Sunday, June 5, 2022

The Late Late Show with James Corden coming to Freemasons Hall


Photo from UGLE-CBS

The United Grand Lodge of England has announced that "The Late Late Show with James Corden" will broadcast four episodes from Freemasons Hall which is located in central London England. These shows will air at their normal time beginning on Monday June 27th thru June 30th, 2022. 

It's great to see that the Freemasons Hall can attract such big and notable venues. I hope that this exposer will show off some of the most beautiful architectural elements of the building.  It's a place that I have been too often and hope to see again soon.

If you happen to be in London, I understand that tickets are available for the show. Here is the link.  

It's also nice to see that they don't have to host Pancake breakfasts, Fish Frys, or sell raffle tickets like the rest of us in order to raise money to pay for a new roof on the Lodge or its maintenance...ha

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Friday, May 20, 2022

Memorial Service for Past Grand Master Charles Baltos


Charles Baltos

Red Wing Lodge #8 Memorial Service

September 13, 2021

 Update May 20, 2022, They say a person only dies when people stop saying his name, that is the reason why I I am putting this memorial on my blog. This is the memorial speech that I gave at his Memorial. I apologize that I didn't do it much earlier.  


Our last living legacy of us on this earth is our tombstone. It contains a very limited information about us. Our name, the date we are born and the day we die. Those two dates are days that we as humans have no control over whatsoever. What really matters is the dash that’s between those two dates. For that little dash represents our life.

If we were to look at Chucks tombstone. We would see that he was born on July 24, 1935 and he died on June 25, 2021. For those of us who knew him THE DASH represent that He was born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, he had a wonderful childhood, enjoyed sports in High School. He fell in love with Mary Virginia Christ and they were married. Chuck left his bride to join the Navy where he proudly served as a Steam Fitter and Mechanic on the aircraft carrier Tarawa. Is was filled with pride when he said that it was ship shape, never had a breakdown. Because we didn’t let it happen.

Chuck liked to work with is hands, and that required a good eye to get the job done correctly. He worked in the hot and dangerous steel mills of Pittsburg, stone mason. He went to school and learned to be a draftsman. He worked at the Prairie Island Nuclear Power station for Northern States Power. He told me he was the Supervisor of the design and drafting support group. Chuck smiled at me, and said I ran a tight ship, we didn’t have any room for errors.

Chuck and Mary had three children and moved to Red Wing Minnesota. He was an active and supporting citizen in his new hometown. He was an active member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church where he was a lay worship leader, treasurer of the church foundation, involved reading the scriptures on Sunday, and sang as a bass in the church choir.

He served on the Building fund-raising committee for the Red Wing YMCA.

He loved hockey, and eventually became the past head coach for the Red Wing Bantam Hockey Club.

Chuck was involved in the Elks and was the Past Exalted Ruler.

Chuck had a love and passion for playing the guitar, and banjo. I kidded him that he looked like Slim Whitman. He said “Thanks but I can’t yodel.

He shared that talent and joined a musical group called “Powerhouse Pals” They played as regulars at the Minnesota Masonic Home, local nursing homes, and the Veterans Hospital.

In addition to his community worked Chuck enjoyed golf, archery, weight training, motorcycling and computers.

When I was Deputy Grand Master I wanted to get in shape and lose a lot of weight. Chuck said “You need to buy a bicycle” Ya see Chuck also rode his bicycle 10 to 20 miles every day.

So, I did buy a bike, and would call Chuck for some tips. He said Come on down and we can ride together. I did and I think that Chuck and I rode maybe two hundred miles together.

One day I mentioned to him that I was going to start Running to help in my conditioning. Chuck then told me all the problems with running. Speed Walking is what you need. Ill mail you a book, and then we will get you started. All I will say is that Olympic Speed Walking isn’t for me.

Chuck and Mary liked to Winter in Texas and especially in Kerrville with its rolling hills, streams and rivers. It was a wonderful place for him.

They traveled to Texas in their RV. Listening to Chuck describe all the stuff he had to pack into the RV and the techniques he used to pack it to avoid the dreading rattling, dinging, and clashing for the thousand-mile journey. Remember Chuck ran a tight ship.

One trip he heard a very upsetting rattle. He thought he would try to ignore it. Well somewhere on 35W in Oklahoma he pulled off the side of the highway and unloaded items, and boxes on the shoulder. Chuck said he was concentrating and not paying any attention when he heard a voice. He looked up and it was two of the biggest Oklahoma State Troopers. They were very stern and informed him that he just couldn’t camp anywhere in Oklahoma. Chuck said he was pretty nervous when he explained what he was doing. They listened intently and helped him load the boxes back onto the RV. Chuck said it was pretty heart warming to see two state troopers waving good bye in the rear view mirror.

We have heard Chucks Masonic Record. He loved being the Master and Lodge Secretary and working on the Building Committee. Chuck also became the first Publisher of the Lodge Newsletter 8 News Slate.

He was appointed to the Grand Lodge as Grand Pursuivant in 1982 by Past Grand Master Jay. A. North.

When Chuck was Grand Master he had 35,000 Members, and 205 Lodges. His first act as Grand Master was to merge eight lodges. His Deputy Grand was Ed Walton who was a great help to him. He encouraged his Officers to travel the state. They traveled mostly with their wives as companions 129,000 miles together. Most of it was at their own expense.

Chuck was the kind of guy who wasn’t looking to be in the spotlight, looking for honors, medals or plaques. Chuck said that he just wanted to make the world a better place.


It was just a couple of years ago at our Scholarship awards dinner in the St. James hotel. Chuck knew he was slipping, and we said our goodbyes.

I think that we could all take a lesson from Chuck and try to make the world around us a better place.

When we look at Chucks tombstone or any tombstone. We don’t learn much about the person expect the day they were born and the day they die. We can only keep them alive when we speak their names and tell their stories. For when we stop doing that. That is truly the day they become forgotten and die.

Believe it or not. Our own Tombstone is already half complete. Our names and the date of our birth on upon it. We are now” Living the Dash on our tombstone.” This is now a good time for us to think about how we want to be remembered. This will want us to Own the Dash, Embrace our Dash. To make good decisions, on how we will make the world around us to be a better place. Just like Chuck did.

There is a nice poem by Linda Ellis called “The Dash” and it was the inspiration for this talk


Thank you



Sunday, May 8, 2022

Masonic Cancer Center Annual Dinner-Igniting the Imagination 2022

Photo courtesy of University of Minnesota

The Masonic Cancer Center annual dinner was held at the Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center on April 29, 2022. 

It was our first gathering since the COVID-19 isolation. Two hundred attended the dinner which include donors, researchers and many whose lives have been touched by cancer.  Those gathered received updates on the progress at the Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center. 

The attendees were a most honorable and distinguished group as you could ever find. There were past and present Grand Lodge of Minnesota leadership, the CEO of Masonic Charities and its various board members, the President of the University of Minnesota, the Director of the Masonic Cancer Center, as well as staff, scientists, researchers, and medical professionals as well as donors and those interested in the current research. But probably the most important guests were any cancer survivors as they represent the progress that has been made in treating and curing cancer.   

During the social gathering before dinner there were five interactive exhibits where everyone could speak with an expert in the represented field. 


Photo courtesy of University of Minnesota

Director& CEO Minnesota Masonic Charities and President of the University of Minnesota Joan Gabel

Joan Gambel, the 17th President of the University of Minnesota and the first woman to serve in that position, began the dinner with her opening remarks. 
She stated that with an accelerated gift from the Minnesota Masonic Charities, the University of Minnesota has just recently been able to kick off "The 10,000 Families Study". The goal is to study the health of 10,000 Minnesota families, to better understand the influences of genetics, lifestyle and environment on their health. 

photo by Tom Hendrickson

I was very happy to hear the update regarding the Masonic Discovery Lab which was started in March 2020. The university has brought together over 30 researchers under one roof to find the next breakthrough in cancer research. 

Photo courtesy of University of Minnesota

The seating arrangement for dinner was carefully crafted to ensure that staff from the Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center were seated at each table along with a variety of individuals to ensure meaningful dialogue as well as learn more about each other.  At my table we had an Epidemiologist and I the opportunity to learn more her job in investigating why some people are more susceptible to cancer than others. 

Photo by Tom Hendrickson

The Masons of Minnesota relationship with the University of Minnesota began with a one-million-dollar gift to build the Masonic Memorial Hospital in 1955. 

In April 2008, I had the opportunity to be present at the luncheon when Minnesota Masonic Charites presented the University of Minnesota with a gift of $65 million dollars. This was the largest gift ever made to the University. The message with the check was simple, seek a cure for cancer. In recognition of that gift, the name of the University's cancer center was changed to the Masonic Cancer Center -University of Minnesota. 

Since 2008 the Minnesota Masonic Charities has provided $160 million dollars to the University, President Joan Gable announced at the dinner. Minnestoa Masonic Charites is the largest donor to the University. 

There has been great improvement in the survival rate for the many different types of cancer since 1955 when the relationship began between MMC and the University. That is due to the improvement on the research on the causes, prevention, detection and treatment of cancer. 

To those of us who have lost loved ones from this terrible disease, attending this annual event and hearing the progress that is being made give us great hope.  While the fight to eradicate cancer is not over, the survivors of today give us all hope for tomorrow. 

One day, at this annual dinner, we all hope to hear that the cure for cancer has been found. Minnesota Masonic Charities will have been instrumental in making that happen, when it does.

Photo by Tom Hendrickson

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Cathedrals Built by Masons


I had the opportunity to meet the Author Russell Herner of “Cathedrals Built by Masons” at the North Central Grand York Rite Conference October 26, 2019, in Sioux Falls South Dakota. Where he gave a very passionate presentation covering the contents of his book. 

For over thirty years Russell made fifteen trips to England and Europe. Russell first became fascinated with Cathedrals on his first trip in 1969 to England Salisbury Cathedral. He said “I first walked in, and Wow how did they do this? and it just intrigued me. How could they build these Cathedrals 800, 900 years ago”?

Russell started giving out some mind-boggling fact of the Cathedrals:

The longest Cathedral is the Canterbury Cathedral in England. It is more than a tenth of mile long or about as long as a city block.

The tallest Cathedral is the Ulm Minster in Germany. The steeple reaches 530 feet.

The Metz Cathedral in Lorraine France has 70,000 square feet of stained-glass windows. That’s more than 1.5 acres of glass.

Russell had on display a variety of stone masons chisels, gouges, clawed bolsters, stone claws, smoothing planes, saws and setting mauls. He also had a fine collection of carpenter’s tools. Many of the tools dated back to the 1600s. It was fun to see and hold them as Russell explained how the craftsmen used them. Im sure each tool had a story if they could of talked.

He also demonstrated how an operative mason would place the layout of the building on the site using two principals; How to establish the Cathedrals sacred orientation towards the East based on the rising sun and establishing the alter stone. And how a operative mason would lay out the design of the cathedral floor using the Pythagorean Theorem Triangle.  

At the conclusion of Russel’s presentation, he had copies of his book for sale. I must admit that I had an opportunity to reconnoiter it earlier in the day. I loved the book for it is printed on chrome paper, and it’s a larger format. The book is 240 pages with 259 beautiful colored photos that will take you on a photographic tour capturing the splendor of thirty cathedrals in England, France, Germany and Washington D.C.

I had just returned from England where I had visited many of the Cathedrals that I saw in the book. The photos in the book truly captures the beauty of the carved stone arches, the clustered columns, flying buttress, spires, vaulted ceilings, and oh the magnificent stained-glass windows.

He tells us the wonderful story of the monumental task of how the Master Builders designed and constructed these glorious cathedrals during the Middle Ages. While illuminating the quality and the highly technical skills exhibited by the stonemason.

The book “Cathedrals Built by Masons” is the culmination of more than fifty years of research and fifteen trips by Russell Herner. For me this book is more than just another book of pretty pictures what makes it special for me is that Russell is a Past Master of Roby Lodge #534 in Monroeville Ohio, and he tells the story of the Operative Mason demonstrating many of the known ancient construction methods and revealing what the stone mason regarded as the mysteries and secrets of the trade. And Russel contends how our Speculative freemasonry descends from them and devotes much researched material to make his case.

I must apologize for this late posting. Today I went to use Cathedrals Built by Masons for a Lodge Education lecture as I have done many times since 2019. I went to my blog to refresh myself with the photo I had taken of Russell. I realized that I had not posted review. For this my most sincere apologies.

It’s a great book that I always come back to for reference, and for the wonderful photos of some of the Cathedrals I have visited.




Thursday, April 28, 2022

Red Wing Lodge #8 Cleans UP


On April 24, 2022, the cold gale force winds didn’t hamper the enthusiastic spirt of the members of Red Wing Lodge #8. We were armed with gloves, bags, and a strong sense of purpose to picking up litter on a two mile stretch of highway 61 that approaches the city of Red Wing.

Last year Red Wing Lodge joined thousands of other volunteers who participated in Minnesota Department of Transportation Adopt a Highway Program.

Last year’s volunteers from across our state collected 40,000 bags of litter, saving Minnesota taxpayers 7 million dollars.nd we show pride in our community that’s why we did it.



Monday, April 11, 2022

Grand Lodge of Minnesota 2022-2023 Grand Master

 The Grand Lodge of Minnesota held its 169th Annual Communication on April 8th-9th at the Park Event Center in Waite Park, Minnesota.  

Tony R. Krall was elected as the169th Most Worshipful Grand Master. G. M. Krall is a very dedicated Mason, and we wish him a successful and most prosperous year. 

I was unable to attend due to a mishap that resulted in a sprained ankle.