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By Carmen Ensinger
John Neece was honored by the White Hall Masonic Lodge on Sunday June 26 with a reception at the Lodge for being a Master Mason for an astonishing 75 years.
Michael Jackson, Grand Master of the State of Illinois was on hand to present Neece with both a pin and a certificate of appreciation for his many years of dedicated service to the Masonic Lodge.
“Seventy-five years as a Master Mason is not something that many people achieve,” Jackson said. “With that being said, it is my honor to present to you this pin – you know how us Masons like our pins, and this certificate in recognition of your 75 years of faithful service to our organization.”
Neece, who will turn 100 years young in September said it has been an honor and a pleasure to be as Master Mason for this many years.
“I’ve had a good time in these many years,” he said. “The camaraderie that I’ve had with the candidates is irreplaceable. And, when you see someone stand in the East and you help them all the way…it just does something for you.”
Neece got very emotional while talking about the Masons and how much it meant to be a part of the organization for all these years. It was something he felt a need to apologize for.
“I’m sorry that I am so tender hearted,” he said. “But I’m Scottish and us Scots are tender hearted.”
This brought a roar of laughter from the crowd. If nothing else, Neece knows how to work a room.
“Seventy-five years, huh? Funny, don’t seem like a day over 74,” he said. “I have had a good time in this trip through Masonry – all 75 years of it.”
Thought he will be turning 100 in a few months, Neece is still sharp as the proverbial tack. He was asked what he thought of the celebration that was being given in his honor.
“Well, to be honest, I think it’s out of place on me,” he said. “When I was 95, they honored me and they asked me if I was going to do one at a 100. I said that waits to be seen. As long as I still have it up here (pointing to head) I’ll stick around.”