Along with the rest of the nation, the Kentwood,
Mich., chapter of Shriners of North America
is mourning the loss of fellow Shriner, President
Gerald R. Ford, who passed away on Dec. 26,
connection with the international fraternities
of Freemasonry and Shriners of North America
began at a young age – his father was an active
Mason and Shriner. Ford said in a 1976 speech,
however, that it was in 1934, while playing
center on the University of Michigan football
team, when his real personal exposure to the
Shrine began. During a speech given to Mohammed
Shriners in Illinois, Ford explained he was
selected to play in the fraternity’s 10th annual
East-West Shrine Game, an all-star college football
game that raises funds and awareness for Shriners
Hospitals for Children. As part of the game’s
festivities, he and the other players toured
the San Francisco Shriners Hospital (now located
was a tremendous experience for us on the Eastern
football team to go to that hospital and see
what is done to help unfortunate people, especially
young people,” Ford said. “And I learned…what
great people like all of you do, on a day-to-day
basis, to help those less fortunate than yourself.”
Sept. 30, 1949, along with his three half-brothers,
Ford was initiated at Malta Lodge #465, the
Masonic chapter in Grand Rapids, Mich. Through
the years, he earned his Fellowcraft and Master
Mason degrees, joined the Scottish Rite and
other Masonic organizations, and was awarded
a number of distinctions and honors. On Oct.
24, 1959, Ford became a Noble of Saladin Shriners
in Kentwood, Mich.
represented the Shriners fraternity on a number
of occasions. He made a guest appearance on
the Shriners Hospitals for Children 75th Anniversary
Television Special in 1997. He also was inducted
into the inaugural East-West Shrine Game Hall
of Fame class on Jan. 12, 2002.
Nobles have always been proud that President
Ford was a member of Shriners of North America.
The entire fraternity expresses deepest condolences
to his friends and family, especially his Lady
Betty and their children, Michael, Jack, Steven
and Susan, for the loss of this great man. He
truly was a Noble in every sense of the word.
THROUGH AND THROUGH
Gerald Ford stated, "Masonic principles--internal,
not external--and our order’s vision of duty
to country and acceptance of God as a Supreme
Being and guiding light have sustained me during
my years of Government service.
especially, the guidelines by which I strive
to become an upright man in Masonry give me
great personal strength.
precepts can help America retain our inspiring
aspirations while adapting to a new age.
is apparent to me that the Supreme Architect
has set out the duties each of us has to perform,
and I have trusted in His will with the knowledge
that my trust is well-founded."
to Brother Robert C. Carmen, and the Chancellor
Robert Livingston Masonic Library of the Grand
Lodge of New York for this photograph.
following is the text of a message of condolence
on the passing of our Brother Mason, Gerald
R. Ford, 38th President of the United States
of America and a member of Malta Lodge No 465,
Grand Rapids, Michigan. This statement
was issued December 27, 2006 by the Grand Masters
of New York and Michigan and the Executive Secretary
of the Masonic Service Association of North
R. Ford embodied the tenets of Freemasonry.
He upheld the values of personal integrity and
of being true to his word, and in a time of
great crisis, Brother Ford, a true patriot,
also sought to heal our ailing Nation.
As our President, he represented our fraternity
On behalf of the Grand Lodges of Free and Accepted
Masons of the States of Michigan and New York,
the Masonic Service Association of North America,
and Masons everywhere, we offer our sincere
condolences to Betty Ford and her family on
the passing of Brother Gerald Ford, a humble
man who calmly guided our country out of one
of its darkest hours."
Ford visited the George Washington Masonic National
Memorial in Alexandria, Va. on George Washington's
birthday in 1975 to unveil the bronze plaque
of himself that now hangs in the auditorium.
Bill Morlock gave me (Brother Don Robey) a picture
that the Navy photographer took that day moments
after Ford unveiled the plaque.
Click on thumbnail to enlarge photo
Left to right in the picture
are: Brother Gerald R. Ford, Worshipful Raymond
C. Ellis, Past Grand Master of New York and
the President of the GWMNM Assoc, Don Robey,
Worshipful Master of Alexandria- Washington
Lodge No. 22, (unknown), Most Worshipful Marvin
E. Fowler, Past Grand Master of District of
Columbia and Executive Secretary-Treasurer for
the GWMNM Assoc. The above picture and information
was provided by Brother Don Robey.
Gerald R. Ford, the thirty-eighth President
of the United States of America, was initiated
into Masonry on September 30, 1949, in Malta
Lodge No. 465, Grand Rapids Michigan, along
with his (half) brothers Thomas Gardner Ford
1918-1995, Richard Addison Ford 1924 and James
Francis Ford 1927. The Fellowcraft and Master
Mason Degrees were conferred by Columbia Lodge
No. 3, Washington, D.C., on April 20 and May
18, 1951, as a courtesy to Malta Lodge.