W∴ Master’s Letter for September

August 14, 2020

Dear Gulf Beach Lodge Brothers,

We hope this communication finds you and your family safe, happy, and healthy during these uncertain times of pandemic. Our Lodge has been dark since March 19th due to Covid-19, an unprecedented five months, and we have been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to safely reopen our doors. It is my belief that we have arrived at a time that we can open our Lodge for meetings, but with some restrictions. It is my plan to hold two stated communications (business meetings) in September, one on the 3rd and the other on the 17th starting at 7:30 PM and one EA Degree (pending ballot) on the 24th (there will be no meeting on September 10th).

With our membership’s health being our main concern, we will be implementing certain precautionary actions to ensure that we stay within CDC, State and Local recommendations for interaction during the Corona Virus.

Our Lodge room is small, so we are asking you to wear a mask while inside (the mask must cover nose and mouth) , maintain a six foot social distancing between brothers, use the provided hand sanitizer upon entering the building. Refrain from handshaking. There will be no meal or refreshments served, however, bottled water is available.

Since our space is limited we ask that you notify the Secretary, David Neville, by email or phone 727-452-5776  (secretary@gulfbeachlodge.org) if you are planning to attend either, or both, meetings (if attending only one meeting, please specify which one). This will give us an idea of any further precautions that we may have to consider.

Brothers, if you are feeling sick and/or have someone in your circle who is sick or has tested positive for Covid-19, we respectfully ask that you not attend the Lodge meeting in order to protect the health of our membership.

Finally, our Grand Master, Tommy Turlington, is hopeful that things will soon return to normal and Florida Masons can once again meet on the level as we did before the Corona Virus. Until then we are united in doing all we can to keep our members safe.

Thank you,

Respectfully and Fraternally,

Patrick Lynch, Worshipful Master

Gulf Beach Lodge is Dark during July and August

Gulf Beach Lodge is usually dark* during July and August. Additionally there is the COVID-19 emergency. However, there may be other events, which will appear on the calendar.

Saturday, August 1, 2020: Trash Pirates Clean Up (Revised):


We will be doing our part to keep Madeira Beach clean. There has been some minor changes so PLEASE read carefully. Covid-19 has forced the Trash Pirates to do a ‘social distancing’ clean up, which means that we will not be meeting at Archibald Park at 8:00 AM as their plans had called for during non-covid times.

We will meet at 8:30 AM at the Lodge (like we did at our July neighborhood clean up) and fan out through the neighborhood like we did last time to do our part. 

Vests, hand sanitizer, garbage bags and bottled water will be provided.

We will return to the Lodge at 9:30 AM.

Thank you for helping out.


Howard W. Knapp PM, PDI, PDDGM
PR Team Member

*Dark in masonic-speak means there are no lodge meetings.

Photo: L – R: Brothers Chip Cahall, Howard Feldman, David Neville, Patrick Lynch, Joe Sosa, Steve Johnson, David Ristine, John Patterson

Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge, located at 14020 Marguerite Dr. in Madeira Beach, sponsored a neighborhood cleanup which took place of July 12, 2020. Members of the Lodge, along with some local residents, collected over ten garbage bags of trash from the neighborhood adjacent to the Masonic Lodge off 140th Avenue in Madeira Beach. Everyone involved wore masks and were socially distanced. It was a wonderful opportunity for the Lodge to give back to the community and help in keeping our neighborhood clean. Gulf Beach Lodge will be volunteering at the Madeira Beach Trash Pirates cleanup on Saturday August 1st and encourages other organizations to take part in this, and other, community activities.

Tribute for Brother John Dean Fink


Here is a nice tribute to our late brother, John Dean Fink, veteran of WWII who passed away on April 11th. This was published in the Tang Base Newsletter for May. Thank you brother Howard Feldman for forwarding this to the Lodge.


Howard W. Knapp PM, PDI, PDDGM
PR Team

Friday, May 1, 1020: The May Trestleboard  (Newsletter) is now posted here.


Gulf Beach Lodge delivered meals from Boston Market to our Emeritus brothers this week. We would like all of our members to know that we are here for you should you need anything. We are all in this together!!

This initiative was discussed and agreed upon by the members and officers of the Lodge at our Zoom online meeting last Thursday. The Board of Relief used funds from the Charity Fund to provide these meals.

Thank you Worshipful Patrick Lynch for making the deliveries.


Howard W. Knapp PM, PDI, PDDGM
PR Team


April 19, 2020 marks the 70th Anniversary of Gulf Beach Lodge No. 291. This April 19th also marks the first time that our Lodge has not held any meetings in the month of April. The Corona Virus has effectually put a temporary stop to all Masonic Lodge meetings and activities until further notice from the Grand Master of Florida. It is our sincere hope that life will soon return to a more normal situation and we will be able to gather as friends and brothers to celebrate our 70th Anniversary as a Chartered Florida Lodge.

In the meantime, here is a short synopsis of the beginnings of our Lodge 70 years ago and of the men who blazed the way for Masonry on the Gulf Beaches.

On December 8th 1949 a group of Masons led by ‘Scotty’ John Palmer assembled in a room at the Church by the Sea located on Madeira Beach Florida for the purpose of starting a Masonic Lodge. There were 57 present for the meeting, 44 visiting brothers, 2 members, 9 officers, the Grand Master (A. Wayne Conner) and District Deputy Grand Master (Eugene A. Nigels). A. Wayne Conner, Grand Master of Masons for the state of Florida opened an occasional Lodge of Master Masons in ample form and granted dispensation for a Lodge on Madeira Beach, which was sponsored by Star Lodge No.78 in Largo, the nearest Lodge to the location. The dispensation was only valid through April 1st 1950 (four months) and  was presented to the following Masons; John Blaich Jr., Harry Butler, George Clark, Burnice Cottrell, George Edelstein, Clyde Fashner, Theodore Howell, John Ivey, Junius McCrocklin, John Mundell, John Palmer, Carl Schaefer, Edgerton Taylor, Charles Wiebel and Kenneth Vaughn. The first Master of the Lodge while U.D. (under dispensation) status was W∴ George Frederick Clark, with Brothers  George Edelstein and Theodore Howell as Senior and Junior Wardens respectively, Brother Junius McCrocklin, Treasurer; Brother John Palmer, Secretary; Brothers Carl Schaefer and Charles Buxton, Senior and Junior Deacons respectively; Brother Kenneth Vaughn, Chaplain; Brothers Charles Wiebel and James Knowles, Senior and Junior Stewards respectively, Brother Burnice Cottrell as Tyler and J.A. Mundell as Marshal of the Lodge. The Grand Master said that this “was like launching a ship and we were now under way, with a Captain and crew”. And he gave it strictly in charge “that we were meeting in the House of God, and that we refrain from smoking in the Lodge room, telling of lurid stories, and from the use of profanity”.

December 15th the Lodge opened the meeting with $10.00 in the Treasury and a bill was submitted for $6.75 for Lodge stationary and paid thus leaving the Lodge with $3.25 on hand. The question arose as to the $5.00 that Brother Edelstien submitted along with the request for dispensation. Brother Edlestien stated that the $5.00 would be given by him as a donation. At the first meeting there were three petitions read for the degrees of Freemasonry. Mssrs. Henry T. Van Dyke and George A. Wiebel were accepted and one other petition rejected.  Degree fees were established at $25.00 for Entered Apprentice, $20.00 for Fellowcraft and $15.00 for Master Mason. Sunshine Lodge U.D. presented Gulf Beach Lodge U.D. with three gavels. Brother Joy Adams, Master of Sunshine Lodge U.D. stated that he would also supply the Lodge with a ballot box. The altar was presented by Brother Kenneth Vaughn, the bible by Brother Charles Shuey of St. Petersburg Lodge No. 139, Brother Bill Newman of Sunshine Lodge U.D. promised material to make aprons. Brother Charles Wiebel promised to provide fixtures for the lesser lights, and Brother Virgil Hanks from the Masonic Home promised light bulbs for the lesser lights. Brother Kenneth Vaughn asked that he be removed as chaplain which was accepted with regrets by all present. Brother Charles Buxton was appointed to replace him. Brother Kenneth Vaughn was appointed then as Junior Deacon. They were both duly installed.

January 12th the first degree work held under dispensation.

January 19th the Lodge made a purchase of Lodge Officer Jewels from the National Masonic Press for $42.05. This evening was the first official visit by the District Deputy Grand Master, R∴W∴Eugene Nigels.

Regular meetings were held at the Church by the Sea, for which the Lodge paid $15.00 monthly. On March 16, 1950, at a regular communication, an election of officers was held. These officers were to fill the chairs after the Charter was granted by the Grand Lodge. Those elected were; Brother Carl Schaefer- Worshipful Master; Brother John Palmer- Senior Warden; Brother Edgerton Taylor- Junior Warden; Brother Harry Butler- Treasurer and Brother Kenneth Vaughn- Secretary. By-laws were also presented and approved at the same meeting.

At the last meeting of Gulf Beach Lodge U.D. on March 29, 1950 the minutes state “Nothing else coming before this Lodge of Master Masons the same now rests until future orders by the Grand Lodge F&AM of Florida”.  Three weeks later Gulf Beach Lodge No.291 was to be born.
Gulf Beach Lodge U.D. received its charter from the Grand Lodge of Florida on April 19, 1950 with the number to be 291. On May 8, 1950 M∴W∴ Gus Dekle, Grand Master, and officers of the Grand Lodge were present at Sunshine Lodge U.D.’s  Masonic Temple for the dedication, consecration and presentation of Charters to Gulf Beach Lodge and Sunshine Lodge (No. 288). After W∴ J. Adams of Sunshine Lodge opened the meeting, the Grand Officers assumed the chairs of the Lodge. The Most Worshipful Grand Master dedicated and consecrated both Lodges and presented them their Charters after which he installed the officers of each Lodge. The elected officers assumed their duties, except for Brother Kenneth Vaughn, who was replaced as Secretary by Brother Henry Van Dyke. Brother Van Dyke served as Secretary until October 5, 1950 when he was called back into active duty to serve in the Korean War. He was replaced as Secretary by Brother Frank Jones. Gulf Beach Lodge No. 291’s first called communication was held at the Church by the Sea on May 11, 1950. On May 18, 1950 the following brothers were the first to be Raised in Gulf Beach Lodge; Brothers Clair Siefferman, George Gretzinger, George Davis and Richard Patz. The first men to petition the Lodge for the Degrees were Mssrs. Arnie Garrett, Amzy Lockwood and Elmer Shirey.


Howard W. Knapp PM, PDI, PDDGM
Lodge Historian 

Thursday, March 12, 2020: Called Meeting – Masonic Apron Night

Join us tonight (Thursday March 12th) at 7:30 PM at Gulf Beach Lodge for a talk on Masonic Aprons, “Then and Now” presented by R∴W∴ Howard Knapp. This will be a tiled meeting in the Entered Apprentice Degree. Brothers are encouraged to wear or bring an apron that belonged to a dearly departed family member or friend and share a short history of that apron with us.

A light buffet will be served at 6:30 PM with the meeting to follow.

(Photo: M∴W∴ Charles Iain Robert Wolrige-Gordon, Past Grand Master Mason of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, A∴F∴& A∴M∴, from 2008 – 2018)

Saturday, March 7, 2020:Madeira Beach Community Cleanup

Join us from 8:00 – 10:00 am for the Madeira Beach Community Cleanup, hosted by the Trash Pirates.  Volunteers gather at Archibald Beach Park, 15100 Gulf Blvd. where they check-in and receive all the essentials needed to help with the cleanup and a one-day parking pass, courtesy of the City of Madeira Beach. Participants are encouraged to dress appropriately for the weather conditions and to use sunscreen. 

We hope to see many brothers come out and show the community that Gulf Beach Lodge supports Madeira Beach. Wear a Masonic shirt if you have one!