By Ethan Colbert
Bill Mallory’s 75 years of involvement with the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons can be traced back to a conversation that the then 22-year-old Bill Mallory had while seated in the swivel barber shop chair at Settles Barber Shop in Clark, Mo.
“I asked him, ‘what’s in that building over there?’” Mallory said. Mallory’s involvement with the Masons was the subject of a special ceremony last Tuesday that was attended by state government representatives, officials from the Grand Lodge of Missouri, and a large number of Masons from throughout the Pike County area.
“He told me that I really wanted to know that I would need to sign this paper,” Mallory said. “So he went and got this paper. It was a petition. I didn’t know what it was, but I signed it.”
That interaction with Settles sparked a life-long passion for the Masons, and Mallory said last that he has never once regretted joining the fraternal organization.
“Membership in the Masons will take you places that you’ve never been and show you things that you’ve never seen,” Mallory said in an interview with the Times prior to the ceremony.
According to records presented during Tuesday’s ceremony, the former Bowling Green High School vocational agriculture instructor was initiated into the Masons in 1942 and received his Master Mason Degree in 1943.
Mallory was initiated at Clark Lodge No. 610.
Since 1962, Mallory has been a member of the Phoenix Lodge No. 136 in Bowling Green, where he has served in various leadership roles.
During the ceremony last week, Ronald D. Jones, the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Missouri, praised Mallory for his continued involvement in the Masons and his community.
“One of the most interesting things that I have witnessed here tonight is that everyone who came through that door shook your hand and called you Mr. Mallory,” Jones said. “That tells me a lot about an individual and, sir, I can tell you that there is no doubt in my mind that this Lodge, this town, this Fraternity, and this country are better places because of you.”
Mallory continues to remain active in the community that he has called home for the majority of his adult life. Mallory is a member of the Bowling Green Rotary Club, a member of the Bowling Green First Christian (Disciples of Christ) Church, and a member of the Champ Clark Memorial V.F.W. Post No. 5553. He also continues to return to Bowling Green High School to serve as a guest lecturer for the high school’s vocational agriculture classes.
In closing last week’s ceremony, Mallory harkened back to his days as an educator at Bowling Green High School by delivering two of his more well-known phrases.
The first phrase, “You are on your way to become what you are to be.”
The second phrase, “If it is to be, it is up to me.”
The phrases were met with a standing ovation from the assembled audience.