In each family, there are traditions, values, and beliefs that get passed down from one generation to the next. One of the most satisfying moments in our Masonic journeys is when we transcend generations and share the bond of brotherhood with our own kin.

This fall, we have been honoring the Masonic legacies of Scottish Rite members throughout the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. As our legacy spotlights conclude, we wish to share the stories of brethren whose families have continued their quest for light for generations, demonstrating that the teachings of the craft are as true and empowering today as they were a century before.

Please enjoy these three stories that share some of the longest Masonic legacies that have been submitted and take pride in knowing the undeniable bond and influence Freemasonry has on families as it continues to be passed on.

Kurzenknabe family's Masonic legacy

Glenn Kurzenknabe

“I joined Harrisburg Consistory in 1971 and have been an active member ever since.

My son, Mark R. Kurzenknabe, joined Harrisburg Consistory in 1999. Mark is also currently the Assistant Director for the Masonic Home for Children in Elizabethtown, PA.

My other son, Paul W. Kurzenknabe, joined Harrisburg Consistory in 2016.

My grandson (Mark’s son) Connor J. Kurzenkabe, joined Robert Burns Lodge No. 464 in 2019 before leaving for college. I hope at some point he will become a member of Scottish Rite.

My great-grandfather, Dr. Monroe D. Lehr, M.D., served as Worshipful Master of Ashlar Lodge No. 570 in Lykens, PA in 1900. He was a member of Harrisburg Consistory. My grandfather, Charles E. Kurzenknabe, MSA, was a member of Harrisburg Consistory. He founded and directed the Valley orchestra from 1935 until he died in 1962. My father, John G. Kurzenknabe, played in the Valley orchestra from 1946-2000. My uncle, Brother J. Russell Owen, was a member of former Harrisburg Lodge No. 629, and was also a member of Harrisburg Consistory.”

Glenn’s father-in-law, William D. Dick, was a member of Robert Burns Lodge No. 464 and a member of Harrisburg Consistory. Glenn did not know him until after he met William’s daughter, Barbara, who later became Glenn’s wife. On their first date, Barbara noticed Glenn’s Masonic ring and told him her father was also a Mason! She had been a Rainbow girl and was a member of Eastern Star.

All Kurzenknabe brethren have been and currently are members of Robert Burns Lodge No. 464 in Harrisburg.

Berkson family's Masonic legacy

Mark Berkson

Brother Mark Berson is a member of the Valley of West Hempstead.

“On April 19, 2010, 18 Brothers from five different lodges of the First Westchester Putnam District drove to Lynbrook Massapequa Lodge 822 to support Brother Paul Berkson and Paul’s grandfather, R.W. Mitchell Frank in raising me. Since R.W. Mitchell Frank became a Mason, he had hoped of passing on this special bond between Brothers and now it is complete.”

Brother Berkson received his 32° conferral on May 14, 2014, five years after his son was conferred as a Scottish Rite Mason in 2009, and 37 years after his father was conferred as a 32° Scottish Rite Mason!

“Brother Paul [my son] went on to be Master of Briarcliff Lodge 1155 and is currently a member of the Valley of New York City. R.W. Mitchell [my dad] passed away at the age of 104 and was a member of the Valley of Rockville Centre.”

Thompson family's Masonic legacy

Richard Thompson

“I am from one of those multigenerational Masonic families - grandfather, father, son. When you add in uncles and cousins, you get quite a number. We often joke that if we ever hold a family reunion, we can apply for a charter. When a son is born, fathers run out and buy a bat, ball and glove. In my family, when a son is born, his father gets an application for degrees.

I grew up with the Masonic fraternity in my life. Some of my earliest memories involve accompanying my father to one Masonic function or another. I remember my father sitting at our kitchen table polishing the officer’s jewels. I can remember my father telling me he was Junior Warden and the Junior Warden was responsible for getting the officer jewels ready for the installation.

Is it any wonder that on the first day I was eligible, I applied for membership in the Order of DeMolay? Is it any wonder that my Masonic journey, counting the Order of DeMolay, is now 55 years old?

In addition to being the grandson, son and father of a Master Mason, I am also the son of a Scottish Rite Mason. When I was raised to the degree of Master Mason, my father was sitting in the Oriental Chair. When I was installed as Master of my lodge, my father was sitting in the Oriental Chair. And when I joined Scottish Rite my father was right by my side.

It was something special to join a Masonic group with my father. For much of my Masonic life, I followed in my father’s footsteps. In the Scottish Rite, our footsteps were side-by-side.”

My job made it difficult for me to be active in the Scottish Rite. Becoming active had to wait until I retired, but retirement came some 10 years earlier than expected. A disability put me out to pasture.

Unfortunately, we lost my father in 2006, not long after I retired. But when I was installed as Thrice Potent Master in the Valley of Nashua, New Hampshire, I had a feeling he was there.

My son lives in England, which puts the Scottish Rite outside his reach. It looks like the Scottish Rite journey for my part of the family ends with me. But I don’t consider this to be the end of my legacy.

I am chairman of the New Hampshire Membership Committee. The committee is creating programs to try to strengthen our valleys and attract Master Masons to the Scottish Rite. The way I figure it, if any Master Mason is influenced to join the Scottish Rite because of something the committee did, no matter how large or small, that Mason is our legacy. So my family’s Scottish Rite journey continues. It continues through that Master Mason who decided to join the Scottish Rite.”

Interested in reading more stories of our brethren’s Masonic legacies? Be sure to read our November 2020 issue of The Northern Light.