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Montana Freemason                                         April 2017                                               Volume 93   Number 1
                                                          Why We Give

                                                          The Dignity of Service

                                                                            Meet Major Thomas Spencer
                                                                                          Mason for 55 Years

              Before  he  entered  into  30  years  of  civil  service;   To help young people afford college, he has endowed
            before he began 20 years of active duty in the U.S.  scholarships  in  Nebraska, Texas,  and  at  Chula Vista
            Army; before he earned the rank of major and dozens  Lodge. Spencer is also a member of the Grand Master
            of military decorations, Thomas Spencer was a kid in  Circle level of giving, and a member of the Cornerstone
            the agricultural hub of Chula Vista, sweeping the floor  Society,  a  special  group  of  donors  who  include  the
            at his dad's Masonic lodge. "My brother and I were a  fraternity in their estate plans or wills - supporting its
            cleaning team," he says. "It was our duty." They were  philanthropic programs posthumously.
            too  young  to  understand  much  about  the  fraternity.
            But their father was the master of Chula Vista Lodge
            No. 626, and they were expected to do their part.          “You’re supposed to leave this world better
                                                                        than you found it,”  Spencer says. “To do
              Spencer’s father’s lodge is now his own. He became         that you’ve got to leave some money to
            a Mason there in 1962 when he was 28, home on leave          an organization that will work for the
            after an Army tour in Korea. He was initiated by his                 betterment of society.”
            father and the same men whose citrus orchards he’d
            worked on as a young man.                               It’s an echo of his first Masonic lesson, as a young
                                                                  boy sweeping the floor at Chula Vista Lodge: You’ve
              As an infantry officer, Spencer was dispatched on one  got to do your part.
            overseas tour after another, where he made Masonic
            connections along the way. Some of his earliest posts       Reprinted from the California Freemason magazine.
            brought  him  into  small  European  lodges,  and  he
            thrived on their intimate gatherings and philosophical
            discussions.  “Those  conversations  about  Masonic     And now the rest of the story
            principles  helped  me  understand  my  father  better  -    Brother Spencer has gifted several thousand dollars
            why he was always helping others; why he contributed  to  the  Montana  Masonic  Foundation  for  the  Library
            money to things when our family didn’t have a lot of  for  the  digitization  of  records.  He  has  also  gifted
            money to begin with,” says Spencer. “I try to emulate  paintings of significant value to the Montana Masonic
            him with the things I do today.”                      Foundation for the Montana Masonic Museum.

              Spencer’s  globetrotting  career  gave  him  the      Some of us have had the opportunity to get to know
            opportunity  to  find  a  military  lodge  in  Frankfurt,  Brother Tom and know what a truly humble and caring
            Germany, and to join lodges and Masonic organizations  Mason  he  is.  RW  Brother  Tom  Spencer,  Honorary
            in  France,  Australia,  New  Zealand,  Great  Britain,  Senior  Grand  Warden  of  the  American-Canadian
            Georgia, Missouri, Oregon, and Texas. The list of the  Grand Lodge will be in attendance at our 151st Annual
            charitable  causes  Spencer  has  led  and  supported  are  Communication. Please take time to introduce yourself
            equally  diverse,  from  veterans’  causes  to  the  Shrine  and visit with him and his Lady Martha.
            and Scottish Rite children’s hospitals to environmental
            conservation. He was awarded the charity jewel of the
            Germany-based American-Canadian Grand Lodge.

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