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Grand Lodge honours

Bro. Gerry Siddall on receiving the

William Mercer Wilson Award


Bro. Gerry Siddall


On November 4, 2010, the G.M. of the Grand Lodge of Canada for the Province of Ontario, M.W. Bro. Raymond S. J. Daniels, arrived in Thunder Bay to participate in this historic event for Algoma District and Shuniah Lodge No. 287 G. R. C.

The William Mercer Wilson medal festivities were commencing. The guests were all there—our honouree Bro. Gerald Siddall, GM MW Bro. Raymond S. J. Daniels, numerous Grand Lodge Officers, DDGMs RW Bro. Bill Davis, RW Bro. Barry D. Jackson, family, friends, and Masonic brethren from near and far. There were in excess of 100 present for the banquet at the Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel, 70 brethren at Shuniah Lodge No. 287 for the Masonic-only lodge ceremony, and 124 for the presentation of the William Mercer Wilson medal, framed certificate and picture, and collar. Comments were shared by GM Daniels, Bro. Siddall, W. Bro. Clive Gregory, Bro. Chris Higgins, as well as WM Tom Goodman. The presentation was followed by a reception. This was a night everyone attending will long remember.

The schedule of the activities to honor Bro. Gerald Siddall, WMW for his countless contributions to our fraternity throughout his fifty-eight years of Masonic membership.


5:00 p.m. Prince Arthur Hotel, Symposium

5:30 p.m. Prince Arthur Hotel, WMW Banquet

8:00 p.m. Shuniah Lodge No. 287, Masonic-only meeting

8:30 p.m. Shuniah Lodge No. 287, Public Presentation

8:45 p.m. Shuniah Lodge No. 287, Public Reception


Gerry Siddall's accomplishments are featured in the December 07, 2010 Chronicle Journal.


December 04, 2010 - Presentation made in Shuniah Lodge, delivered by Bro. Chris Higgins


He is a mild mannered, soft spoken individual who labours quietly and patiently in the pursuit of brotherly love, and making life better for all with whom he comes into contact. His presence makes a difference in our lodge. This is a William Mercer Wilson Medal recipient.

My friend and brother, Gerry Siddall:


·        Almost 50 years in the kitchen, catering to the needs of the brethren of Shuniah Lodge.

·        A visitor and worker to the kitchen of other lodges and fraternal organizations.

·        Training all of the Junior Wardens for the past half century in what is known as the 6:30 degree.


Eighty years young and most of us wish we had his energy.


Initiated 30th of January 1952, passed on March 31st 1952 and raised on the 31st of March 1953. This was with Lord Selkirk Lodge in Winnipeg Manitoba. Affiliated with Shuniah Lodge on the 3rd of January 1956.


·     A lifetime career at the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital.


·     An instructor with St. John’s Ambulance.


·     One of the founding members of the “Happy Handicaps Society” in 1949. Gerry served as Auxiliary President 4 times.


·     Again a founding member of the “Lakehead Search and Rescue” in 1966. Active member for 40 years with a rank of Deputy Area Commander. Taught survival skills at Confederation College for 25 years. After he retired he still taught survival courses to aviation students.


In 1986 and for 20 years he was a member of the “Northwestern Ontario Search and Rescue Association” Trained by the Department of National Defence as a spotter on various aircraft.


On the 5th of May 1998 Gerry was the honouree of Old Tymers Night. Of course, he did not know this and so worked the entire day in the kitchen and at the last moment he was told to lose the kitchen apron and take his seat at the head table. He reminds me about this on a regular basis. That is why we had today’s banquet off site.


He cares for his elders like his late friend, Leon, 93 years old. He also has been a volunteer barber for the past 40 years. Recently, the brethren of Shuniah Lodge received a broadcast email about looking for someone to cut the hair of one of our members who was in long term care at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Within minutes, Gerry was identified and contacted and he has made regular barber visits since.


We learned to shuck oysters for the first time together under the Lundberg brothers. We have seen our share of injuries in this sport. Gerry always has a pocket full of band aids and the junior wardens committee has made good use of Gerry’s first aid skills over the years. Although Gerry is partially to blame for having to use those first aid skills. Let a unwary person come into the kitchen and use one of the knives sharpened by Gerry. His pocket knife is capable of cutting plate steel. You can see the occasional brother passing a blade onto Gerry for his care. And all it costs is a short talk on the quality of the steel.


The annual Masonic fish derby. Rarely was there a dinner that Gerry didn’t assist with. Gerry has fished with our group the past few years and a more conscientious angler you could not ask for.


Besides being an angler, Gerry is also a hunter. He doesn’t always get a freezer full of venison so I help him out with middle of the night calls of a deer I had to kill and would Gerry like it. And Gerry would show up and get the carcass. He shares some of the meat with the brethren. How many Junior Wardens committee’s do you find that kill, clean, cook and serve for the lunch on meeting nights.


He is adaptable to almost every situation. When you never know how many will show up for a banquet Gerry can instantly assess the crowd and carve the roast beef accordingly to ensure that every brother has had his just due. If we are missing a dish or a serving spoon, we won’t be at the next banquet. If the coffee maker has been abused by others it is gleaming before Gerry retires for the evening.


I say almost every situation because there are some lines Gerry will not cross. We are not sure of the origins of this but it has something to do with putting orange segments in the tossed salad.


Gerry Siddall, a mason’s mason and no finer a man to have received the William Mercer Wilson medal.


Most Worshipful, Right Worshipful, Worshipful Sir’s and Brother Siddall if you would please join me on the level.



Miscellaneous pictures of the evenings events are presented below.

(Pictures contributed by Don Bergman)