Friday, March 12, 2010
On Tuesday evening, March 9th, over 75 Masons from 10 different lodges were present to witness the presentation of 25 Year Service awards, a 50 Year Veteran Award, and a 60 year Diamond Jubilee Award. However the highlight of the evening was the presentation of the first ever 60 year Certified Class “A” Certificate to Brother James Kelley Hooper.
Seven brothers from Robbinsville were to receive 25 Year Service Awards and lapel pins, but only three could be present this evening. Those receiving these Awards from the Most Worshipful Master William Dill, Grand Master of Masons in North Carolina ere Brothers Harold K. Andrews, John Carpenter, and John W. Carswell. Receiving the 50 year Veteran Certificate and lapel pin was Brother O. W. Hooper, Jr. During his Masonic career, Brother Hooper served as Secretary of Robbinsville Lodge for 32 years, and is a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason and is an active Ancient Arabic Noble of the Mystic Shrine. Worshipful Brother Burl L. Orr received his 60 year Diamond Jubilee Certificate and Pin. Brother Orr’s Masonic career started in 1949 and includes serving as Master of Robbinsville Lodge on five separate occasions starting in 1956; he served as the District Deputy Grand Master of the 65th Masonic District 1960-1963, and has served as both Treasurer and Secretary several years in between the other offices mentioned.
The highlight of the evening was special recognition from the Board of Custodians, Grand Master Dill and the Grand Lodge for Worshipful Brother James Kelley Hooper. Brother Hooper, at 90 years if age has reached a milestone which has never before been attained the history of North Carolina Masonry; he has been a Class “A” Certified Lecturer for 60 continuous years.
Brother Hooper became certified the same year as the first District Deputy Grand Lectures began in 1950. The certified lecturer program had stated only 9 years earlier, in 1941. He has served as the DDGL on four occasions under three different district numbering systems, the 43rd, 58th, and 65th. His tenure as DDGL lasted for 12 years. His years as District Deputy Grand Lecturer has been: 1956-59; 1972-75; 1978-81; 1989-92
Not only has he given countless lectures, schools of instruction, assisted newly made brothers witch catechisms, he has helped more than one brother take that dedicated step of also becoming a Certified Lecturer; Brothers such as the beloved late Doc Little, and our current District Deputy Grand Lecturer Jack Long.
In 2000 he became the 2nd individual to reach the 50 year milestone of being certified, and is only 1 of 10 individuals to accomplish this feat. Of those 10 individuals, only the first nine have served without a break in service.
Only one other brother, Brother Willie P. Goodman of Unanimity Lodge # 7 has ever passed 59 years. Brother Hooper was certified in March of 1950, and Brother Goodman will attain the 6o year mark this September.
He has served as Master of Robbinsville Lodge # 672 on four separate occasions.
Has been a Deacon at New Hope Baptist Church in Robbinsville for over 50 years, and severed a Chaplain of Robbinsville Lodge for many years.