Volume LIVFebruary 2007Number 1

Honoring Our Senior Brethren

Left to right: Bros. Jesse C. McCullough, Sr., P.M., W.M.; Wallace L. Sturgeon, P.M., S.W.; June Earl Austin; Robert G. Thomas, Senior Deacon; John H. Petricko, D.D.G.M., District 47; Steven E. Koscelnak, J.W.; John M. Daniels; and Charles W. Madden, Sr., Trustee.

Born July 16, 1900, Bro. June Earl Austin remembers growing up in a log house on his father's farm in Virginia. He credits his long life to, "good genes, living an honest life according to the Bible, and no smoking and no alcohol!"

He came to Western Pennsylvania in 1936 where he worked on the Pennsylvania Railroad as a conductor until his retirement in 1966.

His fondest memories are of his wife Emma, who passed away in 1987, his family and recollections of conversations with President Harry S. Truman and Bing Crosby.

Bro. Austin may best be remembered for having served as mayor of Oakdale from 1995 to 2001 when, at the age of 101, he "gave it up to let some of the younger folks have a chance." Perhaps the oldest serving mayor ever in the United States, he couldn't be entered in the Guiness Book of World Records because documented proof of his age was unavailable.

In appreciation of his outstanding service, the members of Oakdale Lodge No. 669 and the community of Oakdale erected a beautiful monument and clock in the town square and dedicated it in his honor on Oct. 10, 1998.

Living on his own until September 2005, Bro. Austin now resides in an assisted living home. His eyesight has grown dim and his hearing has started to fade, but he still prides himself on being able to recite his Masonic Oath and Obligation!

In acknowledgement of Bro. Austin's 106th birthday, Jesse C. McCullough, W.M., along with officers and members of Oakdale Lodge No. 669 and John H. Petricko, District Deputy Grand Master for the 47th Masonic District, presented Bro. Austin with a special certificate in recognition of his dedicated service to Freemasonry.

Front row, left to right: Bros. Owen R. Hofecker, Jr., W.M., Handel Roberts, P.M., and John D. Ream, D.D.G.M. Back row, left to right: Bros. William J. Huston, S.W., and James F. Hockycko, J.W.

At its November stated meeting, Greater Johnstown Lodge No. 538 presented Handel Roberts, P.M., with a certificate from the Grand Lodge recognizing his 50th year as a Past Master. Bro. Roberts, the senior of the lodge's 62 living Past Masters, was Worshipful Master of Sunnehanna Lodge in 1955, which later merged with Johnstown and Conemaugh Valley Lodges to become Greater Johnstown Lodge. Though in his 90's and partially blind, Bro. Roberts attributes his longevity and wellbeing to staying active by helping guide totally blind patients at a local treatment center.

On Sept. 4, 2006, George Bartram-Paul Sand Lodge No. 298 observed their 150th Anniversary as a Masonic lodge, when their founders met in their first Stated Meeting at the Masonic Temple on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. On Oct. 28, 2006, the lodge celebrated at a banquet combined with the annual banquets of Lansdowne Lodge No. 711 and Springfield-Hanby Lodge No. 767.

Ronald A. Aungst, Sr., R.W. Grand Master, recognized Bro. Walter M. Strine, P.M., of George Bartram-Paul Sand Lodge No. 298, for his dedicated and loyal Masonic service to his lodge and community. Bro. Strine is 99 years young and will have 75 years of Masonic Service in 2007 (shown above with Bro. Timothy T. Nowell, Worshipful Master of George Bartram-Paul Sand Lodge No. 298, and his Lady, Jan.).

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