Volume LVIIIMay 2011Number 2

Two Honored as Masons at Sight

Honorable Bro. Keith R. McCall

Very rarely does the Grand Master make a Mason at Sight. In fact, only 91 Pennsylvania brethren have been declared Masons at Sight since 1842 - making the honor all the more prestigious.

During the December 2010 Quarterly Communication in Philadelphia, R.W. Grand Master Thomas K. Sturgeon selected two men to be made Masons at Sight - that is - to have all three Degrees of Freemasonry conferred to them at one session of the Grand Lodge and in the Grand Master's presence. They were the Honorable Bro. Keith R. McCall, former Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and currently a Commissioner on the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, and the Honorable Bro. David N. Wecht, Judge, Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County.

Honorable Bro. David N. Wecht

"It is certainly an honor not bestowed on many, and for that I am humbled," Bro. McCall said. "The opportunity to receive the Degrees guided by one of my closest friends, R.W. Grand Treasurer Jeff Coy, and to do so within the Pennsylvania Masonic Temple, was an amazing experience that I will treasure all of my life.

"I certainly was aware of all of the positive influence the Masonic lodges have in their communities and the significant influence that Masons have had in the building of our nation," he continued. "At the same time, I was not fully aware of the brotherhood that exists between Masons and the complex and intriguing symbolism used in the fraternity. These are things that are just now coming to light to me."

A former student at Harrisburg Area Community College and Penn State University, Bro. McCall followed in his father's political footsteps. Thomas McCall preceded his son in representing the 122nd State Legislative District from 1975 until his passing in 1981.

Since entering politics, Bro. McCall has built a rapport with members of both parties as someone who works hard to get things done. From 2007 to 2008, he served as the Majority Whip, and from 2009 to 2010, Bro. McCall was the 136th Speaker of the House. In 2009, "Pennsylvania Report" named him sixth in the top 100 people who were most likely to impact government and politics throughout the Commonwealth during the year.

"Serving the people of the 122nd State Legislative District was an honor day in and day out, including the day that I was sworn in as Pennsylvania House Speaker. I can tell you, however, that my greatest accomplishment was the opportunity to wed my wife, Betty, and to later share in the birth of my two children. ... Nothing compares to the moments associated with family."

At the end of his 14th term in 2010, this Coaldale, Pa., native retired from the strenuous work of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to spend more time with his family. Since then, he has joined Carbon Lodge No. 242, Jim Thorpe, and accepted an appointment as Commissioner of the Gaming Control Board.

Bro. Wecht also expressed great humility at the honor of being made a Mason at Sight.

"It was a special experience to go to Philadelphia and become a Mason at Sight in the presence of so many outstanding men," he said. "It is a great honor, humbling, and indeed a privilege."

He has since joined Dallas Lodge No. 231, Pittsburgh.

"I've learned much about the wonderful services Freemasonry provides to children, the aged and needy citizens," Bro. Wecht said. Even before joining the fraternity, Bro. Wecht heralded a long and impressive history of serving the community through membership in and service on various political, non-profit and religious organizations and boards. He currently serves on the executive committee of the Pennsylvania State Conference of Trial Judges.

Bro. Wecht grew up in Pittsburgh where he and his wife, Valerie, now raise their three sons and daughter. "My children are my greatest accomplishment, and they always will be," Bro. Wecht added.

Prior to taking the bench on the Court of Common Pleas in 2003, Bro. Wecht was elected twice as Allegheny County's Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphan's Court. In that role, he provided justice for citizens and pioneered efforts to assist seniors with their wills and protect family members of slain victims. He was also a partner in The Wecht Law Firm at that time. His desire is always "to do justice fairly and equally on a daily basis and in all cases," Bro. Wecht said.

Bro. Wecht has always been a leader. In the late 1990s, he was honored in Pittsburgh Magazine's "The Fabulous Forty Under Forty" and received the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's "Fifty Finest" award, both which feature young and up-and-coming leaders.

This Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale University was selected as the notes editor of the "Yale Law Journal" at Yale Law School. Bro. Wecht gives to the next generation as an adjunct professor of law at Duquesne University School of Law and University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. He has shared his knowledge and experience through speaking at dozens of events and has written articles in numerous publications, most recently including, "Pennsylvania Family Lawyer."

Table of Contents | Index of Issues | Home