Solemn Strikes the Funeral Chime

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Darin A. Lahners

Darin and Allan
I’m pretty sure that if you’re a Freemason, you immediately recognize the title of this article as the first line of the Masonic Funeral Dirge. The dirge was composed by Bro. David Vinton in 1816 and it is set musically to Pleyel’s Hymn which was composed by Bro. Ignaz Joseph Pleyel in 1791. But the purpose of this article isn’t to discuss the Funeral Dirge, I’m writing it to honor a friend and Brother, Allan Mackiewicz. Allan passed recently, December 8, 2019, after a battle with Cancer. He was diagnosed on April 24, 2018 with stage 4 kidney cancer which spread to his lungs and eventually his brain.

I first met Allan in 2003. I had overheard some co-workers at the time discussing baseball, and being a huge baseball fan, I immediately struck up a conversation. I quickly learned that they were in a PC baseball league, which used a game called Diamond Mind Baseball to simulate outcomes of the games that were played. It is a descendant of dice and charts baseball simulations such as Strat-O-Matic baseball and Pursue the Pennant. I expressed my interest in joining the league, and I seem to recall that the league was full at the time, but one of the “Owners” quit after the season, and I took over that team. I met Allan at the annual draft of debut players and free agents that next year.

Allan loved the art of the baseball deal. In Allan’s eyes, no one was untradeable. In fact, the other guys in the league would joke that Allan would win multiple championships if he held onto his players. He would agonize over trades, and then literally days after making the trade, he would trade away the player he just agonized over away, only to begin the process again. I think he got a thrill out of seeing who he could trade for. As proof of this, you can visit the league trade page, (, pick a random year and see how many trades that Allan’s team (The Westville Warriors) made. After learning of his passing yesterday, many of the other members of our league have shared similar stories of Allan’s love of wheeling and dealing and their experiences with him. 

I think Allan and I hit it off because Allan had a great and somewhat twisted sense of humor, like myself. When he first told me of his cancer diagnosis, I joked with him that he was just using cancer as ploy to get pity trades from me. He immediately ran with it, and it became a running joke of ours. One of my favorite memories of Allan’s sense of humor took place at the draft held in January of 2005. One of our friends and fellow team owner, Scott, had a bowling league tournament that day, but he had the second overall pick in the draft that year. He wanted to draft David Wright with the pick, and had given us a list of players to draft for him. I thought it would be funny to prank Scott by telling him we drafted another player instead of David Wright with that pick. Allan immediately jumped on board with the prank. When Scotty called to check on the draft, Allan informed him of the pick we made for him which was not David Wright. Needless to say, Scotty was not happy with the selection. After his tournament, Scott showed up at my friend Tim’s place, where the draft was being held. We all had a good laugh when we came in all pissed off and we explained the ruse to him. We still laugh about it at every draft.

Allan was a great man. I remember when I was Den Leader for my youngest son’s Cub Scout Webelos den, we needed to visit either a fire or police department for one of the Webelos Pins that the kids needed for that rank. Allan was a captain with the Westville Police Department, and when I asked if I could bring the den over to visit the police department, he answered yes without even clearing it with his supervisors. Allan worked the night shift, but he was there to greet us that day, even though he had only had a few hours of sleep. He arranged for the K-9 unit to put on a demonstration, introduced the kids to the chief of police, and showed off their squad cars. Allan was a kind, generous and genuine person. Not only did he serve his community as a public servant, he also was heavily involved with the Westville Recreation Baseball League, serving as board president for a number of years and he played an integral part in getting additions added to Zamberletti Park in Westville for youth sports that used the facility.

Allan had hosted our annual baseball draft for the past several years at his home in Westville. As I was leaving in 2017, Allan pulled me aside to ask if I would sign his petition for Masonic Degrees. I was extremely honored to do so. I hope that in the brief examples I’ve shared, that I have shown that Allan was more than worthy of being a Freemason. Allan was petitioning to join Catlin Masonic Lodge #285 in Catlin, Illinois. Allan received his diagnosis while undergoing his degrees, so there was long gap between him receiving his EA, Fellowcraft and his Master Mason degrees. Allan was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason on August 20, 2018. The irony of the evening wasn’t lost on me or many others given Allan’s diagnosis, especially during the second section of that degree. It was a beautiful degree. Allan joined the Valley of Danville, AASR Northern Jurisdiction at the fall reunion and became a 32 degree Scottish Rite Mason on October 27, 2018. He also was able to meet fellow Midnight Freemason, Travis Simpkins, at that reunion; and I know that they had a wonderful friendship because of that meeting. I’m very happy to know that Allan was able to impact the lives of many of my fellow Freemasons here in East Central Illinois, and they were able to experience the joy that he brought into my life for many years through our friendship.

Allan was optimistic regarding his health even up to the end, I think due to his strong faith in God. I really believe that he believed that he was going to beat cancer, and he maintained his belief up until the end of his battle. He had many of us convinced that he would too due to his heroic and optimistic attitude. I hope that if I’m ever facing a similar battle that I can battle it with as much grace and courage as Allan. There will be a huge hole in my life with his passing, and I’m sure that everyone that knew him has a similar feeling. It’s funny after hearing the news yesterday, and being pretty devastated by it, I was able to find our texts and messages on Facebook and emails, and I felt some comfort in having them. It’s like having special moments between us frozen in time, and that gave me reassurance for some odd reason. Allan leaves behind his wife Marla, and two daughters Ally and Myla. 

Requiescat in Pace my friend and brother. You will be missed.


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