RIGHT WORSHIPFUL REID JAMES SIMMONS BIO
Past Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge of Virginia
As Grand Lecturer, Reid James Simmons brought to the Office of Grand Lecturer all of the dedication, scholarship, and tact which this most important Office requires. He held countless Schools of Instruction across the face of our Commonwealth, and, as the custodian of our ritual, insured its purity, the accuracy of our knowledge of it, and dedicated himself to improving the ritualistic ability of every Master Mason and officer in our Grand Lodge. Whenever there was any difficulty of a ritualistic nature, every individual, from the Grand Master to the youngest Entered Apprentice instinctively turned to this wonderful Mason to obtain his opinion.
His wise counsel was not limited to ritualistic matters but dealt also with many of the other issues which face Grand Masters and others who would lead this Fraternity. On many occasions, counsel was taken and led our Masonic leaders to a proper decision in difficult circumstances. Most of those who are present here today knew Reid James Simmons, understood his character, his ability, and knew that when it was said he is, "Mr. Mason," that we meant he epitomized every characteristic which this Fraternity desires to bring forth and to strengthen in its membership. He served the Craft well in every office which he held and was a truly outstanding representative of all for which we stand.
The Life of Right Worshipful Reid James Simmons
Reid James Simmons (1923 - 1993) was born November 21, 1923 in Mt. Airy, North Carolina. He attended public schools in Surry County and graduated from Franklin High School in 1941. In March 1942, he volunteered for service in the United States Marine Corps. He was ultimately assigned to the 25th Marine Regiment, a part of the 4th Marine Division. He saw action with this Division across the South Pacific, including Roi-Namur in the Marshall Islands, Saipan, and the Marianas. He received the Purple Heart three times for injuries sustained in combat and was severely wounded on Tinian Island in the Marianas. He was discharged in 1946. Reid was proud of his Marine Corps association and proudly wore the lapel pin of the Order of the Purple Heart.
Following his discharge from the Marine Corps, Brother Reid attended the Southern School of Printing at Nashville, Tennessee and worked in several printing offices before finally obtaining employment at the U. S. Government Printing Office in Washington, D. C., from which he retired in 1980.
Right Worshipful Brother Simmons received his degrees in Elmer Timberman Lodge No. 54, with the Master Mason's Degree being conferred on June 5, 1959. He was an honorary member and served as its Worshipful Master in 1969, as Secretary of that Lodge from 1971 to 1974, and as a Trustee from 1975 to 1993. He was an honorary member of Springfield Lodge No. 217 and Sterling Lodge No. 268. He was also a member of A. Douglas Smith, Jr., Lodge of Research No. 1949 and the Tennessee Lodge of Research.
Other Masonic activities include membership in Annandale Royal Arch Chapter No. 77; Faith Chapter No. 177, Order of the Eastern Star; and Alexandria Scottish Rite Bodies, 33°, I.G.H. Always interested in the ritual, Brother Simmons was appointed District Instructor of Work for Masonic District 1-B in 1969, and to the Committee on Work in 1970. He served as District Deputy Grand Master for Masonic District 1-B in 1973. Reid was appointed Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge of Virginia, succeeding Right Worshipful Charles Armistead Sinclair, Jr., on February 14, 1975.
A highly respected and devoted Mason, Right Worshipful Brother Simmons was awarded the John Blair, Jr., Medal in 1982, and the George Washington Distinguished Service Medal in 1990.
Right Worshipful Brother Reid passed to the Celestial Lodge Above on September 9, 1993 after a long bout with cancer. An Evening Memorial Service was conducted by Elmer Timberman Lodge No. 54 on September 12, 1993, with most of the Grand Lodge Officers and Past Grand Masters present. Religious services were held on September 13, 1993, at Everley-Wheatly Funeral Home in Alexandria, Virginia, with interment immediately following at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors being rendered by the United States Marine Corps Honor Guard and Band.