Masters of Las Palmas Lodge from 1965 to 1984

 

(numbers refer to findagrave.com memorial hyperlinks)

 

Larsen1965  Robert Peter Larsen, Sr.  (1933 - 2010)  (126038194)  Brother Bob was born, raised and educated in Fresno.  At the age of 22 he petitioned Las Palmas Lodge and received his degrees in 1956.

 

Before being employed by The State of California as a design engineer and surveyor for Cal Trans, he did survey work for both The City of Fresno and Southern Pacific Railroad.  Later, he worked for Cal-OSHA as a safety engineer consultant. 

 

In addition to being a raisin farmer, he was a Master Gardener through the University of California at Davis.  He also served in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

During his year as Master, Brother Larsen raised 24 Master Masons and had 2 Masons affiliate with Las Palmas Lodge.

 

Lingerfelt1966  Odell Floyd Lingerfelt  (1928 – 1982)  (74776894)  Brother Lingerfelt was born in Sallisaw, Oklahoma and moved to Fresno in 1950.  He petitioned Las Palmas Lodge in December of 1959, was initiated on January 14, 1960 and passed on March 5, 1960.  Due to the number of degrees that Las Palmas was conferring at that time, our Lodge asked Center Lodge No. 465 to confer on Brother Lingerfelt his third degree which was done on May 11, 1960.    Brother Lingerfelt was very active in the construction of our Temple Building.

During his year as Master, Brother Lingerfelt raised 14 Master Masons and had 10 Masons affiliate with Las Palmas Lodge.

 

In his early days, Brother Lingerfelt was an embalmer for both Tinkler Mission Chapel and Stephens & Bean.  He then became the executive director of the Fresno-Madera Medical Society and the Central California Blood Bank and the Fresno Foundation for Medical Care.  He retired in 1977.

 

PavlovichGM Pavlovich1967  Sam Marko Pavlovich   (1921 – 2008)  (106662522)  Brother Sam was born and raised in the Fresno area.  As a youth he helped on his parent’s farm in the Kerman area.  During WWII he served in the U.S. Navy.  After graduating from Fresno State College, he became a civil highway engineer for the California Division of Highways (Cal Trans). 

 

Brother Pavlovich petitioned Las Palmas Lodge for the degrees of Masonry in February of 1952 and received all of his degrees before years end.  After serving as our 63rd Master, he was appointed Inspector for the 416th Masonic district.  He was also the secretary of Fresno Scottish Rite and received his 33º.  For the 1979 – 1980 Masonic year, he was the Assistant Grand Treasurer.  In 1989 he was elected Grand Master of Masons of California for the 1989 - 1990 Masonic year.  He holds the distinction of being our only Past Master to have been Grand Master.

During his year as Master, Brother Pavlovich raised 26 Master Masons and had 7 Masons affiliate with Las Palmas Lodge.

 

Gotner1968  Leonard Albert Gottner  Brother Len was born in Chicago, Illinois where he spent his grammar school years.  He then moved to California where he graduated from hi school in Santa Monica. 

 

He was raised in Libertas Lodge No. 466 in Bakersfield on April 18, 1950.  He then moved to the Fresno area where he joined Center Lodge No. 465 and after that moved to Tulare County where he joined Lindsay Lodge No. 416.  Upon his return to Fresno, he joined Las Palmas Lodge.  His ritual was always perfect and as Master, his 3rd degree lecture occasionally included a recitation of all of the monitorial work.

 

He worked for Reynolds Aluminum as an office manager and an assistant branch manager.    In 1973, his job moved him to the State of Washington where he took dual membership with Des Moines Lodge No. 245 in Des Moines, Washington.  He served that Lodge as its Master and the Washington Grand Lodge as Deputy of the Grand Master (2 year appointment), Grand Chaplain, Grand Orator, Grand Marshall,  and Jr. Grand Deacon.

 

Brother Gottner has also been very active in the Order of the Eastern Star in both Fresno and Des Moines, WA.  He has been the Worthy Patron of several Washington Chapters a total of 16 times, including 2012.  He served as Worthy Grand Patron of Washington for the year 1993-94.

 

During his year as Master, Brother Gottner raised 19 Master Masons and had 11 Masons affiliate with Las Palmas Lodge.  Brother Gottner is our Senior Past Master.

 

 

Ahlenslager1969  William Henry Ahlenslager  (1926 – 2014)  (148374878)  Brother Ahlenslager was born and raised in Fresno.  He served in the South Pacific for the U.S. Navy from March 1944 until June, 1946.  He petitioned Las Palmas Lodge in March of 1955 where he received the degrees of Masonry.

 

Brother Bill attended Fresno City College, Fresno State College, Arizona State Teachers College and Texas Christian University.  He worked for the Corps of Army Engineers at Pine Flat Dam and laid out the road that is on the north side of the lake.  He was a civil engineer for Cal Trans for 25 years.  He then moved into Industrial Relations as a Senior Safety Engineer.  He was also the area manager for CAL OSHA Consultation serving 16 counties.  He is a grape farmer and loved to play cribbage with Brother Larsen.

During his year as Master, Brother Ahlenslager raised 20 Master Masons and had 8 Masons affiliate with Las Palmas Lodge.

 

Brother Ahlenslager received the Hiram Award in 2008.  Brother Bill helped by supplying much of the information about our Past Masters.

 

Carpenter1970  Edward Clare Carpenter  (1914 – 1993)  (143650852)  Brother Carpenter was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan and earned a BS in Forestry at Michigan State University in 1937.  He served with the Army Corps of Engineers, receiving a direct field promotion to 2nd Lieutenant during the Battle of the Bulge in WW II.  Brother Carpenter once wrote "I am grateful to have been in a convoy returning July 4, 1945 via New York Harbor from 19 months in Europe in WW II.  There she was (The Statute of Liberty) and fireboats spraying streams of water, skyrockets, sirens, whistles - Wow!  Not a dry eye on the ship!  What a glorious sight to welcome you back!  On seeing the Statute of Liberty you sense it immediately as the wonderful symbol of Liberty, Equality, Freedom, Brotherly Love, Democracy  - HOME!  Thought yet maybe 3,000 miles from your house and family, you're HOME IN THE USA!  No place else in the world any better nor nearly as good!  He was recalled to active duty during the Korean Conflict. 

 

He served as a forester, planner and landscape architect with the U.S. Forest Service from 1937 to 1970 on the Bitterroot, Nicolet, White Mountain, Francis Marion, Mendocino, Plumas, Six Rivers and Sierra National Forests.  Most campgrounds and recreational areas built between 1956 and 1972 in the Sierra, Sequoia, Klamath and Stanislaus National Forests are the results of his designs.  He was also a tree specialist and is credited with giving specific species names to many of the native trees found in the City of Fresno. 

 

In 1961 he petitioned Las Palmas Lodge and was initiated on June 1, passed on September 7 and raised a Master Mason on December 14, 1961.  He was a member of Fresno Scottish Rite where he was active in the 31st and 32nd degree presentation.  He also held offices in the Fresno York Rite Bodies.  During his year as Master, Brother Carpenter raised 20 Master Masons and had 2 Masons affiliate with Las Palmas Lodge.

 

After his retirement, he joined the faculty at Kings River Community College in Reedley as an Instructor in Forestry.  When he first started, there were only 16 students in the school Forestry program.  When he retired 6 years later, the program had 150 students.

 

Brother Carpenter was an excellent wood worker.  He made and presented to the Lodge the 24 inch gauge that is used by the Master in the lecture of the 1st degree.

 

PopePope in color1971  George William Pope  (1930 - 2017)  (181355408) Brother "Bud" was born and raised in Fresno.  After serving two years in the U.S. Army, he returned to Fresno and in 1954 petitioned Las Palmas Lodge to take the degrees of Masonry.  He was raised in Las Palmas Lodge on September 8, 1955.

 

During his year as Master, Brother Pope raised 7 Master Masons and had 3 Masons affiliate with Las Palmas Lodge.

 

He owned and operated Pope Tire Company along with his father who was also a member of our Lodge.  He likes to collect vintage cars. 

 

 

Saroyan1972  Ralph Saroyan  (1918 – 2006)   (148722428)  The following is an excerpt of a note written by Brother Saroyan that was found in his Lodge file and best describes his life.

“I was born in Sanger, California, March 2, 1918, across the tracks from the Barr Packing Co.  We moved to Fresno, and lived on a farm, 40 acres, on First Street between what is now Dayton Ave. and Ashlan Ave.  I attended Scandinavian Grammar School when it was a real red brick school house, up to the 4th grade.  I used to walk over two miles to and return from school.  Bikes were too expensive.  About the only thing I can remember about the period I went to Scandinavian was that I borrowed a friend’s (he was rich) bike and ran right into one of those great big trees and broke my leg.

 

We lost our farm, moved to Los Angeles for about two years where my folks ran a grocery store, got back on our feet, and moved right back to Fresno where we took over another grocery store on the corner of First and Ventura where we stayed 38 years and finally, not our competitors, but he Redevelopment group put us out of business.  I attended Hawthorne, Jefferson and then Longfellow Jr. Hi School.  There I got interested in Amateur Radio because of Mr. Erwin Martin.  I went out for track and was on the relay team that set a city record.  I then went to Fresno High School when it was such a snob and I really didn’t belong there at the time, but I did get good grades and graduated in 1936.  I couldn’t afford college, so I went to work in the folk’s grocery store.  I was very active in radio work as I built all of my equipment and talked all over the world.  I was among the first to put a transmitter and receiver in my car so that I could drive and operate at the same time, and also have a radio station that could be moved to any spot for emergency work.

 

My hobby paid off when the War broke out.  They were in need of radio operators and I volunteered in the Navy and got in as a RM2C.  I was a charter member of the Radio Materiel School at Treasure Island, put in 8 months there, then assigned to the Fleet.  I was stationed aboard the USS Monticello, a troop ship and stayed there 33 months.  We went all over the world, taking over and bringing back troops.  We were in the invasion of Africa, we brought back the first German troops from Africa to the US.  We were the first big ship to dock at LeHarve, Marseilles after the invasion.  We brought back the first batch of American troops to the US from France.  I also sailed in the Pacific and to nearly all of the Islands.  At this time I was in complete charge of the RADAR equipment on the ship.  I being the only on aboard who know anything about it.

 

After the WAR, I went back to the grocery business, bought out my DAD and was on my own for 20 years.  I got married during one of our visits to S.F. to Helen, who was teaching in Elk Grove.  After I got out of the grocery business, I rested for three months and got a call to go to work in a wrecking yard as a trial.  I liked it, bought into it and am running it. 

 

My hobby paid off after the war too.  When SSB (Single-Side-Band method of radio transmissions) was first introduced, I dug into it, and helped pioneer it with about 25 others.  This is a new system of radio communications and is much more superior than the old method.  I have talked to the Generals and other high mucky mucks when they were flying around the world trying out this new system of communications.  All this started in 1952 and it took the Navy 8 years to get into it.  Now, all overseas communications are SSB and it makes me feel good to know that I helped pioneer it.  I built all of the complex equipment since there were no manufacturers building this equipment in the old days of SSB.

 

In 1963, I petitioned Las Palmas, which has been the greatest experience of my life.”  Brother Saroyan was raised a Master Mason in Las Palmas Lodge on September 3, 1964.  During his year as Master, Brother Saroyan raised 5 Master Masons and had 3 Masons affiliate with Las Palmas Lodge.

 

Lewis1973  Phil Lawrence Lewis  (1921 – 1997)  (23362170)  Brother Phil was born in Columbus, Ohio where he grew up.  He attended high school in both Columbus and Chicago.  After high school he joined the firm of Fred S. Fredericks Flowers and served as an apprentice florist.

 

In September of 1942 he joined the U.S. Navy and took his boot camp training at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station.  He then attended radio school in Indianapolis, Indiana for sixteen weeks.  He served aboard a mine sweeper in the Pacific Theatre for two years as well as a gasoline tanker fueling B-52’s on Kwajalein Island. 

 

After being discharged, he returned to Fred S. Fredericks Flowers to work as a floral designer.  In 1952 he migrated to Taft, California where he purchased Jacks Flower Shop.  He came to Fresno in January of 1966 as he had purchased Parsons Boucher Flower Shop from Las Palmas member Ralph Boucher.

 

Brother Lewis petitioned Las Palmas in August of 1966, was initiated on September 29, 1966, passed on February 9, 1067 and raised on June 1st of 1967.  Shortly thereafter he was appointed to the officer’s line.  During his year as Master, Brother Lewis raised 20 Master Masons and had 1 Mason affiliate with Las Palmas Lodge.  For many years he provided the flowers for our installations and funerals.  Brother Phil was also one of our officer’s coaches.

Shaw1974  John Craig Shaw  (1912 - 1992)  (148723100)  Brother Craig was a native of Fresno.  He worked as a maintenance engineer.  Some of his employers were Progressive Optical, McClure Overhead Doors, and Fresno County Valley Medical Center.

 

He was raised in Las Palmas Lodge on July 13, 1961.  During his year as Master, Brother Shaw raised 10 Master Masons and had 9 Masons affiliate with Las Palmas Lodge. 

 

Additional research is being conducted on the history Brother Shaw.  If you have information, please contact the Lodge Secretary.

 

Young1975  Green Leroy Young  (1914 – 1983)  (148723401)  Brother Young was born in Cleburne, Texas.  In 1944 he started working for Greyhound Bus Lines.  In 1950 he transferred to San Diego and in 1957 he transferred to Fresno.  He retired from Greyhound in 1973.  He was the first of a line of Greyhound Bus drivers to become our Master.  During his year as Master, Brother Young raised 16 Master Masons and had 18 Masons affiliate with Las Palmas Lodge.

 

Brother Young petitioned Las Palmas Lodge in July of 1958 and and was Raised a Master Mason in late 1959.  As a sideliner he learned most of our ritual and was very proficient in delivering it.  Brother Young was instrumental in starting our Widow's Club.  From 1976 to 1980 he served on our Grand Lodge Committee for Youth Orders as well as the Grand Lodge Widows Committee. 

 

At the close of Lodge, Brother Young always had something to say for the benefit of the Lodge or Masonry in general. 

 

EcklandEckland with tricorn1976  Dan Lester Eckland, Jr.  (1932 - 2012)  (148375409)  Brother Eckland was born in Los Angeles. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1951 to 1953.  In 1963 he petitioned Las Palmas Lodge for the degrees of Masonry.  In the January, 1968 Las Palmian it says "In case you don't know Dan, he's the dynamo who keeps the candidates progressing on their proficiency examinations."

 

He worked as a Highway Engineer for the California Department of Highways, later called Cal Trans, in the design department.  Brother Dan’s year as Master coincided with the bi-centennial of our country.  To help celebrate, Grand Lodge permitted the Masters of Lodges to wear tri-corn hats in the East, rather than the customary top hat.  Brother Dan always wore his tri-corn hat when he sat in the East.  During his year as Master, Brother Eckland raised 11 Master Masons and had 14 Masons affiliate with Las Palmas Lodge.

 

J Reynolds1977  John Robert Reynolds  (1939 - 2018)  (187372991) Brother John was born in Dayton, Ohio and moved to Fresno as a young boy.  After serving 2 years in the U.S. Army and working for the Army Reserve, he became a retail salesman.  He petitioned Las Palmas Lodge for the degrees of Masonry in November of 1966.  Both he and his brother, Mike, received their second degree as a courtesy in Sanger Lodge on October 24, 1968.  They both received their third degrees in Las Palmas Lodge on April 18, 1968.

 

During his year as Master, Brother Reynolds raised 8 Master Masons and had 5 Masons affiliate with Las Palmas Lodge.

 

After his employment with the Army Reserve, he became a farmer.  Brother Reynolds is the son of Robert Reynolds, our Master in 1959. 

 

 

Ford1978  Paul Wyatt Ford  (1921 - 1983)  (99479856)  Brother Ford was born in Beaver, Oklahoma.  He then spent his youth in Wheeler, Texas.  He joined the U.S. Marines in September of 1943 where he served in the South Pacific.  While in the Marines, he held a heavy weight boxing title.  He was raised in Las Palmas Lodge on March 3, 1969.  His father was a member of Beaver Lodge No. 269 in Oklahoma.

 

He was our second Master to be a Greyhound Bus driver/terminal manager.  From 1958 to 1962 he was president of union representing Greyhound drivers.  He was a very good ritualist and regularly attended lodge. 

 

During his year as Master, Brother Ford raised 14 Master Masons and had 10 Masons affiliate with Las Palmas Lodge.

 

BinghamBingham and Pres Ford1979  Bobby Carl Bingham  Brother Bingham was born in Supply, Oklahoma, and moved to central California.  He served as a police officer in several cities and in 1961 joined the Fresno Police department where he retired as a Lieutenant. 

 

On March 22, 1976 President Gerald R. Ford paid a visit to Fresno.  Brother Bingham was in charge of the Presidential motorcade for Brother Ford.  Pictured are Brothers Ford and Bingham shaking hands.

 

During his year as Master, Brother Bingham raised 12 Master Masons and had 9 Masons affiliate with Las Palmas Lodge.

 

Additional research is being conducted on the history Brother Bingham.  If you have information, please contact the Lodge Secretary.

 

 

FreyRWF Oct 20131980  Richard Wesley Frey  Brother Frey is a native of Fresno.  He graduated from Fresno Hi School, Fresno City College and Fresno State College with both a BA and an MBA.  He taught business classes at Clovis Hi School for two years and then attended Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco where he received his juris doctorate.   

 

His father and uncle had been members of Las Palmas Lodge.  After seeing Brother Pavlovich conduct his father’s Masonic funeral service in March of 1967, he desired to know more about Masonry.  He petitioned Las Palmas Lodge for the Degrees of Masonry in the fall of 1967 and was Initiated November 30, 1967, Passed on January 25 and Raised a Master Mason on April 11, 1968.  He became our seventy-sixth Master at the age of 35.  In 2013 Brother Frey received the Hiram Award.  On May 17, 2018, Brother Richard received his Golden Veterans Award from PGM Richard Hopper who was the Sr. Stewart when Brother Richard received his Entered Apprentice Degree.

 

In 1979 and 1980 he served on the Grand Lodge Juris Prudence Committee.  As a Lodge Trustee, he spearheaded the work necessary for our Lodge to have its burial plot at Mountain View Cemetery.  During his year as Master, Brother Frey raised 8 Master Masons and had 3 Masons affiliate with Las Palmas Lodge.

 

After practicing law in the private sector for two years, he became a Deputy District Attorney with the Fresno County Family Support Division from 1974 to 2003.  He also taught business and computer classes at Fresno City College and Clovis Adult School.  He likes to fish for rainbow trout.  He also likes to travel and do genealogy research.  Brother Frey has been the Webmaster for the Las Palmas-Ponderosa webs site since 2012.

 

StarrGary Starr 21981  Gary Allen Starr  Brother Starr was born in Hanford, California and graduated from McLane High School in Fresno.  He was Raised a Master Mason in Las Palmas Lodge on March 1, 1973.  During his year as Master, Brother Starr raised 9 Master Masons and had 9 Masons affiliate with Las Palmas Lodge.

 

He worked as a process controller for PPG Industries at their glass manufacturing facility in Fresno. 

 

Additional research is being conducted on the history Brother Starr.  If you have information, please contact the Lodge Secretary.

 

Kleinknight1982  Jim Franklin Kleinknight  (1925 – 1995)  (148724503)  Brother Kleinknight was born in Taft, California.  He served his country during  WW II.  He was a production assistant for Mobil Oil Company and upon retirement from Mobil, he became a Snap-On-Tools salesman from his route truck.

 

In 1957 he received the Degrees of Masonry from Poinsettia Lodge No. 633 in Ventura.  In 1963 he affiliated with Las Palmas Lodge.  At Las Palmas he was a candidates coach for several years before being appointed to the Officer's Line in 1976.  Because of changes in his residency due to employment, he was in the officers line, at various Lodges,  for 18 years before he became Master.

During his year as Master, Brother Kleinknight raised 9 Master Masons and had 6 Masons affiliate with Las Palmas Lodge.

 

In 1994 he was honored by Las Palmas Lodge for his continuing service with The Hiram Award.

 

Cole1983  Eldon William Cole  (1918 – 1996)  (97414458)  Eldon Cole was born in Lubbock, Texas.  During WW II he served his county in the army as a machine gunner in heavy weapons.  He was awarded the Purple Heart with 2 oak leaf clusters and 7 campaign stars.

 

Brother Cole petitioned Las Palmas Lodge in April of 1963 and was raised a Master Mason on February 6, 1964.  He waited many years before he became an officer so that back surgery techniques could improve and he could get rid of his crutch and walk without any assistance.  He was our third Master who was a driver for Western Greyhound Bus Lines. 

During his year as Master, Brother Cole raised 15 Master Masons and had 5 Masons affiliate with Las Palmas Lodge.

 

Hopper 2Larry Hopper 21984  Lawrence Donald Hopper  Brother Larry was born and raised in Fresno.  He earned both a BA and MA in Biology at Fresno State College.  His specialty was pest management.  He remained in this field of employment until 1977 when he joined his father in the Real Estate appraisal business.

 

He petitioned Las Palmas Lodge in the fall of 1975 and on June 10, 1976 was Raised a Master Mason. 

 

He is the son of James Hopper (Master 1950), who had the pleasure of obligating, raising and giving the lecture for his son.  He is also the brother of Richard Hopper (Grand Master 2008). 

 

Jim and Larry HopperDuring his year as Master, Brother Hopper raised 14 Master Masons and had 8 Masons affiliate with Las Palmas Lodge.

 

 

 

 

 

 Brother Hopper has given the 3rd degree lecture on many Past Master’s Nights and also gives the “Steam Roller” talk on election night.

Last updated February 16, 2018

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