My Journey to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason.

Jonathan Mark Mills, DDGM
District Educational Officer
Masonic District 49

I suppose that my Masonic journey began before I was even born. My grandfather, Illustrious Luther Mills, 33° IGH, inspired my father, Worshipful Warren P. Mills, PM, to join the Masonic Fraternity. When I turned thirteen, I joined the International Order of DeMolay and served as the Master Councilor and Chaplain of my DeMolay Chapter. I was awarded the Representative DeMolay Medal and many merit bars. I attended various open Masonic functions such as installations of officers, picnics, etc. and was an escort for one of my Sisters in the Order of the Rainbow for several years, and we are still very close friends to this day.

I went to college and then joined the U.S. Army. I served as a Combat Medic, Flight Medic and as a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter pilot, and my assignments were determined by the Special Management Branch at the Department of the Army. I was deployed to many parts of the world, without my family, and never really had the time to petition a Masonic Lodge, as I had no real roots in any one given place. My wife’s grandfather, Worshipful Lee Roy Shoemaker, PM, and her father, Brother William Howard Shoemaker, were both members of Fidelity Lodge No. 173 in Nickelsville, Virginia. Brother William Howard Shoemaker passed to the Celestial Lodge above in 1996. I asked my wife’s family if he was going to have a Masonic funeral service, since my father had conducted many of these when I was a young man. They asked me to find out how this could be arranged, and not being a Mason at the time, I asked around to find out the name of a Mason or Masons to whom I could talk. Right Worshipful Dick Odle was the Mason with whom I was put in contact, and he arranged for the Masonic funeral service to be conducted. He and a group of other Masons came to the Shoemaker Family Cemetery and assisted in cleaning up the graveyard and removing old junk and trees that had surrounded the area. This act of kindness and the fraternal bond these men shared had reignited my desire to become a Mason and continue the time-honored membership our families had in this Fraternity.

I became the Postmaster of my hometown, Nickelsville, Virginia in August of 2003. One of my rural carriers, Worshipful John L. Compton, was a Past Master of Fidelity Lodge No. 173. We had discussions quite often on Freemasonry, and I asked him for a petition for membership; he was my first line signer and Right Worshipful
Dick Odle was my second. I was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason in March of 2004.

I have had the pleasure of receiving many fine titles and awards in my lifetime, but none can take the place of honor that the title “Brother” and “Master Mason” have for me!

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