Dexter C. Pehle, a great Minnesota Mason, who I looked up to and respected for decades passed away on February 16, 2021. He was a Minnesota Mason for fifty-five and a half years.
Dexter was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 19, 1935. He was a south side kid who graduated from Roosevelt High School with the class of 1953. Just a couple of weeks following graduation Dexter entered the U.S. Airforce and honorably served until 1959. After his military service Dexter had a long career at Sperry Univac as a Systems Engineer.
Dexter was a devoted and loving husband and father. He was married to his loving wife Muriel for over sixty years. Muriel would always attend all the Masonic dinners and events at Dexter’s side.
Dexter enjoyed singing and had a very nice singing voice. I recall someone ask Dexter if he ever sang professionally one evening and Dexter said that he sang in the Keesler AFB male choir. He said he enjoyed it very much, and that he was proud and fortunate to have had that experience.
Dexter joined Minnehaha Lodge #165 when it was a powerhouse of excellent Masonic activity. He was Initiated-Entered Apprentice May 4, 1965, Passed-Fellow Craft June 1, 1965, Raised Master Mason June 29, 1965. He also affiliated with Biwabik Lodge #293 the same day he was raised a Master Mason.
Dexter was asked to join the Line of Officers within Minnehaha Lodge, and he worked his way thru all the chairs and became the Master of Minnehaha Lodge in 1997. Dexter was an active member holding various officer positions until 2014.
Dexter was also an active member of both the York and Scottish Rite.
Dexter was not just an accomplished ritualist, but he understood the ritual, and enjoyed talking about it. His performance of King Solomon is one of the best that I had ever seem. Dexter drove 200 miles to help perform the Royal Arch Degree in which I was the principal candidate which touched me deeply.
Dexter was a passionate student of every aspect of Freemasonry. He loved to share his knowledge with his Brothers. He was always cheerfully providing Masonic Education in his lodge or any lodge that asked him. I enjoyed lively discussions with Dexter over coffee. The Grand Lodge of Minnesota recognized Dexter’s contribution and awarded him the Minnesota Duane E. Anderson Excellence in Masonic Education Award for the 2003-2004 term.
Dexter was always a welcome sight at any event. When you saw him, he always had a smile, a firm handshake, a kind word, and a genuine interest in you.
One of my favorite stories about Dexter, that I will always remember, was the evening that I asked Dexter if he would join me in the Special Olympics Polar Bear Plunge at White Bear Lake in January. After I asked him, his face was frozen in shock. Now this is a rare occurrence for Dexter was always poised, and relaxed. I knew I had an opportunity for some fun, so I said “Come on Dexter, a jump in a frozen Minnesota lake in January will be refreshing and fun. Come on let’s do it for the kids!” With the look of shock still on Dexter’s face, and not wanting to lose the opportunity I said, “well if you can’t jump with me, would you like to make a donation?”
I have never seen a man reach for his wallet so fast in my life. Dexter reached in and pulled out a twenty-dollar bill. Dexter gave a sigh of relief and a smile appeared on his face. As he handed me the money, he said, “Tom, I would love to make a contribution” and we laughed. At the next few masonic events Dexter would bring a Brother over to me and said “Tom, here is a Brother who would like to join your team or make a donation”. Dexter became my straight man, and we had a lot of fun with that project.
Dexter and Muriel moved to California to be near their daughter some years ago. Dexter was an active visitor to Blue Lodges, Royal Arch Chapters, and proudly wore his Minneapolis Mounted Commandery uniform to Commandery meetings. Dexter told me he enjoyed the California weather, and didn’t miss his snow blower.
Dexter last gift on this earth demonstrates how thoughtful, and compassionate he was about people. Dexter donated his body to the University of Minnesota Bequest Program for Medical Research. Even in death Dexter is providing opportunities for future doctors to gain in depth knowledge of the human anatomy, and medical researchers in developing new surgical procedures.
Dexter walked with us on this journey during his life. He celebrated the craft’s success and happiness and provided a steady hand of support when the trail was rough. He shared his light, when our light was dim, to illuminate the path.
Though my Brother Dexter has now taken a different path and has gone home. His light continues to shine in our hearts. We enjoyed each other’s company while laughing and sharing along the way. I shed no tears, for I have smiles of joy for that time that we shared on this earth.
Until we meet again…Alas My Brother