I first met Tim Uriah Thomason shortly after he was raised in 2016. He was a curious man. He was quiet and observant. I have half a dozen stories about Tim stunning us with his knowledge of various Masonic histories, facts, and interpretations of our teachings. We listened, and we learned. He was such an asset to the Masonic Fraternity, and not only to Illinois but to the Craft as a whole.
Many unique tributes and kind words were written about Tim in the last few weeks. One, in particular, caused me to contemplate after reading it...the words as I read them--pausing to think as I took them in and wiping my eyes. Tim was a special kind of Mason. He was one of those 3%ers. He was not just active at his home lodge, where he was the Current Worshipful Master at the time of his transition. He traveled all over the place. He was an honorary in a handful of Lodge's. He was an international member as well.
It took me a few days to write this because I just didn't feel like it was the right time. I suppose the time will never be right to type these kinds of things. I keep thinking that if Tim's transition affected me so strongly, someone who only spent occasional time with him, what do those closest to him feel? I can't imagine their pain and loss. Tim was only 36 years old. I feel like we lost an up-and-coming titan of Freemasonry. Tim already had legend status--It didn't matter where in the state something was happening...Tim might just walk in the door and be ready to get to work.
Tim's Masonic Service was a packed house. There was standing room only. Brothers of all ages, elbow to elbow, lined up to pay their respects to a Just and Upright Mason--Timothy Uriah Thomason. I looked around and thought, when we're old and pass on to the world to come, our peers come to gather and mourn our passing. Often times there aren't many people in attendance. I can't help but think this may be because the people we touched are also old, and many of them may have passed. Tim passed on so early in life--those people he touched are all still around, and it showed.
I don't know if anything I can say is better than what our Brother Ryan Flannagan posted. With Ryan's permission, I post his original words.
Your name badge said “Timothy U. Thomason Landmark Lodge #422”. You had just walked into a Stated Meeting in Springfield, something that members ten minutes away can’t be bothered to attend. And you drove from Joliet? I was skeptical, but you were a legit member. [I] figured I’d never see you again, but it wasn’t long before I realized there was no one in the state like you. While I rarely expected to see you, I learned never to be surprised to see you. So many events that were unforgettable in their own right, you were there. It was my good fortune, having met you that night in Springfield, that we’d frequently spend time together at these events, sometimes even hanging out afterwards despite you usually having a 2-3+ hour ride home. During the lockdown, you joined the Zoom calls a couple guys from [No.] 500 down here started. While everyone was trying to get a word in, crack a joke, or steer the conversation (most of the time me for all three), you’d just listen. When you did talk, everyone shut up because it was usually exactly what needed to be said. You were one of the guys that was supposed to come up with us, the guy we’d hear got appointed to some big position, the name we’d see on a list and say “Whatever else they’re doing, if they’re putting Tim in there, they’re doing something right.” You loved Masonry not just for what it could be, but for what it already was. You didn’t travel the State just for what you could get, but for what you could give. You sincerely enjoyed being with your brothers, and had a genuine love for the Fraternity unlike any Mason I’d ever met, and maybe ever will meet again. I woke up today to learn I’ll never see you again. I guess it’s one more Lodge you’ve visited before me. Until we meet again, dear friend and brother, until then, farewell. ~RW Bro. Ryan FlanaganThank you, Ryan, for articulating so well these sentiments.
RWB Johnson is a Co-Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Freemason out of the 2nd N.E. District of Illinois. He currently serves as the Secretary of Spes Novum Lodge No. 1183. He is a Past Master of Waukegan Lodge 78 and a Past District Deputy Grand Master for the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. He is the current V:. Sovereign Grand Inspector for AMD in I.L. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts weekly Podcasts (internet radio programs) Whence Came You? & Masonic Radio Theatre, which focuses on topics relating to Freemasonry. He is also a co-host of The Masonic Roundtable, a Masonic talk show. He is a husband and father of four, works full time in the executive medical industry. He is the co-author of "It's Business Time - Adapting a Corporate Path for Freemasonry," "The Master's Word: A Short Treatise on the Word, the Light, and the Self – Annotated Edition," and author of "How to Charter a Lodge: A No-Nonsense, Unsanctioned Guide. More books are on the way.