Island City Lodge - A Farewell
by Midnight Freemason Contributor
RWB Michael H. Shirley
My family’s annual two-week sojourn north has come and gone, where. I usually manage to get to a stated meeting and a breakfast at my lodge there, Island City No. 330, F & A.M., but the first Wednesday of June fell on the first this year, and we arrived the Saturday after, so I was only able to go to breakfast each week. Both times it was a pleasant way to catch up with Brethren I don’t see otherwise, and whose fellowship I value.
On my first visit there a few years ago, Worshipful Brother Bill Hughes was in the East. I didn’t get much of a chance to know Bill, but over the years it became clear to me that he was a committed member of the Lodge, always doing what was he was asked, and filling whatever need he could. This year, he was Senior Warden. If I recall correctly, he wasn’t at the first breakfast this year, but was certainly at the second one. I didn’t have much of a chance to talk with him, but we were able to exchange greetings. I didn't manage to say goodbye to him when I left, but I wish I had, because he died, suddenly and unexpectedly, two weeks later. I found out when I received my monthly email lodge bulletin. It contained his obituary:
FAREWELL TO A BELOVED BROTHER
We mourn the loss of Brother Bill Hughes, who was called from labor by the Great Architect on Saturday June 27th. He now dwells in the Lodge Eternal with those who have gone before.
He was Raised an Entered Apprentice on February 1st, 1970, Passed to Fellowcraft on February 21st, 1970, and raised to the Sublime Level of Master Mason on April 18th, 1970, in Valley Station, Kentucky.
Bill was a Past Master and Trustee of the lodge. This year he sat in the West as Senior Warden. Brother Bill was devoted member of the lodge, and cheerfully made himself available for the numerous lodge projects that required him. We will carry with us fond memories of his soft Kentucky accent, and cheerful sense of humor.
Bill is survived by his wife Marge, two sons, Mike and Travis, daughter-in-law Jenny, and two grandchildren, Riley and Bryson.
There’s not much I can add to that, save this: Brother Bill Hughes reminds me, and should remind all of us, that the messenger of death comes when least expected; that nothing we do on this earth is matters, save those things that work toward the growth and perfection of individual character, which necessarily means loving our fellow creatures and working toward their betterment. This he did. We remember Brethren like Bill with affection and admiration because those departed Brethren are exemplars of what Masonry is. As the Illinois Masonic funeral ritual reminds us, “while our eyes may be dim with tears as we think of our departed brother, we may also, in the sincerity of our hearts, accord to his memory the commendation of having lived a useful and exemplary life, and as a just and upright Mason.” So may we all be remembered.
R.W.B. Michael H. Shirley serves the Grand Lodge of Illinois, A.F. & A.M, as Leadership Development Chairman and Assistant Area Deputy Grand Master of the Eastern Area. A Certified Lodge Instructor, he is a Past Master and Life Member of Tuscola Lodge No. 332 and a plural member of Island City Lodge No. 330, F & AM, in Minocqua, Wisconsin. A Scottish Rite Mason, he is past Most Wise Master of the George E. Burow Chapter of Rose Croix in the Valley of Danville, AASR-NMJ; he is also a member of the Illinois Lodge of Research, the York Rite, Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees, Eastern Star, Illini High Twelve, and the Tall Cedars of Lebanon.The author of several articles on British history, he teaches at Eastern Illinois University.You can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org