Keith Rogers 1942-2019
Sinodun Chapter No.548
Keith Rogers Masonic Eulogy
Thank you and good day to you all. My name is Phil Painting and I feel doubly honoured today – firstly I get to say something about Keith Rogers the freemason in public and secondly, I have been asked to represent a significant number of masons, each of whom would have wished to have made their own personal tribute today.
Let me say straight away that when you search for a definition of a Gentleman it returns “a chivalrous, courteous and honourable man, based on high standards in life”. Some men never achieve this goal – others excel – one such was Keith Rogers.
Keith was a mason for over 33 years, starting his masonic journey in 1986, in Abbey Lodge. From that point he became more and more interested in masonry and over time became active in 7 orders and achieved great distinction in all of them.
I first met Keith when I joined Abbey Lodge in 2008 and I recognised straight away that as Keith had served in the RAF and I had worked in support of the British Forces in Germany,we shared some common ground and often chatted about those good old days. It is, however true to say that Keith took an interest in all the members of the lodge and would find time to get to know them and share his thoughts. Many of you will know that you couldn’t really have a quick word with Keith – a two-minute chat on the phone often took twenty!
He never really told jokes as such within the masons, but had a wicked sense of humour and could see the lighter side of any situation. He could, however also be quite dogmatic when called for, as I am sure his local councillors and MP would testify.
Keith was a traditionalist with his masonry and felt that would be the best way for the lodge(s) to continue as in ages past.
During his time as a mason Keith was actively involved with the following degrees or side orders;
1. Craft – was Master twice and ended as PPG REG.
2. Holy Royal Arch – Exalted 1992, Most Excellent and ended as PPG Swd B.
3. Abbey Mark*
4. Royal Ark Mariners*
5. Knights Templar (incorporating the Knights of Malta)*
6. Knights Beneficent of the Holy City
7. And in most recent times Keith was master of the Rose Croix degree (the one where you can be awarded the33rd degree – who reads Dan Brown?!)
In all his orders Keith excelled as both an active member and ritualist. As a member he was keen to progress and hold growing seniority in each degree (not everyone wants that responsibility) and incumbent on the more senior roles is the issue of ritual, as well as captaining the ship. We have a local rank within the lodge, within the Province of Berkshire and Grand Rank which is a national level of recognition.
(*In the Mark, Royal Ark Mariners and Knights Templar degrees he was decorated with Grand Rank)
Most masons I think are frustrated actors because those who take their ritual to heart spend a significant amount of time learning the words and nuances and then have to present them in lodge. The ceremonies we perform in masonry are like mini play-lets. Everything is rehearsed and hopefully performed with aplomb on the night.
Keith was a brilliant ritualist and I am sure Marion would attest to the number of hours he would spend in private contemplation ploughing through the various books learning his lines.
When you join masonry they tell you – well we only meet 8 times a year, and you discuss your wife, and that doesn’t seem too onerous. Then they recommend you pop in to the rehearsals so you can see how things are done, then they invite you to the committee meetings, so now you are up to about 20 sessions. Plus joining in with the festive boards. The 8 rapidly becomes a lot more!! So imagine what Marion has had to support over time with Keith being involved in 7 orders.
The most central of masonic beliefs are 3 principles we hold close to our hearts; brotherly love, relief and truth. Keith embodied all of these key tenets.
- He was an avid helper and supporter of his local community, often providing assistance to the masonry widows, whom he helped in an advisory and practical way.
- He was a very generous contributor to the charity arm of Freemasonry and encouraged others to follow his lead.
- And thirdly Keith was a very genuine person, true to his beliefs. There was no side to Keith, no veneer, what you saw was what you got.
You only have to mention Keith’s name when you are out and about within Berkshire and someone within the fraternity will recognise him. And when you think there are 99 Craft lodges, 3000 members and numerous side order meetings that’s some recognition.
Ladies and gentlemen in essence;
Keith, the man and the mason was a man of many facets, not unlike Joseph’s coat of many colours, all of which were admired and should be emulated.
Keith was a giant amongst masons and someone who bought pleasure simply by being in the room.
We will miss him but I know his spirit will live on in the lodge and in masonry.