Ill. Stanley T. Benner, 33 °, shares about three men who touched his life in Freemasonry.

There are three PM’s who have really touched my heart in my 49 plus years in Masonry. Two were PM’s of Lincoln Lodge #693 in Middletown – Chester R. Berry and Cary I. Fenton MSA and Thomas C. Hubler 33° from Eastern Star Lodge #55 in Franklin, Ohio. We were all great friends and when they became seriously sick we talked about life, the good times and bad and regrets of the past and their loved ones that would be left behind. I allowed them to talk with me when others wanted to stay away from the subject. When they died a part of me died with them. I don’t know how to explain how this happened, but for the fact that we were Masons trying to help and understand what would lie ahead.

Chester was a terrible diabetic and his kidneys, we’re shutting down and there was little to be done but await death. He loved to eat, but was told that was the worst thing he could do for his health. When the end was near, his wife Jean asked if my wife Jerrolyn could fix him his favorite meal, which was a roast with all the trimmings and dessert. He had one of his last meals with us and he loved it! Shortly after, he was administered anesthesia for a routine test and never woke up. I gave his Masonic service and even sang a song just for him.

Next came Cary I Fenton, an MSA from the Valley of Dayton, who fought colon cancer for many years. When he had a bone marrow transplant, I would call and visit him during his recovery and treatment. His wife Nancy also had cancer and when she died, Cary just gave up and quit his cancer treatments and died within the next year. We traveled to Scottish Rite many times. He was the first director of the new 17° degree and active in Red Cross. When Cary was nearing his end, hospice cared for Cary at his home. I got a phone call during a round of golf from a hospice nurse and she said Cary wanted to see his best friend! 😢 I directly went to his house and he was awaiting me before he died. I held his hand and talked with him and kissed him on his forehead and said goodbye to my best friend. I again did his Masonic Funeral Serice and his ring service as well.

Next was Thomas Hubler 33° who was my mentor director of the Eighteenth Degree since I left being the Most Wise Master in 1997. Once he became really sick with Parkinson’s disease, he announced his decision to retire as Director of the Eighteenth and asked me to replace him. I would try to visit Tom weekly and call him between my visits. Tom was a planner and he typed out on a sheet of paper how his Masonic Service and Scottish Rite Ring Service would be delivered. I gave all the funeral services per his written instructions and sang two songs as well. 

These were my Masonic brothers who I dearly loved and think of them often. I would never have met them if we weren’t members of the Masonic Fraternity. We had a bond that no one could break. I don’t know if I should list their names or not, because there are so many other Masons who have touched my life in a positive way during my journey. I will continue to give what comfort I can to people who want to talk about their troubles in life. I’ve shared with two brothers whose sons have committed suicide and the pain that each of us have suffered. Life goes on.