As everyone knows the Stated Communications was cancelled for the last two months due to concerns over the COVID-19 virus. Per guidance from the Grand Master, all Lodge functions and gatherings are at this point are cleared to resume as of June 10th and unless otherwise directed by Grand Lodge, I am still looking to hold the Stated Communications on our regularly scheduled day and time, Monday June 15th at 7:30 p.m. (1930 for those of us still in a military mindset). Any changes to this will be forwarded to everyone at the soonest possible time.
As I stated in last month’s Trestleboard, Brother Earl Covey, one of our very senior and honored members, was not doing well physically and also may be beginning to show signs of Dementia, I ask that all of us please continue to keep him in our prayers.
This month the Lodge and the Fraternity took a serious blow with the loss of Right Worshipful Brother James Albert Newcomer. Jim was a mainstay in the lodge and a mentor to many a “young” Blue Lodge Mason as well as many Scottish Rite Mason’s. A hard act to follow, he will be deeply missed and a difficult pair of shoes to fill. I have included with this month’s Trestleboard, a copy of RWB Jim’s obituary and a brief synopsis of both his Masonic and military histories.
Obituary, Masonic and Military history and for RWB James A. Newcomer Jr.
James “Jim” A. Newcomer, Jr., 65, of Woodbridge, Virginia, passed away unexpectedly on May 14, 2020 at his home. He was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and graduated from Greater Johnstown Area Vocational Technical School in 1972. He was a United States Marine Corps veteran and worked for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency for 35 years until his retirement in 2017.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Geraldine P. Newcomer and James A. Newcomer, Sr., as well as two brothers, Clifford Shaffer and Robert Webb, Jr.
He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Marie; his daughter Angela Newcomer, his son Jason Newcomer, and Jason’s fiancée, Jacqueline Ferrell. He is also survived by his sister, Marianna Rummell, and brother, John Newcomer.
Jim was actively involved in several Masonic organizations. Primarily, he was a member of John A. LeJeune Lodge #350 A.F. & A.M., Quantico, Virginia, for a total of 24 Years.
He was Initiated on the 28th of August 1989, raised to Fellowcraft on the 25th of October the same year and raised to Master Mason on the 10th of January 1990. He was the Worshipful Master in 1995 and 2008 and District Deputy Grand Master in 2005 and was the Treasurer for almost 25 years from 1996 to 2020 with the exception of 2008 when he was the Master for the second time.
Additionally, he was the Lodge Instructor of Work for 2019 and 2020 and a Catechism coach for most of his Masonic Career.
He was responsible for our Lodge dinners held on the third Saturday of each month for several years as well, which improved Lodge attendance.
Jim joined Alexandria Scottish Rite in 1996. He was awarded the Knight Commander Court of Honor (KCCH) in 2009 and was the Degree Master of the 30th Degree for over 10 years. In 2017, he was honored to receive the Scottish Rite 33rd degree. He became a Kena Shriner in 1998 and since his retirement, he had enjoyed transporting patients and their families to the Philadelphia Shriners Hospital.
He was also a member of Quantico Chapter #44, National Sojourners in 2008 where he served as President twice and spearheaded the JROTC awards program and the Sojourners Christmas Food Baskets – community outreach program.
He was an active member of Samuel Nicholas Camp, Heroes of ’76 in 2008 and had served as Camp Commander since 2011. He also belonged to American Legion Post #28 in Triangle, Virginia.
In addition to all of his other Masonic activities, he was also a 25-year member of the Order of the Eastern Star (OES). He served as Worthy Patron of Occoquan Chapter #59 OES in 1996-1997. After affiliating with Calvin A. Lloyd #81 OES, he served as Worthy Patron five times.
Jim enlisted in the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program on 27 Jul 1972, the day after his 18th birthday and departed for MCRD Parris Island, SC to attend recruit training three months later on 7 Nov 1972.
His primary MOS was 6000, Basic Aircraft Maintenance; however, the Marine Corps, in its infinite wisdom, decided his talents could be better put to use elsewhere, and he was reassigned to attend formal school for Amphibian Tractor crewman (MOS 1833). After training, he was assigned to 3rd AmTrac Bn., Camp Schwab, Okinawa, Japan for his first duty station.
Upon completion of his overseas tour, he was assigned to Hq. Co., Force Troops, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, Camp LeJeune, NC.
He reenlisted on 4 January 1975 and went to Air Traffic Control school at NAS, Millington, TN until 14 April 1975. Afterwards he was stationed at Cherry Point, NC until December 1975 when, due to hearing loss he was granted a lateral move. He attended the Marine Motion Picture Photography course at NAS, Pensacola, Florida from January to April 1976, earning a third MOS of 4671, Motion Picture Photographer.
Upon completion of the photographer’s course, he returned to Cherry Point, NC and was assigned to Marine Air Base Squadron-14, Marine Air Group-14, 2nd Marine Air Wing, where he served until his enlistment ended on 11 December 1978. He was formally discharged on 4 January 1979 after a total of 6 years, 4 months and 14 days of service.
During his time on active duty he received the following awards for his service:
o The National Defense Service Medal,
o The Good Conduct Medal w/1* and
o a Meritorious Mast for outstanding performance of duties
· Jim and Marie, also a Marine, met at Camp LeJeune, NC in October 1974 and began what would lead to a 45+ year marriage.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to any of the following charities in his memory:
1) Quantico Chapter #44 National Sojourners, c/o Bennett Hart, 9638 Park Street, Manassas VA 20110
2) Scottish Rite Foundation of Virginia, c/o Leonard Rowe, 4841 Hickory Ridge Court, Roanoke VA 24018
3) Shriners Hospital – Honolulu, Attn: Lori Suan, Development, 1310 Punahou Street, Honolulu HI 96826-1099 *Please mark “Patient Transportation Fund” in memo line*
A memorial service will be held at a later date due to current COVID-19 restrictions. He will be buried at Quantico National Cemetery.
Administrative notes and parting shots:
In the meantime, for those of us that are tasked with speaking roles in the lodge, I once again urge you to practice your parts, to include your obligation, as often as you are able as all things can become “rusty” if not used from time to time. Follow the old military habit of knowing the job of the person at least two levels above you to improve your proficiency.
Sincerely and Fraternally,
Randall Arnold, Worshipful Master
May 27, 2020