.
MWB Don Gray is a member in Good Standing in the South Dakota Lodge of Research.
MWB Don Gray is also very active in the Appendant Bodies of Masonry and is a member of the Yankton Valley Scottish Rite 33o Mason and he is a member of the Lodge of Perfection Advisory Committee from 2006 through 2015; Wise Master of Rose Croix and is a member of Abu Bekr Temple in Sioux City where he is a member of the Sahibs Unit and served as its president in 1994 and 2003. MWB Gray is also a member of El Riad Shrine Temple in Sioux Falls. MWB Gray is a member of Juno Chapter #44, Order of the Eastern Star.
MWB Don Gray was nominated by the Brothers of Elk Point Lodge No. 3.

Trustees nomination

Glendon Rice, Jr.

My name is Glendon Rice, Jr. I was born on November 7, 1962 in Erie, PA. I attended school there until l started college. I attended the University of Alabama from 1980 - 1982. I decided that I needed a break from school and as my dad would say, I got a real job. 34 years later I have decided that the break is now over and I am currently enrolled as a full time student at SDSU. My degree should be completed in the spring of 2018.
As I said, I took a 34 year break between my sophomore and Junior years of college. During that time I was employed by the Federal Aviation Administration as an Air Traffic Control Specialist. My job required me to move to Sioux Falls in 1987 and I have been here since. I retired from that position in 2013.
My roots now run deep, I married a farm girl from Geddes named Dawn and our three children have all been born in Sioux Falls. Dawn is a member of Ashrama Temple #97, Daughters of the Nile. Our oldest son is Matthew, a senior at Lincoln High School and is the Master Counselor of Liberty Chapter of DeMolay. My youngest son is Lanty, a sophomore at Lincoln High School and is the Senior Counselor of Liberty Chapter of DeMolay. My oldest/youngest daughter is Arianna, a 7th grader at Patrick Henry Middle School and the Junior Princess for Bethel #1, Jobs Daughters International.
I was initiated, passed, and raised in Unity Lodge #130 on February 28, 2004. I have been the Junior Steward, Junior Deacon, Senior Deacon, Tyler, Junior Warden, and Senior Warden of my Lodge. In 2008-09 I had the privilege to serve my Lodge as Worshipful Master. From 2009 to 2012 I served as a trustee of Unity Lodge. When MWB Ronald Lockwood decided not to seek re-election to the position of Secretary/Treasurer of our Lodge in 2013, I was elected to that position and have been fortunate (?) to be re-elected each term since.
On a District level I have been the Custodian of the Work for District #3 since 2011.
I am a Scottish Rite Mason, with my membership in the Sioux Falls Valley of the Orient of South Dakota. I just finished my year as Venerable Master of the Lodge of Perfection. My valley has seen fit to recognize me with both the honor of being a Knight Commander of the Court of Honor (Red cap) and with being coroneted as a 33rd Degree Scottish Rite member. (White cap) I serve the Orient of South Dakota as the Director of the Work for the Ceremony of Investiture for the new Knights Commanders of the Court of Honor.
I am a member of El Riad Shrine with memberships in the Big Band, Highlanders, and Roadrunners Units.
I served Liberty Chapter of DeMolay as the chapter dad and I am currently serving on the advisory council of Liberty Chapter. I am also the current Associate Bethel Guardian of Bethel #1, JDI.
Glendon Rice Jr has been nominated for Trustee of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota by Unity Lodge #130 and Trinity Lodge #200.

Trustees nomination

Steve Green

I may not have the extensive Masonic pedigree that many others that currently serve as Trustee, have served as Trustee in the past or are running for Trustee at this point. What I do have is a passion and commitment to ensure the Grand Lodge of South Dakota remains a viable and sound institution in South Dakota. I am running for Trustee as I have been appointed and served at the pleasure of 3 Grand Masters on the Finance Committee, one of those years as the Committee’s chairperson. I have assisted in delivering a workable budget while serving on the Finance Committee and found ways to stretch the operational dollars the Grand Lodge receives each year. I have done this through cost cutting, identifying efficiencies and worked with the Grand Lodge and its officers to implement those measures.
I was affiliated with St. John’s Lodge #1 in March of 1999, I was initiated that day, passed in April of 1999 and then raised to Master Mason in September of 1999. I served as the Tyler for 1 year, Junior Deacon for one year, Junior Warden for 4 years, Senior Warden for 2 years and Master on 2 separate occasions for a total of 5 years. I currently serve as the Chaplain of the lodge. I am also a member of the Yankton Valley of the Scottish Rite.
I have also had the privilege and honor to serve in the Grand Lodge as Grand Standard Bearer for 1 year and Senior Grand Deacon for 2 years. I have served for 3 years on the Grand Lodge Finance Committee and currently serve as its chair. I also currently serve on the Life Membership Committee.
I have lived most of my life in South Dakota in Herrick, Burke, Dupree and Springfield. Jolene and I were married nearly 29 years ago and have 2 grown children. I am active outside the lodge as well. I have been a Springfield Chamber of Commerce Member for over 20 years, served as its President and on the Board of Directors. I currently serve as the Treasurer and have held that position for over 8 years. I currently serve as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Springfield Development Corporation, am serving my 2nd term on the Springfield City Council and spent 11 years on the Bon Homme School Board, 3 of which I served as the chairman. When in Dupree and Burke I also remained active in civic affairs. I have served on the Board of Deacons and the Board of Trustees for the United Church of Christ in Springfield. My wife and I currently attend and are members at Calvary Baptist Church in Yankton where I serve on the Adult Ministries Leadership Team.
Even though I have served in some leadership roles my intent and passion is to remain active in doing the work. I think my community service and involvement with my local lodge and the Grand Lodge shows a positive established track record.
WB Green has been nominated by St. John’s Lodge #1.

Junior Grand Warden nomination

Harold D. Ireland

Worshipful Brother Harold Ireland was born in Kadoka, SD in June 1949. He grew up on a family ranch and farm southwest of Belvidere, SD where he learned the value of hard work and getting things done. Harold attended country grade school and graduated from Kadoka High School in 1967. He graduated from Black Hills State University with a Bachelor of Science in Math and Psychology. Additionally he accomplished the coursework for a Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology. Harold is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College and holds a Master of Science degree in National Security Strategy from National Defense University.
During college years, Harold worked various jobs to put himself through school. He met his future wife Edith while at college and they were married in 1969. He joined the Army National Guard in 1971 and served as a part time soldier. He received his commission through Officer Candidate School and was commissioned in 1976. Harold continued to serve with the Army National Guard both part time and full time until 1989 when he went on active duty. He remained on active duty until his retirement in 2007 at the rank of Colonel. His thirty-six and a half years of military experience from Private through Colonel have provided him a wealth and depth of experience in working with people.
Harold was Commander of seven different units from Platoon size through Battalion size throughout his career giving him a massive amount of experience in leadership positions. His last command was a Combat Heavy Engineer Battalion consisting of six Companies containing 803 soldiers and approximately $40 million dollars worth of equipment. Harold has also held management positions within the Headquarters, Department of Army and Joint Chiefs of Staff. As Chief of Force Management Branch, he was responsible for the coursework and training of managers across the United States to properly integrate changes to Army units. Harold was selected from the field to attend National War College where he also endeavored to accomplish a Master of Science degree. As a Joint Chiefs of Staff Officer, he was an Advisor to the Joint Plans, Training, and Education Director. Later in his career, he served as Chief of Force Integration Division at the Pentagon in charge of 41 personnel that managed all authorized changes across the Army. His office was responsible for all authorizations on Army Table of Equipment and Allowance documents. He has the reputation as a team player and a builder of teams and units. His leadership and management experiences serve him well as a Masonic Leader.
Harold was Initiated 08/27/2008, Passed 10/08/2008, and Raised 11/01/2008 all at Tin City Lodge #112 in Hill City, SD. He served a Worshipful Master of Tin City Lodge #112 twice (2011-2013). With the assistance of the Brethren a 15% growth was witnessed in the lodge during his tenure as master. Under his leadership, Tin City Lodge #112 received Lodge of the Year selection within District 16 both years and won Lodge of the Year at Grand Lodge in 2014. Tin City Lodge not only grew under his leadership but participated and hosted approximately twenty events and activities each year within their community. That coupled with the hard work of the Brethren has taken the Lodge from barely surviving to a very strong and productive organization recognized within the Masonic Family and the community of Hill City, SD.
He served as Junior Grand Deacon for Grand Master Charles Gilson and the Grand Lodge of SD during 2013-2014 Masonic year. He was selected to the position of District Master for District 16 in 2014. Currently serving in the capacity as District Master, Harold is responsible for assistance to seven lodges to include; Rapid City Lodge #25, Custer City Lodge #66, Battle River Lodge #92, Harmony Lodge #110, Tin City Lodge #112, Mt View Lodge #161, and Mt Rushmore Lodge #220.
Harold and his wife Edith are very active in supporting the Child Identification Program and have participated in numerous events throughout the area as well as fundraising activities. With their experience and training, they very successfully supported the Child Identification events held in the Black Hills area.
WB Harold is a member of the Scottish Rite in Deadwood as well as very supportive of Masonic events across South Dakota. He is always willing to help whenever asked by another Brother.
Harold and his wife Edith reside near Piedmont, SD. They have two raised sons, six grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren, which they cherish. Harold remains active in many civic organizations. Worshipful Brother Harold is nominated for Junior Grand Warden by his home Lodge of Tin City #112 and several others throughout the state.

Junior Grand Warden nomination

Reid P. Jensen

Worshipful Brother Reid Jensen was born in Sioux Falls, SD in December 1974. As a life-long resident of Sioux Falls, WB Reid attended Roosevelt High School and was active in many extracurricular activities. WB Reid attended and excelled at South Dakota State University. While at State, WB Reid held many campus, statewide and regional leadership positions within Air Force ROTC and other student groups. It was at this time WB Reid met his wife to be - Misty. They were married in May 1999 and live in Sioux Falls with their three children. WB Reid is a Vice President at Great Western Bank in Sioux Falls; Misty is a Pharmacist at Avera McKennan Hospital.
WB Reid is the third generation of his family to enter Freemasonry through Unity Lodge #130 in Sioux Falls. He was initiated in July 1998, passed in August 1998 and raised in September 1998 all within Unity Lodge. WB Reid sequentially held all positions in the Lodge from Junior Steward through Master of the Lodge from 1999 to 2005. WB Reid further served Unity Lodge from 2005 - 2008 as a member of Unity's Board of Trustees. WB Reid served the Grand Lodge when appointed as Grand Sword Bearer in 2008 - 2009 and Senior Grand Deacon in 2010 - 2011. Additionally, WB Reid served two terms as District Master for District 3 in 2008 - 2014. WB Reid also served as Chairman of the Life Membership Committee in 2011 - 2014.
WB Reid was elected to a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the South Dakota Masonic Foundation in June 2009 and again in June 2012. In 2011, WB Reid was elected to the position of President of the South Dakota Masonic Foundation and continued to serve for three consecutive years until being term limited in June of 2014.
WB Reid was initiated into the Scottish Rite, Valley of Sioux Falls in 1999.
In November 1999, WB Reid became a Noble of Shriners International and joined El Riad Shrine in Sioux Falls. WB Reid is a member of the Fife and Drum Corps, Horse Corps, Culinary and Classie Auto Units. WB Reid was a member of the El Riad Membership Committee beginning in 2005 and served as the committee's Chairman from 2012 - 2014 carrying on the observance of 11 consecutive years of positive membership growth. WB Reid was El Riad's Masonic Relations Chairman 2009 - 2011 and Midwest Shrine Association Parade Co-Chairman in 2014. WB Reid is an active member of the El Riad Circus Committee since 2004 and served as its Chairman in 2015 - 2016. The Imperial Potentate appointed WB Reid to the Imperial Donor Relations Committee in 2015 — present.
Proud to nominate WB Reid for Junior Grand Warden are his home lodge, Unity Lodge #130 and others from across the state.

Grand Treasurer-Secretary nomination

Brookings Lodge No. 24 nominates M.W. Brother Doug McFarland for the office of Grand Treasurer-Secretary of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota.
M.W. Brother McFarland is a native of Connecticut and has resided in Brookings for over 29 years where he was a faculty member at South Dakota State University. He retired as Distinguished Professor Emeritus in 2013. Doug and his wife Sandy have 2 adult sons, Nathan and Ian. Doug is a 4th generation Mason (at least) and was Raised in Brookings Lodge No. 24 in 1994. He is a Past Master of his Lodge and served as Secretary for 12 years.
M.W. Brother McFarland also served as Grand Historian of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota for 12 years and served on the Commission on Masonic Education (Chairman for several years) and served on the Grand Lodge Scholarship Committee. He was named Grand Treasurer-Secretary by Grand Master Donald Gray in the fall of 2015 to complete the term of MWB Dennis Robinson.
Doug is a past presiding officer of the Brookings Chapter, Council and Commandery York Rite bodies. He is a member of and presided over the Pasque du Prairie No. 182 York Rite College, the South Dakota Lodge of Masonic Research, the Knights of the York Cross of Honor, the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests, the Charlie Stroebel Council No. 247 Allied Masonic Degrees (MN), and the Universal Craftsmen Council of Engineers No. 79 (MN). Doug is currently the Grand Governor of South Dakota of the York Rite Sovereign College. He is a member of El Riad Shrine, the Red Cross of Constantine (currently Puissant Sovereign), Yankton Valley Scottish Rite (33o Inspector General Honorary), the Southern California Research Lodge, the Scottish Rite Research Society, and the Masonic Society.
He is a Past Grand Master of Cryptic Masons of South Dakota (2005-2006), Past Grand High Priest of Royal Arch Masons of South Dakota (2008-2009), Past Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of South Dakota (2009-2010) and Past Grand Master of Masons of South Dakota (2014-2015).


Section 2.44A: Revenues

The Revenues of the Grand Lodge shall consist of the following Fees:

1. For Dispensation to form a new Lodge, $50.
2. For Charter for new Lodge, $25.
3. For Charter for new Lodge, if no dispensation shall have been granted, $75.
4. For each Entered Apprentice initiated in any chartered Lodge, $5.
5. For each new Master Mason raised in any chartered Lodge, $10 membership fee for each of the degrees of Masonry..
6. And dues for each Master Mason reported in the annual returns of a Lodge, as prescribed in Section 4.11 of the By-Laws.
7. Any sums realized out of the property of Dissolved Lodges.
8. The income from any money or property given or devised or belonging to the Grand Lodge.
9. All property whatsoever, to which the Grand Lodge is, or may become, entitled.

Rationale: This will allow us to generate some additional funds for the Grand Lodge to be used for efforts and programming to increase our membership as well as do a better job getting our organized adequately recognized to attract more members.

Section 4.79: General Fees

The fees for the three Degrees of Masonry shall not be less than $45. In addition to the regular fees required by Constituent Lodges, each Mason Raised shall contribute $5 for the George Washington Masonic National Memorial and a $10 membership fee for each degree of Masonry.

Rationale: This is a complimentary change to ensure there are no conflicts in the code.


Grand Lodge Scholarship Recipients

The Grand Lodge of South Dakota is proud to announce the recipients of our scholarships for the upcoming year:
Luke L. Weber from Arlington, will be attending South Dakota State University
Garrett L. Snook from Midland, will be attending Black Hills State University
Chase A. Klingaman from Mitchell, who is attending Augustana University
Gina M. Elmore from Rapid City, who is attending South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
The Grand Lodge A. F. & A. M. of South Dakota awards several scholarships of $1,000 each year to South Dakota residents who plan to attend a public or private college, university or technical school in South Dakota. Successful candidates demonstrate financial need, scholastic capability, and have a family connection, either by blood or marriage, to a member of the Masonic fraternity, either living or deceased. Scholarships are granted for one year, but may be applied for each year for a maximum of five years. Applications are available at this website.


Custer City Lodge #66 Presents Scholarships

The Worshipful Master, his officers, and the Scholarship Committee of Custer City Lodge #66 were well-received and further light was spread at the Custer High School Awards Night, May 18. Nine graduating students and three past graduates received a portion of the benefits of the Donald Strickland Memorial Fund and with that came the allegory of a Slinky by Brother and Mayor Jared Carson. Also presenting was Brother Dave Kline. Each recipient was awarded $1,000 for a total $12,000 and a Slinky!
Custer City Lodge is honored to have its fraternal roots buried deep in the fabric of its town, and as long as morality prevails our Lodge will have a presence.
David Gies, Scholarship Committee President


Sixteen Master Masons Raised

Sixteen new Master Masons were raised on April 23 at a One-Day Masonic Festival sponsored by Rapid City Lodge #25 and Mt. Rushmore Lodge #220.
Candidates came from all over western South Dakota, and the Degrees were performed by a stellar cast from area lodges. The day started early with a Chamber of Reflection for all Candidates, and finished with the Virginia Charge given by Brother Ales Van Curen. Welcome Brothers, we look forward to seeing you in Lodge.

New Master Masons raised at the One-Day in Rapid City. Also pictured is Worshipful Brother Bruce Crisman, Jr., Warden of Rapid City #25.

Brother Brian Cole, WB Jay Darrow and Brother Mike Lamb take a break from Degree work


Grand Lodge Officers Attend 163rd Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota

Grand Master Don Gray and Deputy Grand Master Mike Rodman attended the 163rd Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota April 8th thru the 9th, 2016 in Bloomington Minnesota, where they renewed old friendships. The Grand Lodges of South Dakota and Minnesota have a long, close relationship with each other.

RWB Mike Rodman, SD DGM; RWB John Studell, Minnesota DGM; MWB Don Gray, SD GM


Lily Lodge #62 Presents 50- and 70-Year Pins

On Sunday, April 10, Lily Lodge #62 Harrold/Blunt held a special ceremony to honor long time Masons, an outstanding citizen award, and honor ladies.
PM Gary Johnson presented a certificate of outstanding citizen award to Mr. Don Bergeson for his service to the Blunt community. He then introduced WB Stan Schwellenbach, District Master #13, who presented 50 year pins to Brothers Roger Husted and Marvin Jensen, whose wives were present to pin the Brothers. Unable to attend was 50-year Brother C. Ray Perry who lives in Arizona. The Grand Lodge of Arizona made presentation at his home.
Brother Schwellenbach presented a 70-year pin to Brother Wayne Pool, whose family was present. His son, Randy, and grandson, Jeff, formally pinned Brother Wayne.
Brother Pool recounted many good times in lodge during his many years of service.
Grand Marshall Darrol Bjerke was introduced and gave a short talk on Masonic Brotherhood.
All of the ladies present were given flowers from the Brothers of Lily Lodge.
Entertainment was furnished by Caroly Fouts, playing the accordion, and Mr. Taylor Cowan sang and played the guitar.
Sixty-eight members and guests were present to enjoy this happy occasion. A lunch of sandwiches, cake, ice cream, and drinks concluded the afternoon festivities.
Gerald Johnson, WM


Shearer Earns 60-Year Masonic Pin

Crescent Masonic Lodge #210 in Wall held a recognition dinner and ceremony for G. Lavon Shearer to present his 60-Year Masonic member medal, February 11. The award was presented by District #15 Master Doug Thorson and Deputy Grand Master Mike Rodman. Shearer was initiated October 12, 1955, passed on November 10, 1955; and raised on December 8, 1955, at Crescent Lodge. Shearer gave a recap of his years in Masonry and how Masonry has impacted his life, along with what the brothers of his lodge meant to him. Shearer recalled being raised in 1955 together with his father. The Shearer family participated in Shearer’s recognition. Later the evening, Shearer had the honor, along with his son Grant Shearer, Worshipful Master of Crescent Lodge #210, to raise his grandson, Garrett Shearer. Lavon Shearer is the fifth man from the right in the front row.


Grand Commander Stanley Schwellenbach’s Easter Message

Here is a link to Grand Commander Stanley Schwellenbach’s Easter message


Mason’s National Day of Celebration

Schedule of Events: Thursday, September 8, 2016
Mason’s National Day of Celebration

8:00 a.m.Motorcoach pickup begins at Rapid City hotels
9:45 a.m.Arrive at Mt. Rushmore National Memorial
10:00 a.m.Mason’s Event at The Amphitheater at Mt Rushmore
NoonBox lunch and free time at Mt. Rushmore
1:30 p.m.Depart Mt Rushmore for Rapid City hotels/FREE TIME
4:00 p.m.Motorcoach pickup begins at hotels for evening events
4:30 — 6:30Cocktails, Chuckwagon Dinner and Cowboy Music Show
7:00 p.m.Williams and Ree Comedy Show
8:30 p.m.Return to Hotel

As the nation celebrates the 75th anniversary of the completion of Mt. Rushmore this year, we have selected one day, Thursday September 8th, the Thursday after Labor Day as the Mason’s Day of Celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Mt. Rushmore and the Masonic influence in its creation. We will gather at the amphitheater at the Mt. Rushmore National Memorial on September 8th at 10:00 AM. We are thrilled to be working with South Dakota’s own Producer Michael Shann, best known for producing the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games Closing Ceremony. Please join us to celebrate these great Mason’s accomplishments and our Masonic heritage; as we show another generation of Masons, and the entire world, that we Masons too, Do Big Things! Do not Miss this Historic Event!
Package #1 Transportation, meals, and entertainment $130.00 per person.
(This package includes bus service from your hotel to Mt. Rushmore Thursday morning and back as and again from your hotel to the Rapid City Civic Center for dinner and entertainment and back.)
Package #2 Meals and Entertainment (no transportation) $95.00 per person.
(This package includes a box lunch at Mt. Rushmore, Fort Hayes Chuckwagon Dinner and Cowboy Show and Williams and Ree Comedy Show.)
We have special room rates and you can book your transportation and meals packages at or call 1-800-400-6194.


From the Deputy (Posted April 2016)

In a generous outpouring of Commitment to the South Dakota Child Identification Program, South Dakota Lodges and Masons donate enough funds to replace ALL of the SDCHIP Equipment in South Dakota with new equipment.
The generosity and commitment of South Dakota Lodges and Masons never ceases to amaze me and these last few months have been no exception. It was just in the last publication of the Masonic Messenger that MWB Jack Welker issued a plea for funding to upgrade the worn-out SDCHIP equipment through a special program from our supplier, EZ Child Id.
The cost per device was $1,600 and because of the great out-pouring of support, all 19 devices were replaced! This represents over $30,000 in new equipment for the SDCHIP program. Now all South Dakota Masons can take pride in the fact that this new state of the art equipment will further enhance our image as the premier provider of child safety information in South Dakota. This investment in new equipment should serve the lodges well over the next several years and allow us to keep the per child cost to the lodges at the current $5 amount.
The South Dakota Child Identification Program provides, in my opinion, the best public face of Masonry that we do. I commend those who pioneered the SDCHIP program and had the foresight to make it our most successful Grand Lodge charity program. The positive image of Masons working side by side with local law enforcement to protect South Dakota’s children from harm has been wonderful for our fraternity.
I send my sincere thank you to everyone involved in the fundraising efforts and want to voice my pride in this fraternity stepping up and tackling the big issues with unselfish class. This is just another example of why I am so proud to be a Mason in South Dakota!
Mike Rodman, Deputy Grand Master  


From the South (posted April 2016)

Greetings from the Junior Grand Warden. As of this writing, we are inside of 3 months away from the 2016 Grand Lodge Session. It hardly seems as if nearly a year passed by, until looking back to reflect on everything has been done and is being worked on. Your elected Grand Lodge officers have met with and discussed topics with Masons from over 30 states, including all of those from the Rocky Mountain and Central Conferences. Prior to these conferences, we met as officers, and after much feedback from the Masons of South Dakota, came up with a modest list of topics to tackle. We took that list with us as we traveled, and determined how other jurisdictions were dealing with those topics. We looked at what we believed to be the best solutions and methods, and are now working hard towards implementation. These exciting developments will begin rolling out in the near future and continue for the next several years. Each and every one of these is to improve the Masonic experience from the moment a prospective candidate begins his journey all the way through to members with many years under their belt.
It is our hope to begin making announcements on a few of these developments at this year’s Grand Lodge. One thing which I can convey now is that the Grand Lodge website will soon begin to house a number of items to use for Lodge education. Through our friendship with the Grand Lodge of Iowa, I have been given permission to begin using their significant resources for inclusion on our website and available to all the Masons of South Dakota. It will contain study and reference material for a new Brother taking his degrees, links to educational and informative videos, and a full compendium of materials for general use and to provide further light. This has been a highly requested item by Masons across the state and it will soon be a reality.
One thing I want to make everyone aware of is just how much work is done by the Grand Lodge and how much goes on behind the scenes. It would be extremely difficult to convey the effort put in by everyone involved in order to keep the train on the tracks. Those Brothers who are Lodge regulars, or officers know exactly the kind of workload required to keep your local Lodge functioning, now take that and imagine doing it for the state and you’ll begin to get the idea. I’ll be very frank when I say that I’ve heard on more than one occasion; what does the Grand Lodge do for us? I’ll also be very frank in saying that the answer is a considerable amount. I will however be the first to admit that we don’t always do a great, or even good, job of communicating those efforts. This is improving, will continue to improve, and with more visible results. Consider for a moment how at your local Lodge a Brother who doesn’t get involved in the workings may think that very little gets done, but the reality is far different. The same can be said of the Grand Lodge. Get involved, ask an officer what’s happening, and of course, pay attention to the changes. I guarantee that the Grand Lodge works extremely hard — often behind the scenes — to help South Dakota Masonry be its very best.

DaNiel D. Wood, Junior Grand Warden  


South Dakota Masons Honor Susan Ricci

In a special breakfast ceremony on March 3, Masons honored long-time South Dakota Grant writer Susan Ricci for generating thousands of dollars for the South Dakota Masonic Foundation and its charities through her grant writing efforts. Susan has also helped with writing fund-raising letters and designing fundraising events for South Dakota Masons. While Susan has left South Dakota for the west coast, she will still be available to help the South Dakota Masonic Foundation in its grant-writing efforts.

WB Harrold Ireland, District 17 DM; Brother Reed Foster, MWB Jack Welker, SDMF Vice President, Honoree Susan Ricci, WB Herb Cook, Master Rapid City Lodge #25, and RWB Mike Rodman, Deputy Grand Master.


Cedar Lodge #124 Recognizes Three 60-Year Members and One 50-Year Member

On March 13, Cedar Lodge #124 in Belle Fourche held a special ceremony to recognize four very important Brothers’ milestones. Brothers Wayne Wolff, James Jennings, and James Green were presented 60-Year pins and Brother Charles Millar was presented his 50-Year pin in a special ceremony officiated by WB Lon Carrier, Master of Cedar Lodge #124 and WB Bill Collister, District #17 District Master. DGM Mike Rodman participated with the reading of the 60-Year poem. Family members were in attendance and helped in the pinning of the awards. A cupcake reception followed the ceremony.


South Dakota Child Identification Program reaches 20,000 Child Milestone

On February 13, South Dakota Masons, along with the Grand Lodge elected officers, gathered at the Rapid City Civic Center for the Annual Black Hills Sports Show and Outdoor Expo SDCHIP Event; as the South Dakota Child Identification Program (SDCHIP) reached a milestone with the 20,000th child identified in South Dakota since the Masons began this program in 2008.
Representatives of all of the SDCHIP partner organizations were on hand to take part in the celebration, including the South Dakota Academy of Physicians’ Assistants, the South Dakota Dental Association, The South Dakota Sheriffs’ Association, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley, and The South Dakota Highway Patrol.
State Senator Terri Haverly presented South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard’s proclamation declaring the day “Child Identification (CHIP) Day” in South Dakota. Rapid City Councilman Ron Weifenbach also presented a proclamation from Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender. SDCHIP State Chairman Larry Clark presented Towi One Feather, the 20,000 child to go through the SDCHIP program a Walmart gift certificate for $150.00.
Several heads of the volunteer groups that assist the Masons at these SDCHIP events were on hand as well, including Stacey Collins, head football coach of the SDSM, whose football players have been instrumental to event success at many SDCHIP events and Black Hills Sport Show organizer Jim Scull, who has been a long-time promoter of the SDCHIP program at the Sport Show.
The South Dakota Child Identification Program is a charitable program of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota and individual events are funded and sponsored by local lodges. The program provides a packet of information that includes: tooth impressions, a still photo, fingerprints, video, and DNA sample FREE OF CHARGE to parents for safekeeping in the event of a lost or abducted child. It is everything necessary for law enforcement to use in issuing an Amber Alert.
Thank you to every lodge and every Mason who have been a part of South Dakota Masons reaching this incredible milestone.

Deputy Grand Master Mike Rodman, our 20,000 SDCHIP Child, Grand Master Don Gray and SDCHIP Chairman, Larry Clark

State Senator Terri Haverly presents Governor’s proclamation

Rapid City Councilman Ron Weifenbach presents Mayor Allender’s proclamation.


Tidings from the desk of the Grand Treasurer-Secretary

The crucial role of effective mentoring of our Masonic candidates appears to be becoming more appreciated. Many Masonic newsletters, websites and.... The Masonic Information Center of the Masonic Service Association of North America ( recently published an excellent pamphlet on this subject entitled: Providing a Helping Hand to New Members. This was written by Brother Bert Bouma of Montana and was originally published in the April 2015 issue of the Montana Freemason. The Grand Lodge of South Dakota also has a booklet entitled Guide for the Mentoring of New Masons written by the South Dakota Commission on Masonic Education. This may be downloaded from this website. There are, of course, many other sources.
I recently had the privilege and honor to be asked by my W. Master to mentor a new Entered Apprentice Mason. He is doing the traditional “long-form” catechism and is progressing very nicely. I have also planned discussions on key Masonic topics to break up the weekly sessions and increase his knowledge of and appreciation of our Order.
These mentoring sessions are very important in other ways as well — for both of us. For me, I’ve met a new Brother who I would not likely have met otherwise. We are getting to know each other better each week and I hope we will become lifetime friends.
As mentors serve as liaisons for the Lodge, with proper care, this can help strengthen the candidates’ ties to the Lodge brothers/friends. As bonds of fellowship between new and more established brothers flourish, the Lodge will benefit by increased activity, enthusiasm and attendance. Additionally, mentoring will help ward off losses of both our new and senior members.

PGM Douglas C. McFarland, Grand Treasurer-Secretary  


In Memoriam

Forrest H. (Shorty) Ireland passed away on Sunday, February 21, at the Kadoka Nursing Home. He turned 93 years old on February 10. Funeral services will be held Saturday February 27 at 2:00 PM at the Kadoka Auditorium. His complete obituary can be found here.


SD to Host Conference of Grand Masters

I am happy to report that the Grand Lodge South Dakota has been awarded the host jurisdiction responsibilities of the Conference of Grand Masters of North America for 2019 in Rapid City! This was a great team effort and I really want to thank Julie Jensen, Executive Director and Tyson Steiger, Manager of Convention sales for the Rapid City Convention and Visitor’s Bureau for all of their dedication and hard work in preparing and presenting our proposal. They are absolute professionals. Of course, the Mt. Rushmore mascots were a great help too. We competed against six other Grand Lodge jurisdictions. This is truly an honor for Masonry in South Dakota!
Mike Rodman
Deputy Grand Master/Grand Master Elect


WB G. Lavon Shearer Awarded 60-Year Masonic Member Medal

Crescent Masonic Lodge #210 in Wall held a recognition dinner and ceremony for WB G. Lavon Shearer to present his 60-Year Masonic member medal on Thursday, February 11th. The award was presented by District #15 Master Doug Thorson and Deputy Grand Master Mike Rodman. WB Shearer was initiated on October 12th, 1955; passed on November 10th, 1955; and raised on December 8th, 1955 at Crescent Lodge #210 in Wall.
WB gave a moving recap of his years in Masonry and how Masonry has impacted his life, along with what the Brothers of his lodge meant to him. WB Shearer recalled being raised in 1955 together with his father.
Later the same evening WB Shearer had the honor, along with his son WB Grant Shearer, Worshipful Master of Crescent Lodge #210, to raise his grandson, Brother Garrett Shearer.

(L-R) RWB Mike Rodman, Deputy Grand Master; WB Herb Cook, Grand Pursuivant; WB G. Lavon Shearer, 60-Year Member Medal recipient; MWB Kenny Ireland, Past Grand Master; MWB Jack Welker, Past Grand Master; and WB Harrold Ireland, District 16 Master

The Shearer family participating in WB Shearer’s 60-Year Masonic member recognition.


Resurgam Lodge #31 Holds Masonic 1-Day Festival

On Saturday, January 30th, Resurgam Lodge #31 held a Masonic 1-day Festival to bring three new Brothers into Light and join our craft. Two of the Brothers had previously gone through both the Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft degrees, but were present to observe the ritual, with all three then going through the Master Mason degree. WB James Van Oort served as WM for the Entered Apprentice, WB Craig Robbins as WM for the Fellow Craft, and WB Doug Papendick was WM for the Master Mason degree. WM Jeff Larson and his officers opened, called up, and closed the day. RWB DaNiel Wood, Junior Grand Warden, was present to represent the Grand Lodge of South Dakota. The day concluded with Fellowship in the Lodge social hall. A hearty welcome to our new Brothers; Jamie Sloan, Andrew Mefford, and Jon Lentz!


Grand Lodge Officers Attend 159th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska

RWB Mike Rodman, Deputy Grand Master and RWB Yancey Smith, Senior Grand Warden represented the Grand Lodge of South Dakota at the 159th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska in Kearney, NE, February 4-6th, 2016. Also in attendance was South Dakota SGIG Jeff Larson. South Dakota and Nebraska Grand Lodges have had a long history of warm fraternal relations and the bonds of friendship grew even stronger during their 159th Annual Communication.

RWB Mike Rodman, Deputy Grand Master and RWB Yancey Smith, Senior Grand Warden share a moment with MWB John Maxell, Grand Master of Nebraska at the 159th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska in Kearney, Nebraska on Friday February 5th. Grand Master Maxell had just cleaned up after receiving a pie in the face as a fundraiser for Nebraska youth groups.

South Dakota Masonic Lodge of Research Mid-Year Meeting

The South Dakota Lodge of research met Saturday, January 9, 2016, at the Pierre Masonic Temple following the Grand Lodge Officers Mid-Year Meeting. Despite the bitter cold and winter driving conditions, there was a great turnout for the day. The Lodge was opened in due form by PGM Jack Welker, WM of the South Dakota Masonic Lodge of Research.
MWB Welker presented lodge members with the booklet from the George Washington Masonic Memorial Association entitled George Washington’s Rules of Civility. Although not available on Saturday, the SDM Lodge of Research is also distributing to its members two booklets from Dwight Smith, PGM of Indiana, entitled Whither Are We Traveling? and Why this Confusion In The Temple? Although these booklets were written over 50 years ago, they are just as relevant today. These booklets were suggested reading in a presentation by WB Mark Tabbert, Director of Collections at George Washington Masonic National Memorial, at the Rocky Mountain Conference of Grand Lodges this past summer. MWB Michael Johnson, Grand Master of Wyoming, embraced WB Talbert’s appeal and has distributed these booklets to lodges across Wyoming. The SDM Lodge of Research will soon have them distributed throughout South Dakota as well.
The featured speaker was Illustrious Jeff Larson, Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the Scottish Rite Orient of South Dakota. SGIG Larson gave an excellent presentation on the value of using the Blue Ritual Book for Lodge Education. The SDM Lodge of Research voted to join forces with the Grand Lodge Commission on Masonic Education to update The Counselor’s Golden Book of Masonic Information and the companion booklets, Masonry, a Preparatory Message; Masonry, The Entered Apprentice; Masonry, The Fellowcraft; and Masonry, The Master Mason.
The lodge was closed by proclamation of Grand Master Gray and a wonderful meal was served by Uncle Matt and the Brothers of the Pierre Lodge.

Illustrious Jeff Larson SGIG of the Scottish Rite Orient of South Dakota, MWB Don Gray, Grand Master of AF & AM in South Dakota, and MWB Jack Welker, Past Grand Master and Worshipful Master of the SDLR.

Lodges were anciently dedicated to King Solomon, as he is said to have been our first most Excellent Grand Master, but speculative Masons dedicate theirs to the memory of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist. Since their time, there is represented in every regular and well-governed lodge, a certain Point Within A Circle: the point representing the individual brother, the circle the boundary line of his conduct to God and man, beyond which he is never to suffer his passions, prejudices, or interest to betray him on any occasion. The circle is bordered by two perpendicular parallel lines representing these saints, and upon the top rest the Holy Scriptures.
This should recall to you a portion of the Entered Apprentice degree. The reference to St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist, and remembrance of them to most has been over looked.
These two saints have a significant place in Masonry, and, which has, in many instances, been lost. There was a time and still may be an occasion where these two are lifted up and remembered by the craft.
Their days are marked on most calendars, and are June 24th for St. John the Evangelist, and December 27th for St. John the Baptist (Baptizer). Some lodges today celebrate these days within their lodges by some form of recognition, be it a short ceremony of reading the significance and influence within the lodge. Some include with the ceremony a similarity of recognizing Most Worshipful Brother George Washington.
Today, hardly a Freemason gives a thought to the origin of St. John’s Day in Winter, or knows his celebration of St. John’s Day in midsummer. For some, just days on a calendar, and a reference within the degree work.
But we, as speculative Masons, should recall the tenets of the lessons presented to us. Lessons of the strictest morality and are presented to us to inwardly digest them and to utilize them in our transactions with all mankind. These lesson in their utilization set us apart in our dealings with all human kind.
It has been within my memory that these saints were remembered by a special event. But in our haste, we have failed to take the time to recognize their significance within the craft. It might be possible that in understanding their guidance, we could remember, “there is represented in every regular and well-governed lodge, a certain Point Within A Circle, the point representing the individual brother, the circle the boundary line of his conduct to God and man, beyond which he is never to suffer his passions, prejudices, or interest to betray him on any occasion. In going around this circle we necessarily touch upon these lines, as well as upon the Holy Scriptures, and while a Mason keeps himself thus circumscribed, it is impossible that he should materially err.”
Reverend Charles H. Walker, Deacon
Lodge of Masonic Research Chaplain


To our friends and family members,
Dale Andersen, age 101, passed away shortly after midnight, December 15, at the Sioux Falls Good Samaritan Center. You may know that Dad had suffered a broken ankle when he fell in his StoneyBrook Assisted Living apartment in Brookings on October 29. He spent a week at Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls before being transferred to Good Sam for rehabilitation therapy. His pain was intense, the expectation for recovery poor, so he decided to receive hospice care to provide pain relief and comfort to fill out his remaining days. We thank the staff of Good Samaritan Center and Compassionate Care Hospice for their dedication to his comfort and well being during the time he was in their care.
Funeral arrangements now in place call for a visitation with family present at Johnson - Henry Funeral Home in Arlington, SD beginning at 5:00 PM this Friday, December 18, followed by public Masonic and Eastern Star funeral rites at 7:00. A church service will be held at Hetland Congregational Church at 10:30 on Saturday, December 19, followed by interment at the Hetland cemetery. Following the interment, a luncheon will be served at the Hetland Legion Hall.
A full obituary will be available soon at
Thank you for your caring, concern, good wishes and prayers for Dale and his family over the past years. He, and we have always been so appreciative of your friendship and support.
Virg, Vi, and Myrna Andersen

New Rules for Raffles

Responding to recent changes in South Dakota laws, Grand Master Don Gray has issued a proclamation governing games of chance and raffles. Below are links to the relevant documents (these are also provided on this Web site’s Resources/Download page):

   Grand Master’s Proclamation on Games of Chance

   Raffle Procedures

   Raffle Request: Secretary of State

   Raffle Special Dispensation Form

   Raffle Notification: County Attorney

The South Dakota Child Identification Program and the South Dakota Masonic Foundation are trying to raise $30,000 by February to replace our current aging SDCHIP computer equipment. As you know, the South Dakota Child Identification program has been successful beyond our wildest dreams and we are fast approaching the 20,000th child in South Dakota protected by this program!
We secured the initial funding for the child identification machines through various grants including the John T. Vucurevich Foundation, the South Dakota Community Foundation, local Masonic lodge fundraising programs and generous Masons. However, after many years of heavy use, wear and tear and the rigors of transportation they are just plain worn out, and, coupled with the need to upgrade technology in the fingerprint scanners, video imaging and programs software, trading in these units for our negotiated special refurbishment price of $1,600 per machine is the most prudent option. This special offer is only available to us until February 2016.
We are asking each lodge to consider a donation in any amount your lodge is able to give and each Brother to donate what you can to the cause. Please send your donations to either the Grand Lodge SDCHIP fund or the South Dakota Masonic Foundation earmarked “SDCHIP equipment upgrades.”
To have the Masons continue serving South Dakota children and their parents as the premier Child Identification Program in South Dakota, we need to have properly functioning equipment at each event. Please help us to continue providing this much needed service to our local families.

Thank you,  
Jack Welker, PGM  
SDCHIP West River Co-coordinator, SDMF Board Member  

From the West (posted December 2015)

It occurs to me that men join Freemasonry for a variety of reasons. Some join for the sense of fraternity, the chance to socialize and enjoy the company of other like-minded men and have some fun. Some join to be a part of one or more of the many charitable endeavors sponsored by the Craft and its subordinate bodies. Some men join to learn the philosophy and wisdom Masonry imparts and to start down the path to enlightenment.
However, there are any number of organizations a man could join to meet these needs. So why join Masonry; what makes our Fraternity different from other groups?
I believe the difference is that Freemasonry places much more emphasis on self-improvement. I think the underlying goal, the ultimate purpose, is to make a man better. Not better than others, but better than he would have been otherwise. Freemasonry urges men to love all mankind, be tolerant of others and to become closer to his God. We all know the Golden Rule; “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. ” That to me is the essence of Freemasonry. We are bound to love, aid and cherish all mankind, and are especially obligated to help each other, our widows and orphans.
I would like to share an interesting story that may help illustrate this obligation. In 2003, I had the opportunity to drive with a Brother to Portland, OR for the General Grand Chapter of Eastern Star. As we left Rapid City on October 30, the snow was starting to fall. At the top of Livingston Pass in Montana, we changed a flat tire in a snowstorm. We stopped in Bozeman to get the tire fixed. Every tire place was busy, and said it would be morning before they could get the tire fixed.
I think it’s important to note here that Noel was wearing his father’s Masonic ring, and I was wearing a Masonic baseball cap. We were standing in the tire shop, discussing our options, when the tire guy told us he could fix the tire, but wouldn’t have time to put it back on the van. A short time later he came back and asked for the van keys, so he could run the van in and put the tire back on. When he was done he brought the keys out and we walked to the counter to pay, but the clerk had no ticket. She walked to the shop to check, came back and informed us there was no charge. We eventually made it to Portland and had a great time.
I don’t know if the fact we were Masons had anything to do with the service we received, but we went from “We can’t fix the tire until tomorrow” to “No Charge” in a short time. It may have just been coincidence, or pity on stranded travelers, but it may have been more.
These types of stories abound within the Masonic Fraternity. We strive to better ourselves by helping others. If possible, I always try to do business with a Mason. I know the work will be done right and I will get a fair price. Not because I’m a Mason, but because HE is.
We have an obligation to be better every day, in every way. What have you done today to improve yourself and make your world a better place?

Yancey Smith, Senior Grand Warden  

Tidings from the desk of the Grand Treasurer-Secretary

As you read this missive we will be half-way through the Masonic Year and plans are being made for the 142nd Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota on June 16, 17, & 18, 2016, at Cedar Shores Resort, Oacoma. At that time elections will be held for the Junior Grand Warden, Senior Grand Warden, Deputy Grand Master-Grand Master Elect, Grand Treasurer-Secretary, a member of the Jurisprudence Committee, and a member of the Board of Trustees. Please be thinking of who might be good candidates to fill these important positions — and have demonstrated the necessary skills and leadership characteristics appropriate for these several roles.
Encourage qualified Brothers to seek nomination for these positions. Nominations must be in writing (electronic form preferred) including a Masonic biography and a 5 x 7 inch photograph (jpg preferred) and filed with the Grand Lodge Office “not later than 90 days before the first day of the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge.” Nominations “may be made by any Constituent Lodge or by any member of the Grand Lodge.”
It has now been about four months since I was appointed as your Grand Treasurer-Secretary. With the able tutelage of PGM Denny Robinson, Past Grand Treasurer-Secretary, and Gwen Olson, Office Manager, I feel that I understand most of the procedures involved in operating the Grand Lodge. Every week I learn more and more and am comfortable in this new role and I am enjoying it.
We have a number of individuals who have served the Grand Lodge Office for many years and need to be acknowledged. Among them are W. Brother Richard McCauley and his wife, Beverly, who have been invaluable in their dedication to the operation of the Grand Lodge Office, sharing their experience and knowledge, and filling in when necessary during transition periods in the past several years. We can’t thank them enough.
We are greatly thankful for the dedication of Gwen Olson and her assistant, Kathy Decker, for the smooth operation of the Grand Lodge Office. We are in very good hands.
Please be safe in your travels this winter.

PGM Douglas C. McFarland, Grand Treasurer-Secretary  


The Donika Project (Posted December 2015)

On Monday, October 19, the Yelduz Temple of Aberdeen, the James Valley Shrine Club of Huron, and Donika Bjorke, a sophomore at Huron High School and the 2015 Patient Ambassador to Shriners Hospital, presented the Shriners Hospitals of the Twin Cities and Chicago with the proceeds from the raffle dubbed “The Donika Project.” A total of $30,416 was donated, with $14,416 going to the Twin Cities Shriners Hospital to be used towards its Outreach Clinic Program and $16,000 going to the Chicago Shriners Hospital to be used towards the purchase of a Handicare Lift System.

Pictured are Father George Parmeter, Potentate of Yelduz Temple and Donika Bjorke (center) presenting the check to Jennifer Sutch of the Twin Cities Shriners Hospital at and Jim Herman, a representative of the Chicago Shriners Hospital (right)

The Donika Project was the first of its kind fundraiser for the Shriners Hospitals. There were just 500 tickets at $100 each. The prizes were a 2015 Dodge Challenger, a big screen TV, a new recliner, and $100. The tickets sold fast, the car was paid for early, and now the proceeds have been donated.

A special thanks go to the many sponsors of the project including: James Valley Shrine Club of Huron; Yelduz Temple of Aberdeen; Shriners International of Tampa, Florida; Iverson of Huron; Slumberland Furniture of Huron; Wal-Mart of Huron; Brian Davidson State Farm Insurance of Huron; Make-It-Mine Design of Mitchell; Brandt Family Foundation of Fargo, North Dakota; Redfield School System of Redfield; South Dakota Developmental Center of Redfield; Ricky Sammons, Rick Bowen, the Rapid City, Pierre and Eastern Railroad of Huron; Dakota State Fair Speedway of Huron; Signature Plus of Huron; Creative Printing of Huron; and The Plainsman of Huron.
Thank you also to all of the Huron area community who supported this project.
This fundraising effort will continue through the end of 2015 with 100% of your tax deductible charitable contribution going towards the Outreach Clinic Program at the Twin Cities Shriners Hospital. Donations may be sent to: The Donika Project, c/o Yelduz Temple, 802 S. Main St., Aberdeen SD 57401.


From the Deputy (Posted December 2015)

As we all look forward to the joy the holidays bring as we spend special time with family and friends, rekindle old acquaintances, and reflect and rejoice on the blessings life has bestowed on us, let us also reflect on the virtues that all Masons try to practice. I wish all of you the very best of the Holiday Season and give thanks for being a part of this great fraternity and the special bonds of friendship I have been blessed to share with my Brothers throughout South Dakota and beyond.

One of the duties Grand Master Don Gray has given me this year is that of Civility Ambassador for the Grand Lodge of South Dakota. Grand Master Gray has asked us to promote civility both in our Lodges and in our communities. As most of you are aware, the Conference of Grand Masters of North America embarked on an appropriately timed nationwide civility program almost two years ago. Because of the work of the Civility Task Force of the North American Conference of Grand Masters, we now have an entry on Wikipedia for the definition of “civility.” You can check it out at Please check out their toolkit and see how you can get started on the civility effort in your own lodge. It is exciting to see Masons, once again leading the dialogue on civility. Here is a quote from the father of Masonry in the Untied States:
Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.
George Washington’s Rules of Civility
You can order your own free copy of George Washington’s Rules of Civility at

Mike Rodman, Deputy Grand Master  


From the South (posted November 2015)

Picture yourself driving to a chain restaurant that you’ve been looking forward to visiting. As you approach, you notice that the green areas are overgrown, the building is in need of painting and repair, there is stray trash scattered about, and it looks like they may even be out of business. Do you stop to inquire and dine, or do you drive past and find a new place to eat?
Let’s say you decided to give it a try and went inside. You seat yourself and wait for a menu. When you get the menu, it’s a photocopy and some of it may not even be recognizable. There are what appear to be some decent meals, at least they sound good from the menu. You order the house special, a three course meal, and are given the option to have it all at once, or spread out. Either way, after all of it is delivered, you’re left confused. Which is the main course, what are the ingredients, who knows what you’ve just eaten? Nobody offers to explain, nor may they be able to. Now, every time you return there are only stale crackers to eat and everyone argues about the bill.
Imagine that the place you were looking forward to visiting is the community Masonic Lodge. Will you stop, and if you do, will you return? I’d like to propose a different way for all of us to look at our local Lodge. I want everyone to see your Lodge as a franchise; one from the outside, and one from the inside, with locations across the state. Every single location represents not only Masonry in your town, but also in the state.
Is the exterior of your franchise meeting the standards of a respected, and possibly historical landmark of the community? Is it inviting, is there information on when it’s open for business? Does the walk need to be swept, the grass mowed, and a fresh coat of paint applied? The exterior of our Lodges is often the first exposure a prospective member has to Masonry. If you were new in town and approached your Lodge for the first time, would you enter? This is the franchise view from the outside.
There are certainly Lodge buildings across the state that need work, and many may not have the resources to renovate accordingly, but we can work with what we have. Maintaining the green space, cleaning the windows, and a fresh coat of paint will go a long ways. Take pride in what we have and strive to improve where we can.
Once we get men in our Lodges, give them a reason to stay. This is the franchise view from the inside. Did they have a mentor, or several Brothers designated to help them along their journey who can tell them what to expect and what the degrees mean. Don’t take for granted that the degree lectures explained what they need to know — one degree at a time can be overwhelming, and all three at once is overload. Teach these men what the lessons of the degrees mean. How can we take good men and make them better if they don’t comprehend the message?
Perhaps the biggest issue we’re faced with is the promise of what Masonry was historically, against what occurs in many Lodges today. We open with ritual, have a business meeting, and go home. The necessity of a business meeting may not entirely go away, it’s an unfortunate side effect of having to keep the lights on and the doors open, but there are ways to minimize its impact. Consider having the minutes sent out by email, or have some printed copies at the door when the Brothers arrive to review as they get seated. This alone can cut 10 minutes of business from the meeting by voting on them as printed. Does your Lodge have a board of trustees that can handle the routine financial matters and then make a statement to Lodge? If not and you’d like to, it needs to be voted into your bylaws — I have an example for anyone interested. This will free up more time for delivering the promise of Masonry.
In times past, men joined for what they could both offer, and learn. The connections made with each other, community leaders, people of differing areas of expertise, and to make a difference in the world around them were the promise of Masonry. To deliver that promise, consider having a knowledgeable Brother or members of the community come in and do a presentation on their area of expertise. It doesn’t have to be related to Masonry — lets educate each other. Try alternating every other meeting between Masonic related education and a guest presentation. In the case of a non-Mason, open the Lodge and conduct your business quickly, put it at ease, bring in your guest and formally introduce them. Not only is this a great way to educate the Lodge and provide a welcome change, but you’ll also be making connections to the community and presenting our craft in a positive light.
Masonry is perhaps one of the greatest institutions to exist. We can work together not only to maintain, but to improve our legacy for the generations to come. There is no limit to the good we can give and receive if each and every one of us is a caretaker of the franchise.

DaNiel D. Wood, Junior Grand Warden  


From the East (posted November 2015)

My Brothers, 2015 is rapidly coming to a close. As we enter the holiday season, let us take a few minutes to review and give thanks to the Supreme Architect for our many blessings. We are blessed to be living in the United States and the freedom it provides, all of which was based on Masonic principles. We have a super public school system based on the first Masonic schools established in New York so many years ago. We truly come to the aid of poor distressed worthy Master Masons, their widows and orphans. Let us remember our widows during this Christmas Holiday. Visit them, bring them a meal, take them for a ride to view the Christmas decorations and lights in your community or even a school Christmas program. Let us remember to include in our prayers or Masonic brothers and their families that live in countries around the world as many of them live in countries with terrorist activity.
As we come to the close of 2015, it is time to concentrate on the collection of delinquent dues. We are required by code to suspend members two years in arrear in dues for non-payment of dues. Last year we lost 200 members because of this. This can be greatly reduced with a concerted effort from the Master, Wardens and the Secretary of the Lodges. Yes, it is true some of this is because the individual did not find what he expected. An exit interview may prove to be very enlightening to the Lodges involved.
The Grand Lodge conducted a seminar entitled “Leadership Conference.” Most Worshipful Past Grand Master of Masons in Michigan, Robert Conley and his Lady led the conference. Those in attendance gained a wealth of knowledge and are now putting it to use. The Grand Lodge is now planning to do a similar seminar again next year.
The Life Membership program is on the top burner this year. We have approximately 1,050 living Life Members and 400 deceased members. Two years ago legislation was passed to pay out a maximum of 95 percent of the earning of the Life Membership Fund could be paid out to the Lodges and Grand Lodge for Life Memberships. In the present environment the fund is paying approximately 2 percent where approximately 6.5 percent is needed to pay out the desired amount. In an effort to build the fund in the future and to continue the Life Membership as originally intended, the cost of a Life Membership must be increased. Please be aware of this pending change. You will be hearing more about this at your Lodge meetings in the near future.
The Grand Lodge is in the process of developing Lodge Assistance Teams. It is hoped they will be formed and begin helping Lodges in January. If your Lodge would like one of these Teams to visit your Lodge to aid in ritual, membership, community awareness or even fund raising, please give us a call at the Grand Lodge office.

Don Gray, Grand Master  

Brother Main Receives 50-Year Award

In a presentation at Alta Vista Assisted Living facility, on November 19, Lester Main was presented with a special award and pin for his 50 years of membership in the Masonic fraternity by Bill Collister, District Master of the South Dakota Grand Lodge. Lester joined the Morristown Masonic Lodge, which merged with the Lemmon Masonic Lodge. Lester also attended Cedar Branch Lodge in Belle Fourche. During the special ceremony, Lester recounted his fondest Masonic memories.

Mike Rodman, Deputy Grand Master; Lon Carrier, Master of Cedar Branch Lodge #124 in Belle Fourche; Bill Collister, District Master; Lester Main, 50-year Mason Award recipient; Max Main, Mason and son of Lester; and Willie Steinlicht, of the Grand Lodge Jurisprudence Committee.


Cedar Branch Lodge #179 in Buffalo hosts District 17 Meeting

On Saturday, November 14, Cedar Branch #179 did a public lodge opening and hosted the District 17 meeting. All six lodges in District 17 were represented at the meeting. Golden Star #9 and Cedar Lodge #124 received their 2014 Plus One awards. The meeting was presided over by DM Bill Collister; west river SDCHIP co-coordinator, MWB Welker gave an informative update on SDCHIP activities and future plans, and GL Trustee; WB Lewis gave an informative update on the Grand Lodge Trustees current work and the Grand Master’s programs were discussed. Many of the Brothers in attendance weighed in on ideas to insure the future of Masonry in South Dakota.

A tasty pie and ice cream social closed out the day’s festivities.


From the Deputy (posted November 2015)

RWB Yancey Smith and Deputy Grand Master Mike Rodman traveled to Sundance, Wyoming, to participate in a very special Grand Lodge of Wyoming presentation on November 11. New Master Mason Dan Burget was honored for his selfless donation of bone marrow. When Dan’s best friend, Matt, who was valiantly battling leukemia, needed a bone marrow transplant, Dan immediately registered with the National Bone Marrow Donor Transplant Program. Unfortunately Dan was not a match for Matt, however, he was contacted to donate to a newborn baby girl with a very rare disease. Sadly a few weeks before Dan was flown to Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC for surgery, his friend Matt lost his battle with cancer at age 29. Dan said he holds the little girl and her family in his prayers as their battle continues.

Wyoming Grand Master Johnson presented Brother Burget with a Special Grand Lodge Award in a moving ceremony, commenting how proud he was to call the newly made Master Mason “Brother.”

RWB Yancey Smith, Senior Grand Warden SD; RWB Mike Rodman, Deputy Grand Master. SD; WB Ray Leeman, Master of Sundance Lodge #9; Brother Dan Burget, National Bone Marrow Donor and new Master Mason at Sundance Lodge #9, MWB Michael Johnson, Grand Master of Wyoming, WB Wayne Christensen, Jr. Grand Deacon, GL of Wyoming; and RWB Beynon St. John, Grand Secretary of the GL of Wyoming

Mike Rodman, Deputy Grand Master  


Brother John Wilson Honored (Posted November 2015)

A 60-Year Pin presentation was held at the residence of John Wilson on the 28th of October.

Wm John, Secretary Wes, District Master Burton and the honored recipient, Brother John Wilson


Changes in Life Membership

Grand Master has announced changes in the Life Membership program (See proclamation).

The installment option has been dropped completely. The Life Membership Committee is working on a new application form. It will be posted here as soon as it is available.


Brother Peirce Honored (posted November 2015)

Brother Russell Peirce was awarded his 60-Year Membership Pin at his home in Yankton on October 31. The award was presented by Most Worshipful Grand Master Don Gray and Right Worshipful Brothers Mike Rodman, DGM/GME and Yancey Smith, SGW. Brother Peirce is a member of Mt. Rushmore Lodge #220. Brother Peirce’s wife Mary and friends Jess and Sandy Dennis were also present. Brother Peirce reminisced about his years in Masonry and his life as a Methodist minister and expressed his thanks for the award.

Brothers Yancey Smith, Russell Peirce, Jess Dennis, Mike Rodman and Don Gray gathered for the presentation of Brother Russel’s 60-Year Pin.

Mary Peirce, Brother Russell Peirce, and Grand Master Don Gray on the occasion of Brother Russel’s 60-Year Pin presentation.


Brother Jerry May Honored (Posted October 2015)

On October 22, 2015, Unity Lodge #130 SW Kyle Orth (left) and WM Richard Hagler (right) visited Bro Jerry May at his home to present him with a 50-Year Pin and certificate.


PGM Glaser Honored (Posted October 2015)

On October 17, 2015, WB Ralph Sowder, Worshipful Master, led Custer City Lodge #66 in honoring MWB Ken Glaser with a 50-year pin ceremony. District Master Harrold Ireland presided over the pin ceremony while Ken’s wife Nan pinned him. Past Grand Masters Jack Welker, Bill Coffield and Bob Morrow participated in the ceremony and shared memories of their time and travels with MWB Glaser.
Custer City Lodge #66 hosted a reception after the pinning, giving Ken and Nan an opportunity to socialize with the many well-wishers who attended the festivities. Congratulations, Ken!

MWB Bill Cofield, WB Mikal Lewis, MWB Bob Morrow, MWB Jack Welker, RWB Mike Rodman, MWB Ken Glaser, Nan Glaser, WB Jim Olsen, DM Harrold Ireland


District 14 Meeting (posted October 2015)

District #14 District Master Morgan Berg held the first District Meeting of the 2015-2016 Masonic Year Thursday, October 1, in Bison, at Pasque Lodge on its regular lodge meeting night.

DM Berg presented the Grand Master’s program and criteria for Education Officer of the Year, Lodge of the Year and Master Mason of the Year. WB Morgan recapped the Grand Lodge Leadership Conference and presented the programs from that conference on mentoring the Candidates, mentoring the new Mason, the five characteristics of leadership, and the lodge planning guide.

Pasque Lodge #214 WM Will Larson laid out the lodge’s program of work, which included petitions for three new candidates. After introduction and remarks of the attending GL Officers, the lodge was closed in due form, and a meal and brotherly fellowship capped off a very enjoyable District meeting.

(L-R) Morgan Berg, District Master, District 14; Herb Cook, Grand Pursuivant; Will Larson, WM Pasque Lodge #214; Mike Rodman, Deputy Grand Master; Yancey Smith, Senior Grand Warden; Jim Miller, PM, Pasque Lodge #214; Al Colgrove, Lemmon Lodge #151; and Ardel Reder, PM, Pasque Lodge #214.


Quilt Raffle (posted October 2015)

Vi Andersen (wife of PGM Virgil Andersen) was the happy winner of the quilt raffle at Grand Lodge. The quilt was made by Sandy McFarland, wife of GM Doug McFarland. Proceeds from the raffle were donated to the South Dakota Masonic Foundation.

Cyril Beeching (posted September 2015)

Cyril Beeching, 103, passed away September 11, 2015, just before the planned presentation of his 70-Year Masonic pin by his fellow Brothers of Cedar Lodge #124. Cyril had asked longtime friend and former District #17 Master Stan Bevier, who had given him his 60-Year pin ten years ago to present him his 70th. On Thursday September17th, at Cyril’s funeral service, WB Bevier presented the pin posthumously. Accepting the pin was Cyril’s grandson, Travis Smith, also a member of Cedar Lodge #124 in Belle Fourche.

Cyril served as Worshipful Master of Cedar Lodge #124 in 1970. He was a Royal Arch Mason belonging to the Black Hills Commandary and Cryptic Masons of South Dakota. He was a member of the Black Hills Consistory, where he held the honor of KCCH, member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Most Illustrious Past Grand Master of Cryptic Masons and Grand High Priest of Royal Arch Masons of South Dakota.

Cyril positively impacted the many, many Masons he had a personal relationship with over the years and will be sorely missed as he lays aside his working tools.

Travis Smith (R) Grandson of Cyril Beeching and member of Cedar Lodge #124 in Belle Fourche accepts the 70 year pin on behalf of his Grandfather, being presented by Stan Bevier, past District #17 Master, who gave Cyril his 60 year pin.


GM Gray & DGM Rodman Attend Iowa Grand Lodge (posted September 2015)

On September 18 and 19, Grand Master Donald Gray and Deputy Grand Master Mike Rodman traveled to Sioux City, Iowa, to attend the 171st Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Iowa. South Dakota Masonry has had a special relationship with the GL of Iowa for over 150 years when it granted the first Masonic Charter to Yankton, starting what would eventually become the Grand Lodge of Dakota Territory. That Masonic bond was still evident in the great weekend of fellowship and friendship in Sioux City.

At the Iowa Past Grand Masters reception, South Dakota PGM Les Spies was recognized for 25 years of attendance to Iowa’s Grand Lodge Annual Communications. Congratulations Les!

Grand Master Donald Gray and Deputy Grand Master Mike Rodman share a moment with Iowa’s outgoing Grand Master Charles Yates and Incoming Grand Master Arthur Crandon.


Rushmore Lodge #220 Holds Outdoor Meeting (posted September 2015)

Rushmore Lodge #220 held its annual Outdoor Lodge meeting at the Pengra Ranch on September 10. About 25 members and visitors attended the barbecue dinner and Stated Meeting. RWDGM Mike Rodman represented the Grand Lodge and gave a wonderful presentation. Brother Alden Wilson of Lodge #220, flew all the way from his home in England to attend. Thanks to all for making this a successful and fun event.

WM Zac Pengra presented Dave Meltz with his Past Master’s Apron


From the South (posted September 2015)

I will never be able to give enough back to Masonry.

After some consideration on what to write as the newly installed Junior Grand Warden, I decided that I would attempt to put into words why I do what I do, and how much our great Brotherhood means to me. For many years I had been interested in Masonry but it always seemed that I was too busy or that there were too many things to do. Becoming a Mason was on my list of “someday, I’d like to do that” endeavors. After living across the country in several steps (and a couple of kids later), my wife and I moved back to Sioux Falls in order to be near family.

A few years later while driving back to Sioux Falls from a job interview in Iowa, I began to get an incredible pain in my head which persisted for several hours and increasingly worsened. My wife Stephanie, clearly the smarter of us, finally convinced me to get in the car and took me in to the emergency room. While in the process of having a CT scan, a blood vessel on the lower portion of the inside of my brain ruptured and within a few minutes, I was unconscious. The technical term was an Intracerebral Hemorrhage, or ICH. The survival rate on an ICH in the position where mine occurred is roughly 50% and my family was told that if I survived, in all likelihood I would be in a coma or would be severely brain damaged and need care for the rest of my life. I did survive, was in the neuro ICU for over a week and in highly monitored care for another beyond that. I only remember 2 or 3 of those days, and I always joke that if you ask my wife, she’ll be happy to tell you about my new “quirks” and agree about my needing care for the rest of my life!

Why did I tell this story? Because it’s the reason why I do everything with immediacy. I no longer have a “someday, I’d like to do that” list, life is too important to put anything off. After a few months I returned to a level that I could begin to function again, and one of the first things I sought out was becoming a Mason. I became one, by asking one. I was initiated, passed, and raised, in Unity Lodge #130. Lodge met twice monthly, and I didn’t miss a meeting or a degree conferral. A great deal of mental therapy consisted of following every bit of ritual in the Blue Book, matching the words to the cypher and attempting to think critically again. At the time, it was an absolute necessity because it was the only way to ensure focus, but looking back, it’s easy to see what a large part it played in my mental rehabilitation.

I will never forget how many Brothers, men I had just met, were willing to help in any way needed. How Past Masters, District Masters, Grand Masters, and Past Grand Masters ignored the fact that I had my ritual out when I wasn’t supposed to, and instead offered help and answered any questions I had. How some of these same men encouraged me to go through the chairs in Unity Lodge, appointed me to several Grand Lodge positions, and then encouraged me again when I decided to run for Junior Grand Warden. All of these people acting out of pure kindness and Brotherly intent without ever asking anything in return. That is what Masonry is all about, and is our defining characteristic. We have secrets, and further hidden secrets in our traditions and ritual, but as a good Masonic friend once told me, the real secret of Masonry is in our relationships, spending time with Brothers who will do anything for you without judgment or asking for something in return, and learning to live that way in your life and carry it to others inside and outside of our fraternity.

Everything I do in Masonry is a feeble attempt to give back what was given to me. Not only to repay my debt, but out of an honest and genuine love for our Craft and what it stands for. It is with some bit of irony however, that the more you put into Masonry, the more you get in return. Thus the reason for my initial statement. I will however continue to try, and will always be a good steward and act for the betterment of our Craft.

DaNiel D. Wood, Junior Grand Warden  


Grand Lodge Holds First Masonic Leadership Conference (posted September 2015)

On September 4 and 5 Masons from all across South Dakota converged at Cedar Shore Resort in Oacoma for the 2015 Masonic Leadership Conference. In a great weekend of fun, fellowship and learning, conference attendees participated in team building exercises, learned the five levels of leadership developed by motivational expert John Maxwell, embraced a renewed approach to membership retention with the mentoring the new Mason program, identified the proper growth of the fraternity through the pre-petition, mentoring program and left with the ability to plan our lodge year with the lodge leaders planning guide.
MWB Robert Conley, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Michigan and his wife JoNeil Smith-Conley certainly lived up to their reputations as the foremost Masonic Leadership trainers nationally. Their vast knowledge, insight, motivation and effortless presentation style made the conference an outstanding experience. Conference attendees who share what they learned with their lodges and fellow brothers will certainly positively impact Masonry, not only in their own lodges, but across South Dakota.
Our Grand Master, MWB Don Gray has made leadership development a key item for his year as GM and this Leadership Conference was an amazing way to kick off his commitment to developing lodge leaders. If you missed out on this great experience, please get with your District team and they can share the outline and many materials from the conference. The GL will be working closely with MWB Conley to provide Leadership updates and additional materials throughout the year.
While this conference is just the beginning of the journey, your Grand Lodge is committed to the future of the fraternity by providing ongoing leadership training to help our lodge leaders build successful lodges for the future. Thank all of you who participated in this great weekend and as we work together to better our fraternity, there is no doubt that the Grand Lodge of South Dakota has a bright future.
And — as we learned through our team building exercises, if you are ever in a bushfire in Australia, be sure to listen to the advice of Larry Clark!


From the East (posted September 2015)

I acknowledge the receipt of the resignation of MWB Denny Robinson, Grand Treasurer/Secretary on Friday September 4, 2015. I and the Grand Lodge AF&AM of South Dakota do understand that ongoing health issues lead to his decision. I wish to inform the Grand Lodge AF&AM of South Dakota that I have accepted MWB Robinson’s resignation.
The Grand Lodge AF&AM appreciates MWB Robinson’s dedication, hard work, knowledge and support given freely to our fraternity for the past many years. Thank you MWB Denny. We look forward to working with MWB Denny in the future as his schedule will allow.
I have appointed MWB Doug McFarland as Grand Treasurer/Secretary of the Grand Lodge AF&AM to complete the 2015-2016 Masonic Year. MWB Doug has accepted the appointment effective Saturday September 5, 2015. I know that MWB Doug brings to this office many years of Masonic knowledge. I look forward to working with MWB Doug.

Don Gray, Grand Master  


Civility in an Uncivil Age (posted August 2015)

What Can and Should Freemasons Do About It?

— Margaret C. Jacob

Imagine stepping into the lobby of a chic London theater, dressed to the nines. You might suppose you’d find you r fellow theater-goers similarly decked out, equally prepared for an evening of refinement and culture. When the lights dimmed and the curtain rose, you would hope — no, you would expect — that this audience would follow the plot with interest, and applaud at the appropriate moments. During intermission, you imagine, you might all retire to the lobby for a refreshment and gracious discussion. [Continue...]

 You may also download this article as a .PDF.


Olive Branch Installation of Officers (posted July 2015)

The installation of officers of Olive Branch Lodge #47, Sturgis, was held on July 11. Refreshments were served afterward. The first item of business was the annual Rally Breakfast and the tiled lodge on August 5 during the Rally.


Your 2015-16 Grand Officers (posted July 2015)


From the Deputy (posted July 2015)

“It was once said that the moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”
— Brother Hubert Humphrey

I remember vividly as a young boy standing alongside the curb on Dakota Avenue in my hometown of Huron, a small American flag in hand, waiting in anticipation for the black limousine to drive by carrying the then Vice President of the United States and at that particular time, hometown hero, Hubert Humphrey. In my young eyes, it was proof positive that a guy who grew up a few miles away in Doland, moved to Huron with his family and worked at his father’s drug store, and went on to become the Vice President, proved that anything in life was possible.
Humphrey, with his wife Muriel, left Huron and his father’s pharmacy business, returning to Minnesota, where he had attended the University of Minnesota, and during WWII, worked for the Works Progress Administration. He got involved in politics and helped in the founding of the Democratic Farm Labor Party or DFL. After one failed attempt, he was elected ` of Minneapolis, where he served from 1945-1948. He was elected to the US Senate from Minnesota in 1948, serving three terms including being the Majority Whip. After President Kennedy’s assassination, Humphrey was chosen by President Johnson to be his vice presidential running mate in 1964.
Humphrey launched a presidential campaign after Johnson’s surprise announcement that he would not seek reelection in 1968. Humphrey lost in a tight election to Richard Nixon. Humphrey returned to the Senate in 1971, where he served until his death in 1978. He was honored by his colleagues by becoming the first Deputy President pro tempore of the senate. President Carter also honored Humphrey with a flight on Air Force One for his final trip to Washington.
Humphrey was another example of how a Mason, born in South Dakota, became larger than life and an inspiration to all of us.

Mike Rodman, Deputy Grand Master  


From the East (posted July 2015)

I am honored to be able to serve as our Grand Master of the Grand Lodge AF&AM of South Dakota for the 2015-2016 Masonic year. I look forward to a very busy and productive year for the advancement and growth of Masonry in South Dakota. I would like to thank the many mentors I have had over the years from those in my home Lodge so many years ago to those in recent years on the District and Grand Lodge plain. I would thank specifically MWB’s Denny Robinson, Chuck Gilson, Doug McFarland and the late Charles Kaufman.
I want to congratulate RWB DaNiel Wood for being elected as Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota. I look forward to working with DaNiel and his input. Welcome to the Grand Lodge Officer team.
I extend a special thank you to the appointed Grand Lodge officers, District Masters/Teams and committee appointees. Each of you has a specific task as part the Grand Lodge Team. With your attention to your assigned task, Masonry will grow in South Dakota.
For the past three years, at least, the Grand Lodge Elected Officers have been discussing Masonic Education and just where we could get the biggest bang for the buck. We came to the conclusion to focus on Leadership Training for the newly elected Master, Senior Warden, Junior Warden and Secretary of the constituent Lodges. We are pleased to be able to present the Masonic Leadership Conference Seminar. The seminar will be held on September 4th and 5th, 2015 at Cedar Shore Resort in Oacoma. The MWB Robert Conley, PGM of Michigan, Grand Secretary of Michigan will be conducting the seminal. MWB Bob has presented leadership training seminars to Masons all over the country and is recognized as the foremost authority on Masonic Leadership Development. Further information and registration forms can be found on the Grand Lodge Website.
Presho Lodge #157 and the Eastern Star Chapter have built a new building. The Grand Lodge is scheduled to dedicate the building at 11:00 AM on Saturday July 25th. This will be a dedication of the building not a cornerstone as many of us are familiar with. Come to Presho and enjoy the Masonic fellowship.
Remember to have your Lodge activities posted on the Grand Lodge Web calendar. This can include one-day conferrals, your degree work, special events, fund raisers and more. Also send Lodge news articles for posting on the Web site. This is your fast track to communication.
The future of the Masonic Fraternity in South Dakota is in our hands. Only we can generate a brighter light.

Don Gray, Grand Master  

Youth Exploration Ribbon Cutting (posted July 2015)

Masons Mike Rodman, Mikal Lewis, Herb Cook, Zach Pengra, and Michael Lamb along with Zach’s daughter, a member of Job’s Daughters Bethel #44, pose with Cheryl Schreier, Superintendent at Mt. Rushmore National Memorial for the Youth Exploration Area Ribbon Cutting on July 9, 2015.


Tin City Lodge No. 112 Installation Ceremony (posted July 2015)

On June 28, Tin City Lodge No. 112 held its 2015/2016 Installation of Officers ceremony at the lodge in Hill City. The following Brothers will preside over the upcoming Masonic year's activities: (back l to r) Chaplain Jeff Gray, Senior Warden Bob Stanfiel, Worshipful Master Russ Johnson, Tyler Jack Welker, Senior Deacon Ron Rossknecht. (Front l to r) Junior Steward Kade McVey, Junior Warden Shane Alexander, Treasurer Mike Lewis, Junior Deacon Tim Burleigh, Secretary Charlie Piper, Senior Steward Mike Price. Not pictured: Assistant Secretary Jim Cowan and Marshal James Olson. Congratulations to all.


From the West (posted June 2015)

What an exciting time to be a Mason! As I have travelled this past year, it seems there is more interest in the Craft than I have seen in 18 years as a Mason. Some of this is no doubt due to the (mostly) positive continuing influence of popular culture such as the Dan Brown novels, the National Treasure movies, and the many History Channel programs. However, we would not be receiving this publicity if we were not doing something right in the first place.
Masonry continues to be a force for good. We are proud, and rightfully so, of our ChIP, MMSATP and Scholarship programs. Additionally, the Concordant Bodies have their many worthwhile charities, all of which serve to ease the burden of those in need.
However, it is said that Charity begins at home. Charity is much more than just writing a check, although there are times when that is precisely what is needed. Merriam-Webster defines charity as benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity. As Masons we are obligated to assist those in need in any way possible, being sure to care for ourselves and family first.
Perhaps at the last Lodge meeting you heard of a Brother who was shut in. Did you call or stop to visit? Maybe you heard of a widow who can’t get to the corner bus stop in January, because she is snowed in. Do you own a shovel? Charity can indeed take many forms.
As Masons, we are taught to be tolerant. Tolerance is the willingness to allow other beliefs or behaviors that you do not necessarily agree with. We are taught to be tolerant of a Brother’s religion, political and social beliefs. We do not need to agree with him, but must allow him to practice those beliefs as he sees fit, provided they do not conflict with Masonic law.
We are also taught to make ourselves better men. Not better than others, but better than we would have been otherwise. Some seek to do so through their church. Others seek this Light through personal study and self-reflection. Regardless of the path, we strive to improve.
It is because of these qualities of tolerance, charity and betterment (Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth), that Freemasonry continues to influence society for the better. By far the greatest part of Freemasonry happens outside the walls of the Lodge. Remember always to practice outside of the Lodge those great moral and social virtues which are inculcated in it.

Yancey Smith, Senior Grand Warden  

From the Grand Treasurer-Secretary (posted June 2015)

The 141st Annual Session of the South Dakota Grand Lodge is now history. I would like to thank MW Doug McFarland and all of the Grand Lodge Officer team for their leadership shown this past year. Their values, skills and efforts were very much appreciated. Congratulations MW Doug, and thank you for your patience and guidance; it was appreciated.
Congratulations to MW Don Gray and our entire Grand Lodge Officer corps. All of you have been elected or asked to serve because of your various Masonic skills and abilities. Our Grand Lodge needs and appreciates all of you!
From all reports, the Grand Lodge Session this year was well received. We were fortunate to have great Missouri River weather for the second year in a row, great speakers and a good overall program from Grand Master Doug.
There were ample opportunities for education, fellowship and fun. Special thanks go to Ill. Jeff Larson and Brother Bob Weatherford for their assistance helping bring Brothers Admiral William Sizemore, Dean Alban and Sean Graystone from the House of the Temple, Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction, in Washington, DC, who provided various talks and workshops throughout our session. Their presentations were timely, educational appreciated by the brothers. On behalf of our entire Grand Lodge, “Thanks!”

Upcoming Grand Lodge events:

Dedication of the new Masonic Lodge building in Presho, on Saturday, July 25th at 11:00 a.m. This is an impressive ceremony that will be led by our Grand Master and Grand Lodge Officers — plan to attend!
South Dakota Grand Lodge Masonic Leadership Seminar, “Learning Together to be Better Leaders,” will be held Saturday, September 5, from 9:00 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Cedar Shores in Oacoma. The seminar moderator is nationally known Masonic Leadership Trainer PGM Bob Conley of Michigan. This is open to all Lodge Worshipful Masters and Wardens. Pre-registration is requested. Registration forms are available here:
For details, download this flyer
To register, download this registration form.
Please plan to attend these events and have a great summer!

Denny Robinson, PGM  
Grand Treasurer-Secretary  

The Grand Lodge A. F. & A. M. of South Dakota is pleased to announce four $1,000 scholarships have been awarded for the 2015-16 academic year. The scholarships were awarded to Chase Klingaman, Mitchell; Ivy Oeltjenbruns, Hartford; Ty Harris, Plankinton; and Kennedee Miles, Rapid City. We wish them success in their academic careers.

Mt. Rushmore Installs Officers (posted June 2015)

The installation of officers for Mt. Rushmore Lodge #220 was held on June 27.

Front: JW Ken Kundel, WM Zachary Pengra and SW Steven Barns. Back: Sec John Hebrard, SD Brian Cole and Trea. Bill Carey, PM


Brother Vern Foland Honored (June 2015)

Vern Foland received his 70-Year Pin from District Master PM Doug Thorson and PGM Jack H. Welker.
Vern joined Lodge when he was 21 years and 3 months old. He said his dad told him that when you join the Masons, they will make your life better and more complete. He said his dad was right. At 91 years old, he has trouble hearing but he is otherwise very active.
There were 27 Brother Masons there plus the ladies.


From the East

To: All Lodge Wardens, Secretaries, and Masters:

I am pleased to announce the 2015 South Dakota Grand Lodge Masonic Leadership Conference scheduled for September 4th and 5th, 2015 at Cedar Shore Resort in Oacoma, SD. This seminar, while geared to the Masters and Wardens of the lodges, is open to anyone wanting to attend. In my travels around our Jurisdiction, many of you have asked the Grand Lodge to take the lead in providing training and development for our local lodge leaders, and I am committed to making Leadership Training one of the focuses of my year as your Grand Master.

We are so pleased that MWB Robert Conley, PGM of Michigan and the most sought after Leadership trainer in Masonic circles will conduct our Leadership Conference. MWB Conley will focus on the five levels of leadership, membership retention, a lodge leadership planning guide, and a pre-petition mentoring program. Please try to attend the Friday night informal get-together to meet fellow Brothers from across the State. We have a block of rooms reserved for $99 at Cedar Shore. We’ll start the seminar after breakfast Saturday morning and hope to wrap up no later than: 4:00 PM Central Time. Lunch is included in the $40 registration fee.

It is my sincere hope that every Lodge in South Dakota is represented at this first Leadership Conference. I know you will have a great time and bring back useful information for your lodge. Please join me in attending.

For full details, download this flyer

To register, download this registration form.

I wish you all a productive and successful Masonic year.

Don Gray, Grand Master  

2015 Masonic Leadership Conference (June 2015)

For Masters, Senior and Junior Wardens...these classes are designing especially for you!

The 2015 Masonic Leadership Conference will be conducted at the Cedar Shore Resort, Oacoma. Plan your arrival for Friday evening, September 4, 2015 and enjoy social and fun activities.

Classes begin on Saturday September 5, 2015, at 9:00 AM, and we will end the program no later than 4:00 PM. All materials, prizes, awards, lunch and much more are included in the registration fee of $40.00, if you register by August 20th! If you register after August 20th, the registration fee is $50.00. So, please register early! It helps us plan, and is less expensive for you.

For full details, download this flyer

To register, download this registration form.


DaNiel Wood at George Washington’s Tomb (June 2015)

WB DaNiel Wood participated in the memorial wreath ceremony at George Washington’s tomb. The ceremony took place June 6, 2015, on the anniversary of D-Day. The other three participants were each from a different branch of military. It was very fitting that a Master Mason and veterans serve the honors.


Resurgam Past Masters Night (June 2015)

On June 9, at its stated meeting, Resurgam #31 held a Past Masters Night. There was a great turnout of Brothers who have sat in the East over the years! Thanks, Brothers, for attending this night!


“Mister Mason” (June 2015)

Resurgam Lodge #31 would like to congratulate Worshipful Brother Matt Buenzow in his achievement of the “Mister Mason” award! Thank you Matt for all of your dedication and hard work!

WM Ryan Brech presents the Mister Mason clock award to WB Matt Buenzow


German Brother Visits (June 2015)

RWJGW Jan Savarino of the United Grand Lodges of Germany toured Mt. Rushmore Lodge #220 with Lodge Secretary John Hebrard. RWB Savarino presented Brother Hebrard with a coin from Grand Master Eddie Guevara. RWB Savarino is taking part in an exercise with the South Dakota National Guard.


Two New Master Masons (Posted June 2015)

Congratulations to two newly raised Master Masons, Brothers Joe Harrison of Tin City Lodge #112 in Hill City and Gregory Still of Mt Rushmore Lodge #220 of Rapid City, on May 30. This was a joint effort doing the conferral with members of several different Lodges in District #16.
MWB/WM Jack Welker, Brother Joe Harrison of Tin City Lodge #112, WM David Meltz, and Brother Gregory Still of Mt. Rushmore Lodge #220


Bikes for Books (Posted June 2015)

On May 22, Mt. Rushmore Lodge 220 presented four brand new bicycles and helmets to four children who won this year’s annual Bikes For Books Program in Rapid City, chaired by WB Ben Kirkland. Congratulations, kids!
Pictured are WB Ben Kirkland and WB John McKnight of Mt. Rushmore Lodge 220, with two of the four children who received new bicycles and helmets


From the South

Most Worshipful Brother Sol Star

A 1901 publication, The Great Northwest and its Men of Progress, described Sol Star thusly:

Some men have a genius for popularity. With no effort on their part they become a sort of social or political center from which there seems to radiate an aroma of good fellowship, permeating the entire community. Frank and generous; genial in disposition; every ready with a helping hand for a fellow in distress; jovial and social, yet, in serious matters keen and penetrating; sound in judgment; full of resources in emergency; energy unbounded, and a public spirit ready for war in the interests of his town, country, or state. These are some of the characteristics of a naturally popular man.

Sol Star was born in Bavaria, on December 20, 1840. Star and his family immigrated to the US in 1850 and settled in Ohio. In 1865, Star arrived in Montana by way of Missouri. He was appointed by President Grant as Registrar of the US Land Office in Helena in 1872. In 1874, he served as Territorial Auditor of the Commonwealth of Montana. He also served as personal secretary to the Governor. Star partnered with the first sheriff of Lewis and Clark County, and fellow Mason, Seth Bullock in the mercantile business. Together they followed the gold rush to Deadwood, Dakota Territory in 1876.

MWB Star was raised in what was to become Virginia City Lodge #1 in Montana (Virginia City Lodge #43, Kansas until the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Montana was formed in 1866). He served as the Grand Treasurer of the Grand Lodge in 1868. He was the first Worshipful Master of King Solomon’s #9 in Helena, Montana in 1867, and served again as WM in 1868, 1869, 1870 and again in 1873 and 1874. Star also served as Montana’s Grand Secretary in 1868 and 1869, was elected Deputy Grand Master in 1871 and was elected as the seventh Grand Master of Masons in Montana in 1873. In South Dakota, Sol Star is a founding signer on the Deadwood Valley Scottish Rite Charter.

When Star and Bullock arrived in Deadwood with their wagons filled with hardware goods and mining equipment on August 1st, 1876-just one day before the famous shooting of Wild Bill Hickok, they set up their store in a tent. Soon the pair was able to buy a lot on the corner of Main and Wall Streets and built their hardware store. They both quickly got involved in Deadwood politics, both serving as city councilmen, Bullock becoming Lawrence County’s first Sherriff and Star becoming the city’s postmaster. The pair invested in local mining ventures, bought several individual homesteads and created the SB Ranch, planting the first alfalfa crop in Deadwood Territory. They teamed up with Franklin Harris to start the Deadwood Flouring Mill, with Star taking on the role of general manager. The pair gave the Freemont Elkhorn, and Missouri Valley Railroad 40 acres of free right-of-way through their ranch and the railway built a station three miles from the county seat of Minnesela, creating the new town of Belle Fourche. The pair then offered free lots to anyone willing to move from Minnesela to Belle Fourche effectively stealing away the county seat.

Star was one of the first Jewish merchants in Deadwood, whose ranks quickly grew to over 30 percent. A synagogue was never built in Deadwood as the Deadwood Masonic Lodge was often used for Jewish services.

Star and Bullock’s hardware store burned down in 1894. Rather than rebuilding it, the pair built Deadwood’s first hotel on the site, a three story, 64-room luxury hotel with steam heat and indoor bathrooms on each floor at a cost of $40,000. The Bullock Hotel still operates on that site today. Continuing with his political service, Star was elected Mayor in 1884 and held that position for 14 years. Star was a member of the State Legislature for four years, first serving two years in the House and then two years in the Senate, where he also served as President Pro Tempore. He also served as the first president of the Republican state convention. Additionally he was the Clerk of Courts when Lawrence County was established and held that position until his death in 1917.

Mike Rodman, Senior Grand Warden