Upcoming 145th Communication of the Grand Lodge (posted April 2019)

The 145th Communication of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota will be held June 20-22 at the Best Western Ramkota in Sioux Falls.


Grand Lodge Guest Speaker

We are pleased to announce that Brother Scott Wolter will be our guest speaker for Friday evening’s Grand Masters Banquet at this year’s Annual Communication. Brother Wolter is best known as the host of the hit show America Unearthed, which begins a new season this month on The Travel Channel. He is the author of several books, with the soon to be released Cryptic Code of the Templars in America being the subject of his presentation.

Professionally, Scott, a forensic geologist, founded American Petrographic Services in St. Paul, MN in 1990 and continues to serve as President. He has been the principal petrographer in more than 7,000 material forensic investigations throughout the world, including the evaluation of fire-damaged concrete from the Pentagon following the attacks of September 11, 2001.
If you haven’t already, please be sure to register for this year’s session in Sioux Falls. Please note: you must be registered and have purchased a banquet ticket for Friday evening to attend the presentation. Attire is formal tuxedo or suit and tie.


50-Year Pin Presentation

Brother Perry DePoy of Eagle Butte Lodge #172 in Eagle Butte was presented with his 50-Year Pin on May 20 at Eagle Butte Lodge. Brother DePoy’s pinning had a very good turnout, with family members, Lodge brothers and District Master Wade Kopren in attendance. Despite the chilly day (and the chilly lodge until the furnace caught up!), it was a great evening of catching up and visiting amongst members.

L-R: Mike O’Neal, Robert L. Booth, Terry O’Neal, Walker Rose, Andrew Schuler, Darla DePoy (daughter), Joe Rose, Joseph Balderas, Robyn DePoy (daughter-in-law), Chuck LeCompte, Shannon DePoy (son), Hailey DePoy (granddaughter), Perry DePoy, Ardis DePoy (wife), Ben Booth, Travis Spiel, Case DePoy (grandson), Robert H. Mader, Robert B. Mader, Dan Booth, Wade Kopren


Worshipful Brother Eide Honored

WB Allen Eide of Jeptha Lodge #121 was presented with his 50-Year Pin from PGM Virgil Andersen, with Allen’s wife Elaine looking on, at the annual Recognition Banquet held May 5 at Jeptha Lodge #121 in Hudson, SD.


2019 Black Hills Hero Award

Presented by Whitney Rencountre, Chairman Visit Rapid City Board of Directors

Since 1990, Visit Rapid City has presented the Black Hills Hero Award to a person or organization instrumental in bringing a large number of people to Rapid City and the Black Hills for an event or convention.
This year we are thrilled to acknowledge a very deserving group for their leadership, vision and hard work. Since learning Rapid City had been awarded the 2019 Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America in 2016, members from the Masons Grand Lodge of South Dakota have been working diligently alongside Visit Rapid City to host this prestigious group.
For three years the local planning committee worked to create a monumental experience for their fellow Masons — and they DID! From February 16 through 19, Masons from all over the world traveled to Rapid City to congregate and experience the beautiful sites of our city and the surrounding Black Hills and Badlands.
This annual conference is the largest gathering of Grand Masters in the world and the local planning committee extended a BIG South Dakota welcome and warm hospitality to 880 delegates - making it the largest conference in nearly four decades, all during Rapid City’s 2nd coldest winter on record.
The Masons would like to give a shout out to the Best Western Ramkota Hotel, Minerva’s, Grand Gateway Hotel, Hilton Garden Inn, Country Inn & Suites, Quality Inn, Stagecoach West / Mt. Rushmore Tours, Rapid City Regional Airport, Prairie Edge Trading Co., Landstrom’s Mount Rushmore Gold Factory, Xanterra at Mount Rushmore, Black Hills Central Reservations, Mt. Rushmore Society, Crazy Horse Memorial, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota Air and Space Museum and Chapel in the Hills for their contributions and helping make the convention a BIG success.
On behalf of Visit Rapid City, it is my honor to present the Black Hills Hero award to the Grand Lodge of South Dakota. Accepting the award are members from the local planning committee: Mike Rodman (Chairman), Jack Welker, Harold Ireland, Steve Barns, Jeff VanCuren, Brian Cole, Herbert Cook, Dave Meltz, Kevin Karley, Yancey Smith, and Bill Coffield.
Visit Rapid City would like to sincerely thank the Grand Masters of Masons for Doing Big Things. Congratulations!


2019 Black Hills Hero Award

Presented by Whitney Rencountre, Chairman Visit Rapid City Board of Directors

Since 1990, Visit Rapid City has presented the Black Hills Hero Award to a person or organization instrumental in bringing a large number of people to Rapid City and the Black Hills for an event or convention.
This year we are thrilled to acknowledge a very deserving group for their leadership, vision and hard work. Since learning Rapid City had been awarded the 2019 Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America in 2016, members from the Masons Grand Lodge of South Dakota have been working diligently alongside Visit Rapid City to host this prestigious group.
For three years the local planning committee worked to create a monumental experience for their fellow Masons — and they DID! From February 16 through 19, Masons from all over the world traveled to Rapid City to congregate and experience the beautiful sites of our city and the surrounding Black Hills and Badlands.
This annual conference is the largest gathering of Grand Masters in the world and the local planning committee extended a BIG South Dakota welcome and warm hospitality to 880 delegates - making it the largest conference in nearly four decades, all during Rapid City’s 2nd coldest winter on record.
The Masons would like to give a shout out to the Best Western Ramkota Hotel, Minerva’s, Grand Gateway Hotel, Hilton Garden Inn, Country Inn & Suites, Quality Inn, Stagecoach West / Mt. Rushmore Tours, Rapid City Regional Airport, Prairie Edge Trading Co., Landstrom’s Mount Rushmore Gold Factory, Xanterra at Mount Rushmore, Black Hills Central Reservations, Mt. Rushmore Society, Crazy Horse Memorial, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota Air and Space Museum and Chapel in the Hills for their contributions and helping make the convention a BIG success.
On behalf of Visit Rapid City, it is my honor to present the Black Hills Hero award to the Grand Lodge of South Dakota. Accepting the award are members from the local planning committee: Mike Rodman (Chairman), Jack Welker, Harold Ireland, Steve Barns, Jeff VanCuren, Brian Cole, Herbert Cook, Dave Meltz, Kevin Karley, Yancey Smith, and Bill Coffield.
Visit Rapid City would like to sincerely thank the Grand Masters of Masons for Doing Big Things. Congratulations!


Brother Sandquist Honored

Brother Gary R. Sandquist of Redfield Lodge #34 in Redfield was awarded his 50-Year Pin by District Master Doug Bjorke of District 9. The presentation took place on May 15 during a stated meeting of Redfield Lodge with 20 members in attendance.

DM Doug Bjorke, Kate Sandquist (wife), Bro Gary Sandquist, WM Darrell Schutte


Winner Lodge #166 Holds Widows Recognition Night

The Brothers of Winner Lodge #166 in Winner honored Masonic widows with a dinner and program on May 12.

Seated, left to right: Patsy Schlaikjer, Ramona Stiehl, Clarine Black, Jo Green, Bobbi Viedt, Beverly Burnham. Standing, left to right: Doug Nelson, Jack Frantz, Richard Ringstmeyer, Jim Halvorsen, Dan Patmore.


60-Year Awards Presented

Brothers Bert Ryno and Robert Pierce of White River Lodge #181, were presented with their 60-Year Pins by WB Jack Frantz, DM of District #12, on May 6 in White River.

WB Jack Frantz, WB Robert Pierce, WB Bert Ryno, and White River Lodge WM Bill Sinclair.


From the South (posted May 2019)

I truly cannot believe this is my last article for my year as Junior Grand Warden. It has been quite a year to say the least! I am grateful for the support of South Dakota Masons and look forward to the next step in my Masonic journey.
In my home Lodge we have a number of “young” Masons who ask the question “What is Grand Lodge? Is it the elected line? Is it the building with the office in Sioux Falls? Is it the session we conduct every June?” The answer is yes to all those questions. But they all seem to miss the most obvious answer. You and I are the Grand Lodge. Each and every Mason on the record makes up the Grand Lodge of South Dakota. The Grand Lodge officers are either elected or appointed to a position which represents constituent Lodges and the individual Mason. We all should keep that in mind when making decisions about the future and the path forward. In my humble opinion there is no place for personal agendas in our Jurisdiction. As elected officers it is our duty to respect the path others have chosen to get us here, work TOGETHER to make decisions that have a positive effect on all South Dakota Masons, and allow Brothers who may not agree with our current course to speak freely and have civil debate on any issues they may raise. It is okay to disagree. All Brothers need to feel they can approach any one of us with concerns and not feel that their ideas are invalid or have someone else’s idea crammed down their throat. In our annual communication we should trust that our Grand Lodge of Masons in attendance, through civil debate, can and will make the right decisions for the future of our great Fraternity.
I have been asked about the debate of a “progressive line” when it comes to our Grand Lodge officers. I believe our line is not a progressive line. The Junior and Senior Grand Wardens and the Deputy Grand Master are up for election at our annual communication. This means if our Brethren think there should be a change it will be voted on in June. As an elected officer I personally have never thought the next step is guaranteed. If the path the Grand Lodge officers have chosen is in question there are ways to remedy this with the nomination and election process.
There seems to be a theme of getting like-minded Masons into these leadership positions to allow progression of the current programs that have been put in place. I will share part of a communication I received when I was elected JGW. “We as GL Elected Line have been working as a TEAM and we want to continue working as a TEAM. Your opinion matters and you should give it, but if you get outvoted, please support the decision as if it were your own.” Well, yes, if I am outvoted I am outvoted but my reputation as a Mason is mine to defend if need be. I am not going to have my name associated with something with which I don’t agree. I am not obligated to follow a path that does not follow my own personal Masonic beliefs; especially when I believe it is not the common feeling of the majority of our Jurisdiction. I am more than willing to put my personal ideas aside if, after consideration, I find it is not in the best interest of the individual Mason in South Dakota. It is up to me to research, and you my Brothers, to communicate what the way forward should be. I do not believe it is my job to tell you what Freemasonry is and should be. I strongly encourage you to be open-minded, free-thinking and active participants in defining Masonry in South Dakota. We can only do this together; keeping in mind we should not unintentionally alienate large numbers of our Craft, old or new, during the process.
Thank you all for allowing me to serve Masonry in South Dakota. The lines of communication are open and I look forward to working with all of you. Please attend the Annual Communication in June. Remember YOU are the Grand Lodge of South Dakota.

Jason D Swindler, Junior Grand Warden  


Tidings from the Grand Treasurer-Secretary (posted May 2019)

It is difficult to believe that my second term as Grand Treasurer-Secretary is coming to an end. As much as I feel I’ve made good strides since I started this journey, there are still more things that l want to accomplish. So, here I am ready to try again. So, where do we start with our efforts?
For the longest time we’ve been asking are we doing things right. But it is now time to ask instead, are we doing the right things. If we are seeking change to improve ourselves and our community, then we are pursuing a noble endeavor. But, what is the value of our efforts if our idea of improvement is at the expense of someone else. No one has ever improved themselves by the hindering or suppression of others. Now is the time to stand for something; for growth, for strengthening our character, and for demonstrating character and civility in a world that seems devoid of these characteristics. We are in a position to take the lead but only if we are doing the right things.

Terry Knutson, Grand Treasurer-Secretary  


From the Deputy (posted May 2019)

Brethren, it has been a pleasure and an absolute honor to serve as your Deputy Grand Master/Grand Master Elect this past year. It seems each year the time flies by faster and we never get everything accomplished that we would like. However, your Grand Lodge has accomplished many things and represented the great Masons of South Dakota well.
This year has been jam packed with the normal activities in supporting the Craft of this grand jurisdiction, but also added responsibilities of preparing for the largest event ever hosted by South Dakota Freemasons, the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America. Our year began with participating in a Planning Meeting at the conference site in Rapid City on 2-5 May 2018. At that time we provided an update from our South Dakota Planning Committee to the Conference Planning Committee on all the activities, events, scheduling, tours, entertainment, religious services, professional photographer, medical support, lodging update, airport support, welcome bags, greeters and volunteer support requirements and details. As you can see from the previous listing we had already accomplished an immense amount of work prior to that meeting. Your SD Planning Committee had spent the better part of three (3) years planning and developing the event and it was evident by all the great accolades received from the participants at the conference. The conference was held 14-20 February in Rapid City at the Ramkota Convention Center. The Hilton Garden Inn and Grand Gateway hotels were our main overflow hotels but other hotels also lodged some of the participants. I cannot give enough thanks to our 78 volunteers who assisted in ensuring this was the greatest Conference of Grand Masters ever held with nearly 900 guests from 25 countries represented. Our South Dakota hospitality got a standing ovation from the attendees when volunteers were introduced at the closing session of the conference. If you were unable to attend this once in a lifetime experience you missed a great event.
On 18-19 May 2018, we attended the 125th Anniversary of the Northwest Mounted Police and Ft Buford in North Dakota. Much of the early territorial development in the Dakota Territory can trace its roots back to Masonic involvement and influence. This was a great historical event and it made me proud to say I am a Mason and that we should emulate the great examples displayed by our founders.
As one of your Grand Lodge Officers, I participated in the Annual Communications of our neighboring jurisdictions as well as the Midwest Conference of Grand Lodges and the Midwest Conference on Masonic Education this past year. I participated in many District Meetings; Lodge Installation Ceremonies; 50, 60, and 70 Year Longevity Award Ceremonies; Widows and Ladies Luncheons; George Washington Dinners; High Twelve presentations; Child Identification Programs; Civility Champion Award presentations; Daughters of the Nile Supreme Queen Recognition Banquet; Civilian Partner Award or Recognition ceremonies and dinners (Mines Football Feed, First Responders, Delta Dental, Douglas High School, etc.); and attended many Lodge Communications in South Dakota.
Your Grand Lodge has many artifacts and historic treasures that need to be properly cared for and preserved for future Masons to enjoy as well. We have started the process to establish and accomplish tasks to properly identify, store, and catalogue our historic articles. As Masons we owe it to ourselves and our Brothers to save our history. If you are interested in helping with this process please let me know as we move forward with this most important program.
As Deputy Grand Master, I was responsible to coordinate and accomplish our Grand Lodge sponsored Leadership Seminar in Pierre this past September. We were fortunate to have MWB Bob Conley, PGM of Michigan as our guest presenter again at the seminar. This training is open to any Lodge member but is geared toward the development of Lodge Leadership. We would especially like all Lodge Wardens to attend and help them develop their calendar of events for their year as Worshipful Master of the Lodge. Additionally, we conducted District Master (DM) training on Friday to provide guidance from the Grand Lodge on our programs and instruct the new District Masters on their duties and responsibilities. Great feedback is gained by discussing the requirements and what works by some of the DMs in their areas. We all learn by sharing our experiences and activities. Information on the next Leadership Seminar will be available at the Annual Communication in June.
I represented the Grand Lodge at the 125th Anniversary Celebration of the Deadwood Valley Scottish Rite, in Deadwood on 3 November 2018. This excellent event displayed many of the rosters, pictures, journals and information about the establishment of that community and area, as well as the influence Masonry had in the development of western South Dakota. Membership in that Valley covers most of western South Dakota, some of Montana and Wyoming.
We will host another 100th Anniversary Celebration at Mt Roosevelt and Friendship Tower on 6 July 2019 at the site above Deadwood. This will be a Territorial event with participation from both South and North Dakota Grand Lodges, so mark your calendars and plan to join us in this historic event. Also we have many Constituent Lodges that have anniversaries that we would like to accomplish Rededication Ceremonies for over the next year. Additional information on the Mt Roosevelt and Friendship Tower event will be covered in another article.
It has been a privilege to serve as your Deputy Grand Master/Grand Master Elect and I look forward to continuing the great programs that we have started in this jurisdiction. If each of our Masons picked a program that he could support and helped with educating ourselves and communities just think of the influence we can have. Not only will our fraternity be better recognized but bringing civility back into our works could be one of the most valuable things we could accomplish at this juncture in time.
Harold D. Ireland, Deputy Grand Master  


Brother Rich Smith Honored (posted April 2019)

At 101 years old Rich Smith climbed the steps to Philip Lodge #153 with vigor of a man many years his junior. A firm handshake greeted the Brothers assembled for the evening.
It was a special night. Not only was Rich getting his 60-Year-Pin, not only were Philip and Wall combining to do Master Mason work, not only was it because his Grandson held the gavel in the East, it was because his family had assembled.
Rich has a Masonic legacy that would be hard equal. Six descendants have had the gavel in the East. Two have been District Master. Two have proudly wore the green jacket as members of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota. Eight descendants wear the apron as a square, and on this night there were four generations present.
After the first section of Master Mason degree work Rich was presented his 60-Year-Pin by his grandson, Lincoln Smith, who is the Master of Philip #153. Lodge moved on to the last sections of degree work where four of his eight descendants had a part. He stayed for all of it.
Philip has not had a reason to count their chairs or aprons in memory. On this night it happened. Forty-seven chairs. Forty-seven Master Masons. Forty-seven aprons.
This is a legacy that may have never been equalled and may never be exceeded in the history of man. Job well done, young man!

The nine Smith decedents in attendance.

Four generations that wear a square apron.


From the East (posted April 2019)

It’s an odd sensation, but this will be my final article as Grand Master. In many ways, the year has seemed to fly by, while in others it seems like an incredibly long time. We have had amazing accomplishments this year, perhaps none greater than hosting the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America. This is one of the most significant Masonic events that has ever occurred in our state and we all owe a well-earned congratulations and thank you to those who helped make it a reality.
As we approach our Grand Lodge annual communication, we all need to assess our values, what Masonry has meant to the many generations who came before us, and what it means to each of us. Personally, I am a strong believer in our Masonic Code and its included landmarks. We all took our obligation to live by and uphold them as the foundation of our fraternity. I don’t believe that the core of our Craft in South Dakota should be altered, and the attacks on the Landmarks, Constitution, and the powers of the Grand Master must stop.
When the Grand Lodge of South Dakota was formed, our founding fathers determined that including a defining list of landmarks was not only necessary, but they go as far to state “... do hereby affirm our adherence to the ancient landmarks of Freemasonry and furthermore do ordain and establish this Constitution ... in which, insofar as they are Landmarks, it is not in the power of any man, or body of men, to make innovation are as follows” and they proceed to list out each landmark. While some Grand Lodge jurisdictions do not list the landmarks, we do. They were placed in our Constitution for a reason; so that they will not be moved elsewhere in our code or altered in any way. If they are moved out of the Constitution, they become more vulnerable to being changed or even removed.
The Grand Lodge is not a 3-tiered democratic form of government. Both the Trustees and Jurisprudence serve as cabinets to the Grand Master. The Grand Master, like the Master of a Lodge, is the ultimate authority on ALL aspects of Masonry in his jurisdiction. This is one of the core defining characteristics that has existed as long as our recorded knowledge, and is maintained through every jurisdiction in all of Masonry worldwide. Those areas practicing a form of Masonry in any other way are considered clandestine. I believe that attempts to decrease the powers of the Grand Master and/or elevate the powers of those two boards is a step in a dangerous direction that could have a long lasting and devastating effect on Masonry in our state.
This issue of the Masonic Messenger contains information and registration materials regarding our upcoming annual communication in June. New officers will be elected, legislation presented, the South Dakota Lodge of Masonic Research will hold session, and you’ll have the opportunity to gather with Masons from across the state and beyond. I sincerely hope that many of you will consider joining us in Sioux Falls for this event, in fact, I feel it’s crucial that you attend.
May peace within the Craft prevail, and Brotherly love unite and cement us.
DaNiel D. Wood, Grand Master of Masons  


Living History (posted April 2019)

Nick and Carolyn Clifford pose with the George Washington Bible at the Mt. Rushmore dinner during the 2019 Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America with Carl Closs, George Washington reenactor in the background. Brother Nick, 97, is the last surviving sculptor of the Mt. Rushmore National Memorial. He stated that he was excited to be a part of the CGMMNA conference and gave a few remarks during the dinner. He also commented how honored he was to get to hold the Bible that George Washington took his Masonic oaths on.
During the 75th Masonic Anniversary celebration of the completion of the Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, Nick said that he was originally hired to work on the Memorial more for his baseball skills than as a carver. He also stated how proud he is to have been a part of the creation of the Shrine of Democracy.


Brother Sieler Honored (posted April 2019)

The Masonic 60-Year Pin was presented to Brother Ephriam Sieler on March 30 in Rapid City. The ceremony was attended by members of the Grand Lodge line, the Masters of District 16 and 17 and numerous family and friends. Brother Sieler attained the sublime degree of Master Mason February 18, 1959, at Spearfish Lodge #18 and affiliated with Ionic Lodge #83 December 19, 1963, where he served as Master of the Lodge in 1976.

DGM Harold Ireland, Master District #17 Harold Walker, Brother Dave Meltz Civility Ambassador, PGM Yancy Smith, Brother Ep Seiler, Hilda Seiler, Beth Seiler, and GSD Jeff Van Curren


Arcania #97 Honors Brothers (posted April 2019)

Brothers Charles Thaler and Roland Crisman were presented 60-Year Pins following the regular meeting of Arcania Lodge #97 on March 5.
District #10 Master Larry Hornstra presented the pins. The Brothers were both raised on the same night, December 18, 1958, in Alpha Lodge #139 of Wagner. Both affiliated with Arcania Lodge #97 of Armour in 2012. Roland’s wife Mame pinned on his 60-Year Award. Charles’s son Robert pinned the award on his father.

Bro. Robert Thaler, DM Larry Hornstra, Bro. Charles Thaler, Mame Crisman, Bro. John Crisman (Roland’s son), Bro. Roland Crisman, Pam Bastemeyer (Roland’s daughter)


Pictures from 2019 Conference of Masonic Grand Masters

The 2019 Conference of Masonic Grand Masters was held in Rapid City. Here is a link to five snowy photos.


Brother Rasmussen Honored

Gary R. Rasmussen of Vermillion was honored March 5 by Master Mason Brothers who marked his 50th year in Masonry. Honored with regard, Rasmussen was also presented a 50-Year Pin during a meeting of Incense Lodge #2.
Rasmussen was initiated into Masonry in 1954 at Lancaster Lodge #54 in Lincoln, Nebraska, and was raised to Master Mason in 1968. He moved to Vermillion and entered Incense Lodge #2 in the early 1980s. Over the years he has served in various positions, including Worshipful Master. Today, Gary, two sons, and a grandson all are members of the local lodge in Vermillion.
“I had an uncle who was very special to me who was with the lodge in Lincoln” and inspired Rasmussen to join in the services Masons provide society. “As a Mason, I still enjoy doing a lot of good work.”
Rasmussen and his wife and business partner, Frances, owned and operated the General Motors dealership in Vermillion for 42 years before retiring. Their two sons began their car-washing and snow removal duties in about seventh grade “before we could drive,” according to son Randy Rasmussen, who attended the ceremony.
“I used to think Masonic Brothers who received 50-Year Pins were old, but I don’t think that anymore,” said Gary Rasmussen with a smile.


Brother Calvin Awarded 60-Year Pin

Brother John Calvin of Concord Lodge #13 in Watertown received his 60-Year Pin. His wife, Prudy, pinned him in a ceremony held on March 12 in Watertown. Also attending the ceremony was Grand Master DaNiel Wood.


Pierre Lodge #27 Honors Past Masters

Pierre Lodge #27 held their “Honor the Past Masters Night” on March 11 at the Pierre Lodge. A nice roast beef dinner was served at 6:00 p.m. In addition to honoring all Past Masters, the widows were invited to the banquet and were honored with the presentation of the Widow’s Pin. The keynote speaker for the banquet was Kay Livermont, who spoke about the South Dakota Quilt of Valor program. Quilts of Valor were presented to two Past Masters of Pierre Lodge #27 — Matt Schatz and Perry Anderson. Kay Livermont was named “Citizen of the Year” by the Masons of Pierre Lodge #27 and was honored with a beautiful plaque.
Justin Stanek, Master of Pierre Lodge #27, proclaimed Kevin Kumpf proficient in the Master Mason degree.

Dr. Kirk Livermont (Past Master in California); Gerald Johnson, PGM (Past Master of Lily Lodge #62 in Blunt, SD); Perry B. Anderson, Matt Schatz, Darrol Bjerke, Dallas Thompson, Robert Dolezal, Stan Schwellenbach, Steve Walker, Jason Glodt, Chris Kaus, Duane Schmautz and Dr. Nathan Sanderson, all Past Masters of Pierre Lodge #27.

Matt Schatz presented Kay Livermont the “Citizen of the Year” award.

Past Masters Matt Schatz and Perry Anderson were presented with quilts from the South Dakota Quilt of Valor program.


Joppa Lodge #120 Honors Two

Joppa Lodge #120 in Hurley held an award presentation on March 10. Brothers Donald J. Freese and Curtis O. Rasmussen each received their 60-Year Award.

L-to-R: Brother Curtis Rasmussen and Brother Don Freese were presented with 60-year pins by District Master Bradley Hazuka

Brothers Don Freese and Curtis Rasmussen were honored with a cake in recognition of 60 years of Masonic service


Joan Knutson and SDCHIP (posted January 2019)

Miss Joan Knutson of Bethel 12 in Sturgis, a Past Miss South Dakota Job’s Daughter 2017-2018 has a passion for the South Dakota Child Identification Program. Her special project for her term as Miss South Dakota Job’s Daughter was to raise money for this important endeavor.
Knutsen had a special quilt made by Erica Rath, one of the parents of Bethel 12. Knutson chose to do a T-shirt quilt to be different. Each shirt was from a different year representing jobie spirit. Throughout the year, she sold raffle tickets to raise money. The raffle drawling was held in June 2018 at the South Dakota Grand Session of Job’s Daughters International in Huron, SD.
On September 23, 2018, Knutson presented $255.00 that was raised through the ticket sales to CHIP chairman, Mike Rodman, PGM and West River CHIP Coordinator, Jack Welker, PGM.
Members of Olive Branch #47 of Sturgis chose to match the money raised and is challenging all the Lodges across the state to do the same.
The SDCHIP program is so important to Knutson that her senior project is to be more involved and help the Masons of South Dakota raise awareness of the Child Identification Program. She facilitated the coordination of a CHIP event at the Whitewood Elementary school already and is planning another event this spring. While hosting the event at the Whitewood Elementary school, 23 children completed the program.


Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America Agenda & Registration information (posted January 2019)

The Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America will be held February 16-19, at the Best Western Ramkota Convention Center in Rapid City. Here is a link to the Agenda. Also, see this letter that explains the registration process.


From the West (posted January 2019)

I would like to thank all the Brothers for making the Mid-Year Meeting an enjoyable one. Pierre Lodge #27 did a wonderful job accommodating us. All your hard work is appreciated. We had a productive meeting and many current issues were discussed and debated on. One of the topics was the Conference of Grand Masters which is coming up very quickly. Brothers, your help at this event is needed. We are needing volunteers to help make this event a successful one. The more people we have help the less each of our volunteers will have to do and hopefully will be able to participate in some of the events that are planned. I hope to see you in Rapid City, February 15 - 19.
We also had the Lodge of Masonic Research mid-year meeting. It was also a well attended meeting. A special thank you to PM Doug Thorson for giving his speech on “Why are we Masons?/Why am I a Mason?” It is my hope that we all can hear this speech at some point. I believe that many in attendance were deeply moved by his words. I know that so many of us have had or will have moments that open our eyes to why we do what we do each and every day as Masons. My wish is that more of us will feel comfortable sharing Masonic moments with our Brethren. There is value in what we do. We may not see it right away but by keeping our eyes and ears open those realizations will become apparent. They may show up in our Lodge, in our Brothers, in our neighbors or quite possibly in our children. We are good men trying every day to make ourselves and our fellow Masons better men, but NOT better than anyone else. By constantly working to smooth the rough ashlar we are models to each other, our communities and our family. This is a great and noble Fraternity and I am proud to be a part of it. Thanks for all you do for Masonry in South Dakota.

Jason D Swindler, Junior Grand Warden  


Tidings from the Grand Treasurer-Secretary (posted January 2019)

When once discussing the topic of Masonic Education, I was struck by a rather pointed response from one Brother, the main point of his argument being, “Why would I waste my time listening to someone who isn’t doing any better than we are at bringing in new members?” On the surface, this is a fair question. But the more I thought of this statement, the more short sighted it appeared.
First of all, we’re all suffering from the same affliction and no one has the answers yet. Or rather no one has an effective response to what our main issues are. We are a society that may be very active, but those activities are more focused on individual rather than group participation. We have the technology available to us that allows us to communicate with people around the world. But we have difficulty communicating with people in the same room. The technology that is supposed to enhance relationships is only causing us to center our focus more on ourselves.
Second, even if someone were to have found some miracle of membership that we all seek, those methods may only be effective in a specific region or within a specific demographic group. There would be no guarantee that such a miracle would have any effect at all in our Jurisdiction. We shouldn’t be holding our breath waiting for answers from others. No one knows our specific issues better than ourselves. We are the best source of potential solutions for us. And, even these potential solutions may differ from place to place within our Jurisdiction.
The tenets of our Order admonish us to improve ourselves. Nowhere in our ritual however, does it state that our travel into foreign countries should be in search of answers from others. Ours is a specifically internalized improvement plan. What can we do to improve ourselves? And, how can we use those improvements to improve the world around us.
However or wherever we find answers, our actions should always be “that the honor, glory, and reputation of the institution may be firmly established and the world at large convinced of its good effects.”

Terry Knutson, Grand Treasurer-Secretary  


How Great is Your Chili? (posted January 2019)

On the 9th of February, 2019, you will have a chance to compete for”Best Chili.”
Where: Hill City, as Tin City Lodge #112 hosts the 7th Annual Polar Bear Chili Cook-Off to be held outside no matter the weather. There will also be Minnow Races for the kids, being managed by the Boy Scouts.
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Categories: Best White Chili, Best Red Chili, Best Booth Décor, People’s Choice. If you have a good chili of another kind (e.g., Hawaiian Chili), bring it on.
Cost: For competitors, it is $25.00 for the first entry and $15.00 for the second entry. You must decorate your booth. If you wish to come and taste the chili, there will be a $5.00 per person or $20.00 per family charge. You will get to vote on these great chilies.
Now: This is open to the public. Anyone who thinks their chili is ”the best,” come on down. Also, there is a competition between the Masonic Lodges so we need Lodges to compete. There is a Traveling Trophy for the Lodges for Best Chili.
Contact: John Knapp at (605) 209-0696 or Jack Welker at (605) 381-1293 to sign up or to ask questions.


From the East (posted January 2019)

It’s hard to believe that the Masonic year is half completed, but that also means we have several months remaining to further accomplish our goals. When I was installed as Grand Master, I made several commitments on the floor of the Grand Lodge to the Masons of our state — first and foremost, that I would work to restore peace within the Craft, that I would promote open transparency, and that I would decrease the separation between the Grand Lodge and the Masons of our state.
The first step towards restoring peace involved forgiveness and wiping the slate clean. I am well aware of everything that transpired, and in fact was present several years ago at what I believe to be the point of ignition. Regardless of what was said or done by anyone involved, we were not going to make an advancement without complete forgiveness. I didn’t ask anyone to forget, only to forgive, and to agree to a new starting point. This is an ongoing process and will take some time, but I’m optimistic that peace and harmony have been cultivated and are taking root.
Open transparency and reducing separation go somewhat hand-in-hand. Whenever there has been something that affected Masons as a whole, I have, and will continue to share that information state-wide. The most efficient means is through our Grand Lodge email blasts (if you’re not getting them, contact your Lodge Secretary to have your email address entered into MORI), OLP, and the Grand Lodge website. If you are receiving the email blasts, you would have gotten the Grand Lodge financials for the previous two years and our independent audit report covering the finances, our investments, investment restrictions, and overall rating of our practices.
Through our email blasts, website, and MORI/OLP, all Masons in good standing were invited to attend the Grand Lodge midyear meeting. The format was changed this year and I asked the District Masters, Finance, Trustees, Jurisprudence, Foundation, and 2019 Conference of Grand Masters committees to all give reports on the year thus far. My intention was to restructure this into a state-of-the-union type of meeting where any Mason could attend and gain information on our inner workings. Following each report, time was allotted for questions pertinent to the topic. There shouldn’t be anyone who walked away from this session not knowing exactly what is happening within the Grand Lodge.
These are but a handful of examples of the steps being taken and it is my sincere hope that they have made progress towards goals that I know we all share, and that they will expand into the future.
May peace within the Craft prevail, and Brotherly love unite and cement us.

DaNiel D. Wood, Grand Master of Masons  


Brother Fuller Awarded 50-Year Pin (posted January 2019)

At the District #17 Meeting held at Spearfish Lodge #18, Spearfish, dinner was prepared and served by Queen City #89 Eastern Star. Brother Peter Fuller of Golden Star Lodge #9 in Lead was awarded his 50-Year Pin by Harold Walker, District Master of District #17 of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota.


Brother Melrose Awarded 60-Year Pin (posted January 2019)

Brother Allen Meirose was presented with his 60-Year Award from Arcania Lodge #97 in Armour. The presentation took place at the stated communication of Fort Madison Lodge #13 in Fort Madison, Iowa, on December 13, 2018. Brother Meirose lives and attends lodge in Fort Madison, IA. Pictured left to right: WM Randy Sissel of Fort Madison Lodge #13, Brother Allen Meirose.


Brother Vondracek Honored (posted January 2019)

On Thursday, December 20, 2018, members of Hartford Lodge #136 were pleased to present Brother Felix Vondracek his 60-Year Pin and convey the congratulations of our Grand Master DaNiel Wood. The presentation took place at the Millstone restaurant in Milbank. Attending were, from left to right: DeEtta Vondracek, JW Felix Vondracek, WM Pat Gibson, SD Charles Wilsey, Treasurer PM Donald Wendt.


Brother Wilson Fêted (posted January 2019)

Brother Alden Wilson of Mt. Rushmore Lodge #220 in Rapid City was awarded his 60-Year Pin. The presentation took place on November 17, 2018, at the Rapid City Masonic building’s Thanksgiving dinner. Pictured left to right: WM Brian Cole, Brother Alden Wilson, PM Jeffery VanCuren.


It has been an honor, a pleasure and incredible reward to have served the Brothers of the Grand Lodge in the capacity of Coordinator of the Save A Child program (MMSAP) for the past several years, in a second round. The time has come to hand the duties to another and I have done so.
Increasingly, I find my thoughts straying to wife, travel, model railroading, reading, wife, model railroading, returning to Yosemite, another tour of the Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, DC and Virginia era of our lives and maybe a little television.
Accordingly, in November of 2018 I asked the Grand Master to accept my resignation and appoint a Brother with experience, commitment and pride to fill the responsibilities as State Coordinator. I believe that M?W? Brother DaNiel has decided upon the right person to head this crucial program into the next decade.
To the leaders of Grand Lodge over the years: I thank you for the trust reposed, the support that was always in huge supply, the abundant and palpable commitment that is always required and the belief that we can, together with our valued educational staff in every town, make life worth living for our young people.
To my Brothers of South Dakota: It’s been a trip of positive experiences, incomparable highs and memories which I will carry with me forever. Thanks for the opportunities, the education and, now...for the memories. Oh, yes, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask...have you given support: personal or monetary...or even verbal to this incredible South Dakota Masonic institution for children? Recently?? Thank you.
George Bauder  

From the Deputy (posted January 2019)

This has been a busy year with efforts being expended to ensure your Grand Lodge is representing you and working to improve Masonry in South Dakota. We have so much to get done and all of a sudden realize we are through half of our Masonic year.
With the Midyear Conference for the Grand Lodge and the Lodge of Masonic Research only a week away, it only highlights the need for our members to stay informed and engaged in the great works that are accomplished around our jurisdiction. I hope to see all of you in Pierre and that you may contribute to the strength of our fraternity.
The Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America is only a month away (February 14-20) at Rapid City. This event is hosted by South Dakota Masons and we are working hard to make it the best conference ever. We will be showcasing many of the unique things about South Dakota throughout the conference; Saturday night event, “Taste of South Dakota,” followed by our own Native American group Brulé; or Sunday night’s event at Mount Rushmore with a George Washington re-enactor and a great meal; the Deadwood Live event on Monday evening; or the Central High School Orchestra on Tuesday evening. We request your support for this event and volunteer as a guide, driver, information provider, greeter, etc. Sign up and be part of this once in a lifetime event as well as enjoy some of the Breakout Sessions or the evening events. This event belongs to all South Dakota Masons and I encourage you to partake, enjoy and meet masons from around the world. You can volunteer and sign up for other activities by contacting Sharon Verbrugge at the Grand Lodge Office, 605-332-2051 or 800-462-7661 or email: office@mygrandlodge.org and let her know what days/times you can help and areas you would like to work. Bring your spouse and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Harold D. Ireland, Deputy Grand Master  


Grand Lodge / Lodge of Masonic Research Midyear Meeting (posted December 2018)

Each year, the Grand Lodge holds a midyear meeting in conjunction with the Lodge of Masonic Research. The Grand Lodge meeting consists of reports from your officers, assorted committees, and District Masters. No legislation or voting occurs, it is purely informational — a State of the Union — where we get together and share information. This meeting has always been open to the Brotherhood, although I feel that many may not know about it, or have not attended thinking it was intended for officers.
If you are a Mason in good standing, you are welcome to attend. Masonry in South Dakota belongs to all of us and I extend to you an invitation to join us for the Grand Lodge midyear meeting. It will be held on January 12th from 10am to noon in the Pierre Lodge, with lunch served after the meeting.
The Lodge of Masonic Research midyear meeting will take place following lunch from 1pm to 3pm and will contain an educational presentation. If you’re not currently a member of the SDLMR, please attend and join us.
The day has been planned specifically to allow travel time before and after the meetings to provide everyone the ability to make it a day trip if desired. If you are planning on attending, please RSVP for lunch to “Uncle” Matt Schatz no later than end-of-day on Tuesday, January 8th either through email at unclematt@aol.com or by phone at 605-280-7248.

Pierre Lodge #27
201 W. Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501

Saturday, January 12th.
Grand Lodge Midyear 10:00 am-noon
Lunch Noon-1:00 pm
Lodge of Masonic Research 1 pm-3 pm


Deadwood Valley Scottish Rite Quasquicentennial Celebration Speakers

(pictured left-right) RWB Harold Ireland 32o, Deputy Grand Master/Grand Master-Elect, Grand Lodge of South Dakota; The Honorable David Ruth, Jr. 32o, Mayor of the City of Deadwood; Mike Rodman 33o, Venerable Master of the Deadwood Valley SR; Sarah Wold-Hanson, OTR/L Therapy Manager, Lifescape of Rapid City, The Deadwood Valley’s speech clinic partner; and Illustrious Jeffrey Larson 33o, Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the Orient of South Dakota.


Deadwood Valley Scottish Rite Celebrates Quasquicentennial

By Jaci Conrad Pearson, Black Hills Pioneer

DEADWOOD — The surprising amount of history housed in the massive Masonic temple is both marvelous and majestic, and Saturday night, provided quite an apropos, immersive backdrop for the Deadwood Valley Scottish Rite quasquicentennial (125-year) celebration, for the Masonic organization chartered Oct. 20, 1893.
“The Deadwood Masonic Temple building is one of the few buildings in Deadwood that is still owned and operated by the same entities that built it, with its ground breaking in 1892 and completion in 1902,” said Venerable Master Michael Rodman. “Among the Deadwood Valley Scottish Rite’s earliest members were Sol Star, Seth Bullock, George Ayres, David Swanzey, D.C. Booth, W.E. Adams, and Nathan Franklin. The Deadwood Valley Scottish Rite’s historical backdrops have been described as one of the five best Scottish Rite backdrop collections in the United States.”
Scottish Rite is directly tied to the fraternity of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, the oldest, largest and most widely known fraternal organization in the world. It is the mission of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, SJ, to improve its members and enhance the communities in which they live by teaching and emulating the principles of Brotherly Love, Tolerance, Charity, and Truth while actively embracing high social, moral, and spiritual values including fellowship, compassion, and dedication to God, family and country.
“Non-profit and fraternal organizations celebrate anniversaries in a number of ways throughout a given year. This year, on Nov. 3, the Masons affiliated with the Deadwood Scottish Rite will celebrate the 125th year of service to the Deadwood community in particular and the Black Hills community in general,” Rodman said. “However, this celebration will be much different because the members of the Deadwood Scottish Rite are sharing the accomplishment with the immediate city of Deadwood. The fraternal organization has withstood the challenges and grown and expanded its services to Deadwood and beyond and the members realize that has been possible only because of the support, consideration and real assistance of the community known as Deadwood. This quasquicentennial is a joint celebration of partners united in common bond for common interests.”
That said, the upper floors of the Masonic temple, normally made available only to members, were open for viewing by celebration attendees and opened a veritable gateway to the past.
A trip to the third floor is via the building’s historic elevator, still featuring manually opened doors and the original push-button panel.
This is the oldest operating elevator of its kind west of the Mississippi River,” Rodman said. “A few years ago, the Smithsonian was interested in purchasing it.”
The third floor of the temple houses the “new” auditorium, constructed in 1960, and home to 50 or so historic theatric stage backdrops that appear to be constructed out of canvas and hand-painted, run up and down by a Scottish Rite member trained to maneuver the historic pulley system (one of the few left in the nation), which brings the gargantuan reliefs up and down.
It is on the stage of this auditorium that degree work is done, during which the four divisions of the Black Hills Scottish Rite present the 29 degrees of this particular Masonic entity.
The backdrops are highly valued by the Black Hills Scottish rite and, as well, by theater professionals who have examined them, declaring them to be the fifth most valued scenery in all of the Scottish Rite in the United States.
One of the most exciting things that happened during a recent evaluation of one of the backdrops, referred to as “the DeMolay,” used in the March 1921 original meeting of the international DeMolay in Kansas City and documented in newspaper articles, was the discovery of even more of these stunning creations.
“We went up into the rafters and discovered about 15 or 16 more backdrops stored up above that we weren’t aware of,” Rodman said. “Next summer, we’ll pull those down and roll them out. We have a really neat collection. Deadwood is just so lucky to have them.”
Rodman said that all Masons earn the first three degrees and that 4-32 are considered further education.
“Different plays are associated with each of the backdrops,” Rodman said. “Before the pulley system, unique to the Scottish Rite backdrops, the backdrops were stored in the basement and were hand-carried upstairs.”
A stop on the second floor revealed the Shrine Room and the Lodge Room, where Scottish Rite meetings are held and featuring heavy, ornately carved furniture. The second floor also houses the library, which was recently greatly compromised, and thanks to help from Deadwood Historic Preservation, the damage was mitigated.
“Time and time again the city of Deadwood and the Deadwood Historical Preservation Committee, merchants and citizens have found ways to help support the charitable efforts of the Deadwood Valley and the maintenance of its historic building located at 715 Main Street,” Rodman said. “When restoration and repairs, elevator refurbishing, wiring and heating and cooling were major, costly projects the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission extended the hands of friendship, caring and support to ensure that the Scottish Rite and its charitable efforts could continue at the same historic location. When water lines burst in the building on Jan. 1 of this year, this community, through the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission, stood tall in providing financial assistance beyond the coverage provided by insurance and even provided funds essential to initiate action toward saving the building and its historically rich contents.”
Deadwood Mayor and 32-degree Deadwood Scottish Rite member David Ruth, Jr., offered congratulations on behalf of the city and from the perspective of a fifth-generation Scottish Rite Mason.
“From a city standpoint, congratulations to the Scottish Rite on their 125th anniversary. There are remarkable resources and history contained in this building that residents and visitors in this town have absolutely no idea about; names of influential citizens who walked in this building ... and shaped the future through their membership in this organization. We wouldn’t be able to have this building without the partnership of Deadwood Historic Preservation and the city of Deadwood.”
Also featured at the celebration were displays in the first-floor Great Hall of historic membership records and photographs, blueprints of the building, antique magic lantern slides, and large screens featuring information on influential founding members such as Sol Star and Seth Bullock. Tours were followed by a social in the Great Hall, dinner, and remarks from: Rodman; Ruth; Sarah Wold-Hanson, OTR/L Therapy Manager, Lifescape of Rapid City, Scottish Rite Charity; Harold Ireland, Deputy Grand Master-Grand Master Elect of Masons in South Dakota; and Jeffery Larson, Sovereign Grand Inspector General, Orient of South Dakota.
Larson, who delivered the keynote speech and described himself as the “grand puba” of the state, spoke at length of the charity work the Scottish Rite performs, as the organization’s philanthropy is demonstrated through its Rite Care speech clinics, locally supporting Lifescape of Rapid City.
“No other part of the state, probably, reveres and lives and practices Masonry in all its forms, than the Western part of South Dakota,” Larson said. “My brothers here are extremely dedicated, extremely forthright in their Masonry and it is something that everybody could emulate in our fraternity.”
“We have, really, two purposes in being Scottish Riteists,” Larson said. “One is to gather and discuss intelligently, the philosophical and moral things we talk about and make ourselves, hopefully, more thoughtful and better because of that. The second thing that we do is we spend a whole lot of time raising money to give to our charity, which is the Scottish Rite clinics. Those clinics, which, obviously, out here, include the Lifescape facility in Rapid City, which have a stunning impact on the lives of children. Speech pathology, and, in some areas, audiology, are enormous good we can do ... and not unlike Shrine Masons and their clinics, are extraordinary facilities. When a child has a speech problem, communication is something that is taken for granted by most of us, but you simply will not, probably, be successful in school and be successful in life without the ability to communicate with others. Because of the work that speech pathologists and the work that’s done at these clinics, children who, otherwise, would be far left behind, in some gap, have the opportunity to live lives that some of us take for granted.”
Construction on the Masonic Temple began in 1892. In 1900, the cornerstone was placed and the building was completed and dedicated in 1902.
At its height, the Deadwood Scottish Rite boasted 1,200 members and today, calls 300 its own, with membership drawn from Western South Dakota and a small section of Wyoming.
There are 5,500 Masons in South Dakota and 71 lodges across the state.
An inquiry to Rodman as to how membership is gained in the organization garnered this response, “Just ask.”

One of the biggest treats of Saturday’s Deadwood Valley Scottish Rite 125th anniversary celebration was the chance to see a few of the dozens of historical theater backdrops in the Masonic Temple’s third floor auditorium, used by the membership in earning their degrees. The backdrop collection, purchased in the 1930s, has been deemed one of the top five in the nation. Pioneer photo by Jaci Conrad Pearson


On display at the Deadwood Valley Scottish Rite’s quasquicentennial celebration were decades of historic membership records, marveled at by many in attendance, who found their relatives in the annals. Pioneer photo by Jaci Conrad Pearson

* * *
This story, by Jaci Conrad Pearson, was reprinted with the gracious consent of Letti Lister, Publisher and President, Black Hills Pioneer.


In Memoriam

The Grand Lodge of South Dakota mourns the passing of Past Grand Master Donald “Don” Ray Salmon, 84, on Friday, October 26. There will be a memorial visitation Friday, November 2, from 5:00 until 5:00 pm at the Kirk Funeral Home, 1051 E. Minnesota St., Rapid City, South Dakota. A memorial service will be held Saturday, November 3, at 2:00 pm at the Kirk Funeral Home. Burial will take place at a later time. The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Masonic charity of your choice. Most Worshipful Brother Don was born May 10, 1934. He served as Grand Master in 2000-2001. May his memory be a blessing.


Brothers Raised in Sioux Falls

New Brothers were raised October 13 in Sioux Falls. Pictured with MWGM DaNiel Wood, they are: from Trinity Lodge #200 — John Davis, Robert Decker, Matthew Gage, Erik Nyberg, Kevin Nyberg and Richard Stensaas; from Unity Lodge #130 — Jason O’Dell, Ryan Patrick and Eric State.


From the East (posted October 2018)

May you live in interesting times
This is a phrase popularized by Robert F. Kennedy when given during a speech in 1966, and it certainly holds true today. As you know, earlier this year our Senior Grand Warden, Right Worshipful Brother Richard Hagler, had to take employment in Omaha and relinquished his elected position. In the interim, Right Worshipful Brother Jason Swindler has been fulfilling those duties, along with your other Grand Lodge officers covering any gaps caused by being one officer short.
During this time, I made an official request of the Jurisprudence Committee on what my options were for resolving the open position. While the Code is very explicit in the process of what happens should the Grand Master vacate his post, it is virtually silent on the other elected officers. The Jurisprudence Committee turned to historic precedence as an option to be considered. In several instances, what they discovered is that when a senior officer vacates his position, a Past Grand Master had been appointed to fulfill the remainder of the term. This places an experienced Mason in the opening and allows the junior officer to remain in the position to which the Craft elected him.
I have taken the report of the Jurisprudence Committee under consideration and have decided that it is the best option for our current situation. Therefore, for the remainder of the 2018-2019 Masonic year, Most Worshipful Brother Dean Behrens will serve as Senior Grand Warden. He has graciously agreed to assume those duties until a new Senior Grand Warden is elected, installed, and the new officers assume their duties.
Right Worshipful Brother Jason Swindler will stand for election at the next session of the Grand Lodge for the position of Deputy Grand Master/Grand Master-Elect. The positions of Senior and Junior Grand Warden will also be open for election and voted upon at that session. As Grand Lodge officers, we take our obligations very seriously and are sworn to uphold the Code, Constitution, Landmarks, and by-laws. We are here to serve South Dakota Masonry wherever dispersed, and consider that to be a tremendous responsibility and honor.
May peace within the Craft prevail, and Brotherly love unite and cement us.

DaNiel D. Wood, Grand Master of Masons  


From the Deputy (posted October 2018)

Brethren, as we proceed throughout this Masonic year, it gives me great pleasure to serve as your Deputy Grand Master. Your Elected Grand Lodge Line is working hard to improve Freemasonry in South Dakota and requests your support in bringing our great fraternity forward.
We have recently held our annual District Master’s Training at Pierre. Great feedback and discussion was exchanged with those present. However, not all of our District Masters were able to attend and that leaves more work to be accomplished to ensure they receive guidance from the Grand Master on projects of emphasis for this year. Also some have not gotten with their Regional Officers to schedule their District Meetings so all the craft is aware of what is going on in South Dakota Masonry. As District Masters, they are the Grand Lodge representative to the Constituent Lodges to provide information and support as well as a listening ear to communicate any issues or concerns from the Lodge to the Grand Master and Grand Lodge. If your District Meetings are not set, please ensure they are soon so schedules can be accomplished with the Regional Officers and all Brothers can be informed.
Your Grand Lodge held its annual Leadership Seminar in September with an excellent exchange of information to the Brothers in attendance. MWB Bob Connelly was our guest presenter and brought some very thought provoking ideas to the seminar. He was recently certified as an instructor on “Outward Mindset”, which is a new way of looking at how to make your organization better. The thought process is that of “What is good for the Craft”, versus “what is in it for me.” That equates to looking for solutions to any concern in a different manner than the “How does this affect me” approach. As always we wish we could get all Masters and Wardens from each Lodge to attend so they could better plan for their upcoming years as Master of their Lodge. Part of the session deals with a Lodge Leaders Planning Guide where participants are given ideas and help in how to develop their plan/schedule which can be further fine tuned as they get closer to their year as Master. This is always a great session and inspires Brothers to become more involved in their Lodge activities. We have some outstanding folks in our Lodges that we need to assist in their growth and the Leadership Seminars are a good way to help that process of development.
This February, South Dakota will be hosting the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America (CGMNA) at the Ramkota in Rapid City. The once-in-a-lifetime event will be held February 14-19. We solicit your support in making this international event the best ever. Grand Lodge Jurisdictions from all over the world attend this conference to share ideas and gain new knowledge. Currently we have folks making reservations from Europe, South America, Canada, Mexico, and the United States. What an opportunity to see and meet some of these folks and share. We need volunteers to work as greeters at the airport and hotels, guides, coordinators, and van drivers. It is encouraged that you not only come and assist as a volunteer but to also participate in some of the activities. There will be a performance each night of the conference, starting on Saturday with the Taste of South Dakota followed by the Native American Brulé performers. Sunday night has two dinner seatings at 5:00 pm and 7:30 pm at Mount Rushmore. This “Dinner with George Washington” is co-hosted by the George Washington Masonic National Memorial and the Grand Lodge of South Dakota, where you will be entertained by a George Washington re-enactor. Monday evening presents a dinner with entertainment by Deadwood Live with a shoot-out and all. Tuesday evening provides a dinner with performance by the Rapid City High School Orchestra. We request your support with this event but also encourage you to take in some of the excellent daily breakout sessions and evening activities. You can volunteer and sign up for other activities by contacting Sharon Verbrugge at the Grand Lodge Office, 605-332-2051 or 800-462-7661; or email office@mygrandlodge.org and let her know what days/times you can help and what area you would like to work. Bring your spouse and enjoy this once in a lifetime experience.

Harold D. Ireland, Deputy Grand Master  


From the West (posted October 2018)

Greetings Brethren! I will admit the last couple months have been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for me. With the Senior Warden chair being open it sounds like regardless what decision is made on how to fill it I will be running for Deputy Grand Master at our next annual Communication. Honestly that is hard for me to wrap my head around. I look forward to serving the Craft to the best of my ability no matter what chair I have the high honor to sit in. It also makes me a little sad that my time as an elected officer will be shorter than I anticipated. My hope is I can overcome the steep learning curve that is ahead of me. I can only do it with your support and counsel. I welcome any and all communication from Brothers across the state.
I had the opportunity to attend the District 10 meeting in Armour on October 15th. I will report that WB Larry Hornstra, DM did a wonderful job. The meeting was well attended with my best count of 5 Lodges represented. The Lodges had productive conversations and from what it sounds like some are getting new petitions from prospective members. This is exciting news since a majority of the Lodges in the District are struggling with membership. I reiterated that the Grand Lodge officers are here to help in whatever capacity we can.
Thank you again for allowing me to be an elected officer of Masons in the great state of South Dakota. I hope to meet with as many of you as I can in the next few years. We can only be effective if we work together with a common goal. Change is imminent but doesn’t have to be daunting if we are working hand-in-hand. That is why we need to have open communication and encourage Brothers to come forward with ideas that can help us move the Fraternity forward for many years to come. The Grand Line officers are your elected representatives and we need to hear from you.

Jason D Swindler, Junior Grand Warden  


Tidings from the Grand Treasurer-Secretary (posted October 2018)

Fall is in the air. In some places snow has already dusted the ground. Soon the holiday season will be upon us. These are the opportunities where we should show our gratitude for all the blessings we have received and to share our bounty with others less fortunate than ourselves. It is also a time to reflect on what we have accomplished and to renew our efforts toward new accomplishments in the coming year.
As we take stock in the relationships we have with our families, our friends, and our Fraternity, we should consider the contributions we have made to each. Are our words and actions promoting an environment of growth and strengthening our relationships? Or, are they diminishing the bond between those involved? For those relationships that are strong, what can be done to maintain that strength? For those that are diminished, what can be done to heal the rifts and repair the damage? We are not responsible for all the strength or all the weakness in any relationship, but we must be responsible for our part in it. No resting on our laurels, no excuses, no blame. Only the focus on what we can do better.
Our Lodges function under the same rules. The size of the Lodge doesn’t matter, nor does the location. Some small Lodges have done mighty things in their communities just as some more populous Lodges have contributed much less to theirs. It is the determination of the members that makes the difference. What can your Lodge contribute to your community that will make people stand up and take notice? At this time next year, will you be looking back with pride at what you’ve accomplished, or with regret at the opportunities that were allowed to slip by? The time to plan is now.
May we all strive to apply the lessen of the trowel where we may spread the cement of brotherly love and affection; that cement which unites us into one sacred band or society of friends and brothers.
Travel safe Brothers!

Terry Knutson, Grand Treasurer-Secretary  


New Cards

Masonry has a long history of excellence. Shouldn’t the membership card you carry reflect that commitment to excellence?
Your new dues card contains a bar code that is tied to your MORI number. This allows us to quickly validate registrations through MORI at Annual Communications. Different colored cards will distinguish Brothers in the future:
Blue: Regular Members
Purple: Lifetime Members
Gold: 50 Years or More
Green: Grand Lodge Officers

Your new card


Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America

The Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America includes representatives from 66 jurisdictions from around the world. It allows for the sharing of Masonic insights and excellent breakouts on key topics with input from the jurisdictions.
The 2019 Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America will be hosted by South Dakota. A workgroup has been meeting weekly for most of the year to facilitate the activities that will be included in this once in a lifetime event.
We request your support in making this the best conference ever. Volunteers are needed to assist during the conference to be guides, drivers, hosts, etc. If you are available, please sign up through the Grand Lodge office and let them know what day/s you are available and where you would like to assist. Come participate and enjoy some of the special events!


Brother Elmer Ehlers Receives 60-Year Pin (Posted October 2018)

Two of the principal tenets of Freemasonry are loyalty and seriousness to the brotherhood and obligation taken upon becoming a Master Mason. Brother Elmer Ehlers epitomizes these tenets and was awarded his 60-Year Pin from the Grand Lodge of South Dakota on September 27, 2018. The pin was presented to him at his home in Whitehall, Montana, with his wife Mary Ann proudly observing. Presenting the pin were Junior Warden Jim Staedt, Senior Steward Tom Jenkin, and Secretary John Kreis of Mystic Tie Riverside Lodge #17 in Whitehall.
Brother Ehlers was born on July 15, 1935. He married Mary Ann Goodart on April 1, 1953. They had three children, two of whom survive — daughter Mary Jean and son Merlin Dean. He has a history of not only loyalty, patriotism, and family, but also hard work. He went to work for the U.S. Forest Service on January 1, 1955, and, despite suffering a serious injury, worked continuously until February 1974. Brother Ehlers moved several times over the years and finally settled in Whitehall 1979.
His Masonic history is long. He was initiated in Tin City Lodge #112 in Hill City, South Dakota, on April 2, 1958; passed July 2, 1958; raised August 6, 1958. He also assumed leadership roles in his lodge, serving as Junior Warden in 1962 and Senior Warden in 1963 and 1965. He was awarded his 50-year pin on June 6, 2008.


Wessington Lodge #107 Honors (Posted October 2018)

Two members of Wessington Lodge #107 were honored on September 15 at Open Air Lodge at Rowen’s Gulch. Brother Douglas E. Fritzsche was presented with his 50-Year Pin by Brother Roger Fritzsche. Brother Lyle B. Rowen, Sr., PGM, was presented with his 60-Year Pin by Hazel Rowen. MW DaNiel Wood and PGM Robert Osborne were present, along with members of seven different lodges. There were 37 people in attendance.

(L-R)District Master Doug Bjorke of District 9, Roger Fritzsche, Doug Fritzsche, Lyle Rowen Sr., Hazel Rowen, MWGM DaNiel Wood, Lyle Rowen Jr.


St. John’s Honors Brothers (Posted October 2018)

Brother Walter G Schaefer Sr was honored September 20 at St John’s Lodge #1 by District Master Brad Hazuka for 50 years of Masonry.

Brother Warren H Peterson was honored by District Master Brad Hazuka for 50 years in Masonry.

Brother James R. Williams received his 50-Year Pin from District Master Brad Hazuka.

Brother Dale H Cowman was honored with his 60-Year Pin by District Master Brad Hazuka.


SD Child Identification Program in Parade (Posted September 2018)

The SD Child Identification Program participated in the Labor Day Parade held on September 3 in Buffalo. The program’s float entry was built by Brother Bob Carrico of Cedar Lodge #124 and Brother Mark Millett of Cedar Branch Lodge #179. Their desire to have an entry in the parade provided great exposure for the SD Child ID Program.


Playground Being Readied (Posted September 2018)

The fenced-in playground area just north of the elementary wing of the new school still has a lot of work to be done. Several pieces were damaged when the pieces were taken out of their original positions in the playground’s old location. Volunteers — individuals and groups — are being led by a Mason’s drive to get some of the workable pieces re-assembled and in place. So far, six pieces are set up and usable by kids. Eventually, the entire play area within the chainlink fence will be layered with a covering of pea gravel. To know when the next work time will be held, thus to volunteer your labor, please contact the school.


Sioux Falls Lodges Unite (Posted September 2018)

The Sioux Falls Lodges have come together under the banner of “Three Lodges — One Brotherhood” for the betterment of our community and Masonry in Sioux Falls. We have created an inter-Lodge Trestle Board in a newsletter format. We have included:
- Short articles from the Worshipful Masters, Senior Wardens, and Junior Wardens
- A column to further Masonic Education
- Featured websites and apps
- Interesting things that have been happening in the Lodges and appendant bodies
- A page for spotlighting great events and amazing Brothers
-A calendar of events
- Ways that Brothers can get involved with inter-Lodge committees.
Those committees are:
-Good Works and Outreach Committee, in charge of finding opportunities within the community to do good works, to help Masonic widows, and to aid in charitable efforts. It will also work to find opportunities to reach out to the community and get Freemasonry noticed again.
- Masonic Education Committee, charged with keeping the Brothers tools from gathering dust. This can be done by coming up with presentations that can be carried out in each Lodge or inviting in speakers on things that may be interesting to the Brothers. This Committee will also help with things like putting together education packets for new Masons.
- Mentoring Committee, charged with helping set up guidelines for vetting potential candidates and finding committed Masons to act as mentors to new brothers. This Committee will find ways to help shepherd new Brothers through their first year of membership.
- Ritualistic Excellence Committee, charged with helping conduct our rituals at the highest levels. It will build degree teams as well as educating those who are interested in having a deeper understanding or our rituals.
- Communication and Technology Committee, charged with helping Brothers stay informed of Masonic happenings around the city, state, and region. It will be in charge of our on-line presence and ensuring that we are communicating with our Brothers.
- Masonic Building Association Committee, in charge of gathering and carrying concerns from the Brothers to the MBA as well as providing consistent and relevant information to the Brothers about the Masonic Center.

What Do You Mean by “Three Lodges — One Brotherhood”?
One of the things all of us have heard around our Lodges is “I wonder what Trinity is doing?” or “When is Minnehaha doing their degree work?” or “Is that guy a part of Unity or another Lodge?” One of the things we hope to accomplish is to bring all the Lodges closer together and start working in concert to have a greater impact on the Sioux Falls community. We feel that we can help make each other better men by finding common purposes and working on them together.
We are encouraging Brothers to try to make it to a Lodge meeting. Make it to your own if you can but if you can’t, stopping by another Lodge’s meeting is OK too. Also, investigate joining a committee (or two or three). There are a lot of opportunities to be involved, even if a Brother can’t make it to a Lodge meeting for whatever reason. Also, check out our new Facebook page: “Sioux Falls Freemasons.”


SD Child ID Event in Watertown (posted August 2018)

Watertown’s Concord Lodge #13 held a SD Child ID event on August 7, 2018, at the Watertown Police Station as part of the National Night Out Campaign. National Night Out is an annual community-police awareness-raising event. In addition to the SD Child ID event held inside the police station, a variety of vendors were set up outside providing fun and games for the kids. With the help of twelve Brother Masons and eight Lady volunteers, as well as two DeMolay members, 83 children were processed. Additional thanks to Brother Larry Clark of Elk Point Lodge #3 and his Lady for getting things set up.


Philip Masonic Rascal Rodeo (posted August 2018)

The annual Philip Masonic Rascal Rodeo for youth up to age 14 was August 4 at the Philip Roping Arena. Philip Masonic Lodge #153 put on the fun event.
The entries were divided into four age groups: six years old and younger, seven through nine, 10 through 12, and 13-14 year olds.
The fun for all did not necessarily require a horse. Depending on the number of entries, possible events included a goat ribbon race (no horse needed), goat tying, barrel racing, mutton busting and steer riding, breakaway roping, flag race, pole bending, and adult and rascal team roping.


Tidings from the Grand Treasurer-Secretary (posted August 2018)

Albert Einstein is credited with saying “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I follow that up by saying “here I am in my second year as Grand Treasurer-Secretary.” I may try to reassure myself that these two sentences are placed together purely by coincidence, but I know the true answer may differ slightly.
Having said that, I will argue that when doing something of importance, repeating it SHOULD bring different results. Whether it is a part in a Degree, a leadership position, or whatever the case may be, whenever we take on a new challenge, we practice, we perform, we practice some more. Each of those repetitions is INTENDED to bring different results, it brings improvement. Even when things go well, we can always do better.
Masonry teaches us that we should always strive to improve ourselves, to strive for perfection. We fully understand that we will never truly achieve perfection in this life. Only our spiritual transition to that house not made with hands will bring us to that state. But that should never prevent us from striving to be better than we were before, to strive toward perfection. After all, if we cannot live by our own precepts, how will we convince others that they should even try.
Safe travels Brothers!

Terry Knutson, Grand Treasurer-Secretary  


From the South (posted August 2018)

I would like to thank you all for the opportunity to serve as your Junior Grand Warden for the ensuing Masonic year. As an elected officer I believe I have an obligation to act in the best interest of all Masons in South Dakota. I have been working hard to open lines of communication with several Brothers throughout the State. In order for me to be an effective leader I need counsel, ideas and concerns from as many SD Masons as possible. Please remember I am working for all of you even if my thoughts and ideas are different from yours. This is what makes our Fraternity great. We can meet on the Level, have civil conversations, compromise if need be and leave knowing our Work means something.
I have been asked many tough questions from concerned Brothers and past and current Line Officers. I have tried to answer them to the best of my ability. I have the best interest of the Craft in mind each and every time. I encourage and welcome communication from all Masons in South Dakota. My contact information will be available and I hope to hear from you.
During the Sturgis Rally I had the opportunity to attend the Widows Sons Council meeting and act as the Grand Master&8217;s Representative on the WS Board. It was a productive meeting and I look forward to great things coming out of this group of Masons. [I am] Proud to wear my Widows Sons Masonic Riders Association vest whenever I ride. I also had the honor of attending the Installation of Officers at Resurgam Lodge on August 14th in Mitchell. The event was well attended and it was great to see so many family members there. Without our family we would not be able to do what we do as Masons.
I look forward to working arm-in-arm with each and every one of you this year. Remember our communities and friends and family on social media notice Masonic symbols wherever they may see them. Promote our Craft positively every day.

Jason D Swindler, Junior Grand Warden  


Brother Richard Phillips Receives 50-Year Pin (posted August 2018)

Richard Phillips, of Huron Lodge #26. received his 50-Year Pin at the Hi-12 luncheon. There were 12 people in attendance, with Helen performing the pinning ceremony.

Doug Bjorke, Richard and Helen Phillips

New Office Manager (posted August 2018)

After an arduous yet fruitful search, I am pleased to announce that Kari Muller has taken the position as the new Office Manager of the Grand Lodge Office in Sioux Falls. She is replacing Gwen Olson who retired at the end of June. Kari has quickly acclimated to the workings of the Grand Lodge Office and we are very pleased to have her on board. If you get an opportunity, please take a minute to introduce yourself.

Thank you!  
Terry Knutson, Grand Treasurer-Secretary  

Gwen Olson Honored (posted August 2018)

Gwen Olson, Office Manager, was honored for her service to the Grand Lodge of South Dakota at the public opening of the 144th Annual Communication.
Gwen has retired after 4 years of service. The Brethren of South Dakota appreciate her service, and she will be missed. Gwen was presented with a plaque and roses honoring her retirement. She is pictured above with Right Worshipful Brother DaNiel Wood and Most Worshipful Brother Yancey Smith.

From the East (posted August 2018)

Brothers, it is my great honor to serve as Grand Master, and is one more step towards paying off a great debt I have to Masonry. Roughly eight months before I became a Mason, I had an intra-cerebral hemorrhage. I wasn’t expected to survive, and if I did, was supposed to be permanently disabled. I did survive and although I do have some lingering effects, I truly won the lottery of life. Upon returning home from the hospital it took three months to be able to function again. That event changed my life and I made a promise to myself that if I wanted to do something, I did it. Five months later, I was raised as a Master Mason. I went to every meeting, every degree I could attend, and followed along diligently in the Blue Book putting words to cypher and relearning critical thinking skills. Many Brothers assisted me, knowingly and unknowingly. This is my debt.
Although providing only a fraction of my story, I wanted all to know how much Masonry means to me. I truly love our noble Craft and those in it. My life has been changed forever. It deeply saddens me when I see Brothers in disagreement, and restores my faith when I see Civility and Brotherhood prevail. I don’t view our Craft as a fraternity, but rather as a family and true Brotherhood. Like all families we have squabbles, hurt feelings, and things better left unsaid. Having a long memory for grievances is a detriment to resolution. Forgive and forget is the path forward, wipe the slate clean and move ahead unified. Everyone is aware of the current turmoil we face, and I am committed to a restoration of peace and harmony. This is my goal, and my promise to the Craft.
May peace within the Craft prevail, and Brotherly love unite and cement us.
DaNiel D. Wood, Grand Master of Masons  


2018-19 Grand Lodge Officers (posted August 2018)

At the 144th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota, the following officers were installed to govern the Craft for the ensuing Masonic year:
DaNiel Wood, Grand Master; Harold Ireland, Deputy Grand Master/Grand Master Elect; Richard Hagler Jr., Senior Grand Warden; Jason Swindler, Junior Grand Warden; Terry Knutson, Grand Treasurer-Secretary; John McKnight, Grand Chaplain; Kendig Bergstresser II, Grand Orator; Bryant Stokes, Grand Marshal; Jeffrey VanCuren, Senior Grand Deacon; Aaron Zahn, Junior Grand Deacon; Dane Bloch, Senior Grand Steward; Stephen Butterfield, Junior Grand Steward; Arlon Gill, Grand Standard Bearer; Roger Hansen, Grand Sword Bearer; David Wheeler, Grand Pursuivant; Justin Stanek, Grand Historian; James Frey, Grand Musician; Ardel Reder, Grand Tyler; Don Humes, Representative for the Grand Master.
Elected to serve the Craft were WB Douglas Papendick, WB Robert Tesch Jr., WB Glendon Rice, and WB Herbert Cook as Trustees, and WB Jason Glodt and WB Scot Mannschreck on the Jurisprudence Committee.

Pictured from left to right, front row: RWB Jason Swindler, JGW; RWB Terry Knutson, GTS; MWB DaNiel Wood, GM; RWB Harold Ireland, DGM/GME; RWB Richard Hagler Jr., SGW. Second Row: WB Stephen Butterfield, JGS; WB James Frey, Grand Musician; Br. Don Humes, Representative for the GM; WB Arlon Gill, Gr. Standard Bearer; WB Aaron Zahn, JGD; WB Dane Bloch, SGS; WB Ardel Reder, Gr. Tyler; WB John McKnight, Gr. Chaplain; WB Roger Hansen, Gr. Sword Bearer; WB Jeffrey VanCuren, SGD; WB Kendig Bergstresser II, Gr. Orator; WB Bryant Stokes, Gr. Marshal; WB Justin Stanek, Gr. Historian. Not pictured: WB David Wheeler, Gr. Pursuivant.

From the Deputy (posted August 2018)

Brethren, as we proceed into this new Masonic year, it gives me great pleasure to serve as your Deputy Grand Master. Your Elected Grand Lodge Line is busy working hard to improve Freemasonry in South Dakota.
As I review all the programs we have put in place to move our fraternity forward, I am struck by the many young Masons who are welcoming these changes and new challenges but at the same time we have others who are resistant to change. Many in attendance at our recent Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge were not voting members or key leaders within their Lodge but see the opportunity to become involved and grow as a Mason.
Over the past two years your Grand Lodge Officers have programmed improvements by updating the Grand Lodge Strategic Plan, its Mission and Goals; initiated New Dues Cards that can be utilized to verify if a member is in good standing; initiated Our Lodge Page with a website and mobile apps for every Lodge; started using email blasts and robo-calls to get the word directly to everyone that has a good email or phone number in MORI; provided Path to Brotherhood folders to all Lodges with examples to assist them in accomplishing many tasks as well as welcoming a new Brother; provided New Member Packets to Brothers once raised and entered into MORI; initiated Service Awards for 5, 15, 25, 35, and 45 years of service and updated the Longevity Awards for 50, 60 and 70 year recipients; continuing to provide Civility Awards for deserving people in our communities; continuing to provide our Leadership Seminar and District Master Training annually; assist with Lodge Assistance Teams to any Lodge that requests assistance; continue to work on getting our artifacts and treasures adequately preserved and displayed; providing exceptional events for our Brethren (i.e.; Mt Rushmore Celebration, Oklahoma Degree Team); look for excellent programs that can benefit the Craft in our jurisdiction; all the while we are representing your South Dakota Jurisdiction at neighboring Grand Lodge Communications, the Midwest Conference of Grand Lodges, the Midwest Conference on Masonic Education and the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America.
Your South Dakota Grand Lodge will be hosting the 2019 Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America on 16-19 February at the Ramkota in Rapid City. We are looking for Brethren to volunteer in assist in making this the best conference ever and to also participate where they can. There are some great activities you should get involved with during this Once-in-a-Lifetime Event. More details are available in this Masonic Messenger and by contacting the Grand Lodge Office.
Again, it is a pleasure serving the Brethren of the Craft of this Masonic Fraternity.
May peace within the Craft prevail, and Brotherly love unite and cement us.
Harold D. Ireland, Deputy Grand Master


Yankton Valley Needs Your Help

Dave Brown, Secretary for St. John’s Lodge #1 in Yankton, asks for the assistance from all Yankton Valley members for the upcoming Romeo & Juliet theatrical production that will be performed at the Yankton Scottish Rite Temple. We need volunteers to help usher, sell tickets, and serve as tour guides. Please also plan on attending and seeing one of the performances.
Prairie Fire Productions will be putting on Romeo and Juliet in the Yankton Scottish Rite Masonic Temple Theatre on August 2, 3, and 4 at 7:00 pm. There will be matinee performances on August 4 and 5 at 2:00 pm.
The Scottish Rite will receive income from this show. Let us know how you can help, by sending an email to yanktonsr@gmail.com
Thanks everyone!
Dennis Nelsen, 32nd degree, KCCH,
Executive Secretary, Yankton Valley

Grand Lodge Leadership Training

Learn to be a better leader. Join us at the Ramkota Hotel & Conference Center, 920 W. Siouix Avenue, Pierre, September 7 and 8, for the Grand Lodge of South Dakota Leadership Training. MWB Bob Conley will again be our keynote presenter and will cover “Six Steps to Initiation,” candidate mentoring, and much more.
The cost of this fantastic training is only $45.00, which covers registration, all training materials, and lunch on Saturday.
The registration form is here (print the form and mail it in):

Registration form


A block of rooms has been reserved at Ramkota for $99.00 plus tax. Be sure to mention the Grand Masons Leader Training to get this rate. Rooms will be held until August 8. Make your reservations by calling (605) 224-6877 or by e-mail reservations@pierreramkota.com
This year’s training promises to be great. We will be done in time Friday night to socialize, and we will have you done in time on Saturday to get home that night.
Join us for fun, a chance to make new friends and to see old ones and maybe, just maybe, leave with a plan to make your Lodge a cut above the ordinary.
Download the flyer for this event.

Grand Lodge Scholarship Program

In all our Masonic teachings, we are admonished to contribute to the relief of our Brothers and their families. The Grand Lodge Scholarship Program is one of the several ways we put these words into action. This year I am pleased to report we have awarded 9 scholarships for students to attend college, university, or technical school. The nine lucky recipients are: Rachel Ireland, Alex Klingaman, Andrew Klingaman, Chase Klingaman, Kasey Schutte, Luke Weber, Logan Smith, Mattisen Kelley, and Christopher Holm. Their college choices include SDSU, SD School of Mines, USD School of Medicine, Black Hills State, University of Sioux Falls, and University of Minnesota Morris. We wish each and every one of these students all the best as they journey forth on their roads to knowledge.
If you have a relative who will be attending college in the future, remember to encourage them to apply for the Grand Lodge Scholarship. Scholarship application forms can be downloaded here.