Volume LVIIIAugust 2011Number 3

The Ladies of the Fraternity

Sandy Lewis at the June 21 Initiation
Flag raising at the Johnstown Masonic Temple
Peggy Pine with her grandchildren, MyKenzie and Mason
Employees of the Masonic Temple - first row, left-right: Donna Brett, Glenys Waldman, Sandi Saba, Marie Wambold and Shenghua Kang; second row, left-right: MaryAnn Austin, Susan Rodriguez, Catherine Giaimo, Trish Oakley, Carole Alfe and Olga Mecznik
Tina Bloom as the Easter Bunny
Jan Harms with Jarrid Baker, grandson of R.W.Deputy Grand Master Jay W. Smith.

Following the May issue of "The Pennsylvania Freemason," submissions flooded in from brethren across the state wanting to champion the women who contribute selflessly to the Masonic fraternity in various ways. These ladies not only share values with their male counterparts, but live out those values in their daily lives, providing the wind under the wings of Freemasonry. We pay tribute to these cherished ladies!

Helping In a Time of Need

"The members of Clearfield Lodge No. 314 are fortunate to have ladies who are willing to volunteer their time to help with activities," Bro. Roger E. Marshall, P.M., Secretary, said. About seven years ago, the lodge began to host spaghetti dinner fund raisers which required much effort. The ladies came to the rescue!

Sylvia Spingola, Dorothy Kovalick, Ann Duncan, Flo Lutz, Linda Dale, Gwen Condon, Mary Swales and Andrea Moody set up the tables and made meatballs the night before. The next day, they served food. Flo brought her daughters to help.

During lodge-sponsored blood drives, Sylvia and Dorothy always assist the donors and serve snacks. The Moshannon Valley Assembly of Rainbow Girls No. 131 volunteers at fund raisers and dinners. Corin Monoskey, granddaughter of Bro. Jesse F. Mayhew, P.M., helped the Rainbow Girls at a chicken barbecue. When Bro. C. Fredrick Bloom Jr., S.W., organized an Easter egg hunt, his wife, Tina Bloom, dressed as the Easter Bunny. For many years, Bro. Ron Fulmer, P.M., has been setting up the lodge for meetings, and his wife, Linda Fulmer, accompanies him to vacuum the lodge room.

Creating Venues for Fellowship

Wilma Wilson, wife of Bro. Gregory D. Wilson, P.M., and mother of Bro. Gregory S. Wilson, P.M., both of Valley Lodge No. 459, Masontown, works tirelessly for the lodge. Well into her second decade of service, Wilma cooks and serves all the meals for the stated meetings and plays a crucial role in biweekly hoagie sale fund raisers. "Many regular attending members and visiting brothers have stated that it is Wilma's cooking that keeps them coming back," Bro. Jim Flanigan, District Deputy Grand Master of District 29, said. "We cannot thank her enough."

Beth Hinkle, wife of Bro. Gary Hinkle, P.M., Prince Edwin-Spring Creek Lodge No. 486, Middletown, also helps to plan functions, collect money and arrange ladies' programs, as do Nora Wenner, wife of Bro. Richard Wenner, P.M., W.M., Steelton-Swatara Lodge No. 775, Steelton, and Mary McClure, wife of Bro. David W. McClure, Orrstown Lodge No. 262.

A month after Thomas E. Morkin, P.M., Cumberland Star Lodge No. 197, Carlisle, became Worshipful Master, the lodge Steward stepped down. Understanding her husband's desire to create community, Karla Morkin stepped up to unofficially fill the role of Steward by preparing meals. When other needs arise, she calls the culinary or horticultural Vo-tech students at a local school to make hors d'oeuvres or flower arrangements for special occasions. Karla has acknowledged that Freemasonry has brought her and Bro. Morkin closer and helped her to meet friends when she first moved to the area.

Giving Unique Gifts

Vera Spangler, wife of Bro. Dean A. Spangler, W.M., Lansdowne Lodge No. 711, made Santa Clauses last Christmas and sold them to raise money for the Masonic Villages. Vera, Bro. Spangler and Bro. Doug Rickards, P.M., then visited the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown to give residents a Santa and candy canes. "The residents were so elated to see them and expressed tremendous appreciation for the token of love during the holidays," Bro. Ricky Swalm, District Deputy Grand Master of District 36, said.

Natalie Dreier, wife of Bro. James Dreier, W.M., Greater Johnstown Lodge No. 538, Johnstown, has lent her public relations skills to gain positive media attention for the fraternity. This represents a breakthrough from decades of inadequate media coverage in the local area. Natalie has also worked with Bro. Dreier to archive and display much of Cambria and Greater Johnstown Lodges' rich collection of historical artifacts and memorabilia in the Johnstown Masonic Temple. Natalie also served as Worthy Matron of the Anna Windolph Chapter No. 495, O.E.S., one of numerous honors in her Masonic credentials.

Sharing the Load

Just as Barbara Weisser supports her husband, R.W. Past Grand Master Edward O. Weisser, Newtown Lodge No. 427, Woodside; and Valerie Johnson supports Bro. Roger Johnson, District Deputy Grand Master of District 27; Pat Snyder is the right-hand woman to Bro. Albert A. Snyder, P.M., Swatara Lodge No. 267, Tremont. Even before Bro. Snyder served as Worshipful Master, Pat prepared meals and desserts for the many Masonic functions he attended. "It does not matter what Masonic function Al is involved with, she is always ready to cook up something," Bro. Robert C. Briggs, District Deputy Grand Master of District 58, said. She also helps at lodge events, does the lodge's housekeeping chores and supports her husband by doing work that often goes unnoticed by others.

For Peggy Pine, wife of Bro. Mark Pine, P.M., Secretary, Hiram Lodge No. 616, Altoona, if there's a function that involves serving food, she has usually prepared the fare. She has cooked meals for stated meetings for eight years and the Regional School of Instruction three times. Peggy ran a seven-week fish dinner fund raiser for the lodge, and will prepare a roast beef dinner for the regional One Day Masonic Journey. Sometimes, she even enlists the help of her two grandchildren, MyKenzie and Mason.

She also stands with Bro. Pine in his secretarial responsibilities by helping behind the scenes labeling and sealing monthly notices and taking them to the bulk mail center. "I can't say how much I appreciate my wife's help," Bro. Pine said.

Masonic Partnerships Enhance Impact

The members of the Morning Light Chapter No. 312, O.E.S., are an integral part of all the activities W. K. Bray Lodge No. 410, Hatboro, organizes. They cook and serve meals for stated meetings and coordinate activity tables for children during pancake breakfasts. W. K. Bray Lodge, in turn, helps Morning Light Chapter with its many benevolent activities. "This close association has precluded the need for our brothers to encourage our wives to assist in structuring and running our events; and as a result, they instead get to enjoy the activities rather than having to work them," Bro. Luis Ramon Lasa, W.M., said.

Clare Hare, Past Matron, and Nancy Schlaver, Past Matron and Past Secretary, are a happy addition to the lodge activities. "These two ladies are a constant presence in our lodge, and their untiring support is reflective of the close association that exists between the ladies of the chapter and our lodge," Bro. Lasa said.

Jan Harms, wife of Bro. Douglas Harms, P.M., Secretary, Perseverance Lodge No. 21, Harrisburg, and member of the O.E.S., is the Chapter Advisor for Pilgrim Chapter of DeMolay and event coordinator for the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown. She works behind the scenes at lodge events, banquets and programs held on the campus and beyond. Her skills and connections are instrumental in involving the Masonic youth groups with the lodges in Region 2.

Judi Walsh, Greater Johnstown Chapter No. 183, O.E.S., has worked tirelessly to help revive the Johnstown Chapter, Rainbow for Girls, from peril of dissolution to a vital and growing group. In addition to ritual education, Judi and many of her O.E.S. sisters have organized craft activities, Christmas caroling at a local retirement community and beautification projects for the Johnstown Temple. While planning projects, the ladies strive to weave the various Masonic groups' activities together.

One of the most impressive visible examples of the ladies' support was at the flag raising and rededication at the Johnstown Masonic Temple. Not only were brethren from the various Masonic organizations represented in their regalia, but a proud contingent of O.E.S., Rainbow for Girls and Beauceant ladies were present to celebrate.

Building the Fraternity through Youth

Becky Leidig and her husband, Bro. Jess A. Leidig III, George Washington Lodge No. 143, Chambersburg, as well as Jeanine Larkin, wife of Bro. Michael Larkin, Steelton-Swatara Lodge No. 775, Steelton, and District Youth Chairman for the 2nd Masonic District, are extremely dedicated to their local Masonic youth groups. They go out of their way to help with anything that needs to be planned, served, achieved or finished. In Elizabethtown, Deb Vanek, wife of Bro. Greg Vanek, Abraham C. Treichler Lodge No. 682, Elizabethtown, stepped up to become the Chapter Advisor for Elizabethtown Chapter of DeMolay because no man was available.

Because of her career, Sandy Lewis, secretary to the assistant principal in the Franklin Area School District, understands children need suitable activities to help them develop into responsible adults. "Growing up, I found the Masonic family was very special," she said. Sandy now belongs to Morris Chapter No. 14, Oil City, O.E.S.

As the Mother Advisor for Rainbow Assembly No. 19, Franklin, she has worked diligently to help the girls develop fraternal love and values. The assembly serves meals for Masonic lodges and Eastern Star chapters, makes lap quilts for nursing home residents and shut-ins, volunteers at the humane society and local nursing homes, and will help with the Cruz 4 Kids Car Show in Erie to benefit the Shriners' Hospitals.

In addition, Sandy is working with Petrolia Lodge No. 363, Oil City; Myrtle Lodge No. 316, Franklin; and Masons from nearby lodges to constitute a DeMolay chapter. A board has been assembled, and at least two young men have an interest in joining. Sandy hopes to get the chapter up and running this fall.

Grand Lodge Staff Support

Carole Alfe, Masonic Library and Museum store manager for four and a half years, expanded the store, purchases merchandise and maintains a webstore. Because she meets visitors in the shop, she has become an unofficial "tour guide" for the city of Philadelphia.

MaryAnn Austin, administrative assistant, has been employed by the Grand Lodge for five years. She supports the Grand Master, Grand Secretary and others. She is the go-to person for Masonic Education supplies and for business reimbursements.

Donna Brett, a 20-year employee, is the staff accountant for Grand Lodge and the Masonic Library and Museum.

Cathy Giaimo, assistant librarian in the Masonic Library and Museum for 15 years, sends books requested through the Library's on-line catalog, answers visitors' questions, assists researchers and keeps the on-line catalog up to date.

Sunny Kang has been the distribution clerk for three years. She sends and receives mail deliveries, assists with mass mailings and educational material and helps the Grand Secretary.

Marge Lodek has worked for the Grand Holy Royal Arch Chapter of Pennsylvania for more than 30 years at the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia.

Olga Mecznik, executive assistant for almost 30 years, keeps minutes for the Grand Lodge Communications and other meetings, updates publications, handles correspondences, assists the Grand Secretary and conducts membership research.

Trish Oakley, administrative assistant to the building superintendent for 13 ½ years, assists with the daily staffing and operation of the Temple. She is on call 24/7 when the superintendent is not available.

Susan J. Rodriguez, who has worked for the Grand Lodge for 23 years, is the auditor. She reviews the financial data from lodges and trustees for compliance with various governing boards.

The administrative assistant to the Grand Master, Sandi Saba, has worked at the Masonic Temple for 11 years. She is responsible for the Grand Master's e-mail, event and travel schedules, correspondence to other jurisdictions and management of Masonic certificates.

Glenys A. Waldman, senior research librarian and employee for 24 years, answers a variety of questions for Masons and curious visitors. She also writes lodge histories, catalogues printed materials and does some translating.

Marie Wambold, senior administrative assistant, works with lodge secretaries on membership records and advice on Masonic law.

To all of the ladies of the Masonic fraternity - listed and unlisted - we end with the words of Bro. William J. Huston, District Deputy Grand Master of District 41: "Our heartfelt thanks is the very least that we can offer to those who not only share the love and values of Freemasonry in their hearts, but also are indispensable in our efforts to help our great fraternity thrive and grow!"

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