by Richard H. Bradbury Sr., District Deputy Grand Master, 8th Masonic District
During my District Deputy Grand Master presentation, I mentioned that I had two brothers who were important in my Masonic Journey to that point. One taught me the ritual and mechanics of the degrees, while the other demonstrated how to live my life as a Mason. Unfortunately, neither were alive to witness my appointment.
Brother Ralph E. Wagner, P.M., Doylestown Lodge No. 245 – a perfectionist when it came to the ritualistic work – taught me all three degrees. For years prior to my education, he gave his time to instruct many brothers before me in their travels to the East. He will always be remembered fondly for his contributions to the fraternity.
Brother John Reinhardt lived his life by Freemasonry’s virtues daily as evidenced by his actions. Knowing and learning from him was truly a memorable opportunity in my journey. Brother Reinhardt was a devoted family man who worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 43 years. He served his home church as an elder and in the choir. One day, while visiting a dying friend, he made him a promise to take over the caretaker tasks of a small AME church following his friend’s death. True to his word, he carried out that promise to ensure they would continue to have their services.
Brother Reinhardt served his country in the U.S. Army Reserves for many years in the 916th Mobile Surgical Hospital, but his fraternal strengths were most evident in his service to his community. I first met him when he was a member of the Midway Fire Company’s Special Fire Police Captain. He would contact local police departments and strive to make a better working relationship with them.
Our paths crossed again as I became more active in Freemasonry – at Doylestown Lodge in particular. As I worked to become the Worshipful Master, Brother Reinhardt was the Chaplain. He was proud of his position and was open and vocal about being a brother of the Craft. He carried out his Chaplain duties, which included attending to the sick, creating ways to help those in need and coordinating the coffee and donuts during the local Martin Luther King Day of Service, with zeal. He would always present ideas to improve someone’s quality of life or recognize their service. He would organize the lodge’s biannual Emergency Services Night and make every effort to ensure it would be a memorable event for the honorees with great attention to details, including an appearance from a Right Worshipful Past Grand Master. Brother Reinhardt also attempted to reach out to lodges in other jurisdictions when disasters struck to provide monetary assistance to them.
Brother Reinhardt had the opportunity to touch many lives and give of himself in the service of God, country, neighbors and the fraternity, as have many other brothers. He stands out because he would continuously present ideas to me when I was Worshipful Master to benefit, recognize, assist, serve, improve on something or care for brothers, the lodge or the community … and not once did he look for personal recognition or benefit. Nothing he did had any hidden agenda. Every idea he generated had one purpose and one purpose alone: to make other people’s lives better.
In Freemasonry, we profess that we “make good men better.” Brother John P. Reinhardt worked to make all men better through his actions and unassuming presence. He was a living testament to all people of what Freemasonry and Freemasons are all about. It has been through his example that I, too, strive to live my life based on our values and principles.