Philip Masonic Lodge Hosts CW Nash Celebration
Wed, 09/01/2021 - 11:09am admin
Mike Rodman, PGM Grand Lodge of South Dakota
On Saturday July 31st, the Philip Masonic Lodge #153 hosted a celebration of CW Nash, regarded as one of the founding fathers of Masonry in Rupert’s Land, in what was the far north area of Dakota Territory. Nash is buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Philip.
The Lodge hosted a breakfast and program at the Phillip American Legion Post #173 Hall in conjunction with the Grand Lodge of South Dakota. Masons from across South Dakota, including most of the South Dakota Grand Lodge officers and several adjacent states were in attendance.
The morning program was kicked off with a welcome by Lincoln Smith, District 15 District Master of Masons, followed by a greeting from Jeffrery VanCuren, Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota. The Honorable Michael Vetter, Mayor of the City of Philip gave a warm welcome to the attendees. Duke Westerberg, Master of Philip Lodge #153, was next to extend remarks to those gathered. Harold Ireland, PGM of SD, gave remarks on CW Nash’s history and how this event came to fruition.
Mike Rodman, PGM of SD, introduced out of state dignitaries that gave remarks, beginning with Rolf Widstrand, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota brought fraternal greetings from the Masons of Minnesota. Kim Jones, Senior Grand Warden from the Grand Lodge of Iowa then brought greetings from the Grand Lodge of Iowa. Next was Rick Wightman, Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of North Dakota, who also brought fraternal greetings. Lastly, Bob Darling, PGM of Minnesota and member of the board of Directors of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association brought greetings from the Memorial.
The keynote speaker was Jim Savaloja, PGM and Grand Historian of the Grand Lodge of North Dakota, who talked about the years long search to find Nash’s grave and how a posting of headstones in the Philip Masonic Cemetery on the find a grave website led to the confirmation and celebration.
Following the morning program, attendees moved to the Philip Masonic Cemetery where Grand Master Jeffery VanCuren and the SD GL officers conducted a unique Masonic gravesite service with the help of Rolf Widstrand, GM of Minnesota; Kim Jones, SGW of Iowa; and Rick Wightman, DGM of North Dakota. The Philip American Legion Post #173 Honor Guard presented the flags and gave the gun salute.
Immediately following the Masonic gravesite service, was the unveiling of the Interpretive Panel for CW Nash; followed by the dedication of the panel, using the Mason’s historic cornerstone ceremony. This, too, was a historic event with the participation of Grand Lodge officers from South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and North Dakota.
Masons returned to the American Legion Hall for refreshments and fellowship.