Monday, February 20, 2012

'Finding Joe'

  
(With apologies to the makers of the recent film on Joseph Campbell.)

The Searchers Club held a very special meeting tonight, so special that the group required the Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library to serve as an appropriate setting. On the agenda was the unsealing of several mysterious parcels recently received from Japan, boxes containing Masonic treasures that excited our anticipation as we eagerly awaited the moment of unveiling.


Regalia, parchments, jewels, and ephemera of various kinds filled several cardboard cartons shipped to Bro. Darryl Perry in New York from his friend Diana in Japan, daughter of the late Ill. Joe Diele, a renowned Scottish Rite Mason in Japan.


Bro. Darryl & Bro. Earnest.
The medium-sized cardboard cartons were shipped by the daughter of the late Ill∴ Joe Diele, 33°, GC, a hard working Scottish Rite Mason of the Southern Jurisdiction who passed away in 2005. Not knowing what to do with so much regalia and ephemera, she sent them across the planet to her friend Bro. Darryl Perry of Joseph Warren-Gothic Lodge No. 934, who co-founded the Searchers Club with Bro. Earnest Hudson.

The group assembled included RW Tom Savini, director of the library; RW Bill Thomas, Grand Treasurer, RW Ron Steiner, public relations director; various club members; and other miscellaneous, curious Masons, like myself. None of us knew anything about our departed brother. All we had to go on was his obituary published in the May-June 2005 issue of The Scottish Rite Journal. It was up to the Mystic Tie to bring us together to share this moment of exploration and remembrance.

Please read about Bro. Diele here to get a better idea of his service to the Craft. For brevity here, I'll just let the photographs speak for themselves.



Ill. Diele received these jewels in recognition for presiding over three Scottish Rite bodies.

The jewels shown above are past presiding officer jewels. From left: Venerable Master of a Lodge of Perfection; Wise Master of a Chapter of Rose Croix; and Commander of a Council of Kadosh. Diele presided over these bodies in Tokyo. In 1973, he received the Knight Commander Court of Honour, and in 1975 the 33°. The following year he was appointed Deputy for Japan and Korea, and served until his retirement, only several months before his death. In 2001, Supreme Council bestowed on him its top honor, Grand Cross of the Court of Honour.

Ill. Bro. Diele was not a mere office-holder or title-chaser. His leadership extended into the work from which true legacies are founded. Please do read that obituary for the details, but to offer a few highlights, Diele brought the Tokyo Masonic Center to fruition. He was honored with the Takashi Komatsu Distinguished Service Medal from the Grand Lodge of Japan, and even was an Honorary Past Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Japan, and was an Honorary Marshal of the District Grand Lodge of Scotland in Hong Kong. Honors such as these are not awarded frivolously or frequently.



From left: the jewels of the Thirty-Third Degree and Knight Commander of the Court of Honour, both Scottish Rite honors, and the Joseph Warren Medal from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.



RW Bro. John Chang inspects a certificate awarded to Ill. Diele.

Obviously death figures largely in Masonic thinking and practice. How many other fraternal orders have their own ritualized funeral services? "To live respected, and die regretted" is how the ideal is phrased often.

And then there are all those things we leave behind. Maybe a bookshelf of Masonic literature. Carry cases full of aprons, caps, fezzes, and other clothing. White gloves. The leather-like snap cases containing highly ornamental gold medals. Gold always is valuable, especially today. Lapel pins by the score. Plaques, certificates, souvenirs. So much more. Where does it all go after we ourselves are gone?

Into the trash, mostly, except for the gold. Maybe for sale on eBay or somewhere. Perhaps occasionally given back to the brother's lodge, which already has an abundance of such inventory.

As explained above, the daughter of the late Ill. Diele, not knowing how to properly care for these Masonic items seven years after the death of her father, shipped them all to Bro. Darryl. During our enjoyable meeting to salute the memory of our late brother, Darryl decided to return everything to Japan, not back to Diana, but to the Tokyo Masonic Center, where the Masonic memory of Ill. Joe Diele deserves to serve others today and tomorrow as an inspiration. In that way, one overcomes the sting of death and robs the grave of victory. SMIB.



Bro. Earnest Hudson, RW Tom Savini, RW John Chang, Bro. Darryl Perry, and RW Ron Steiner.
     

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