William John Barrass.
Worshipful Brother John lost his battle with cancer on the 27th October 2012. He was born on the 15th February 1944 in Cumbria.
After a successful 22 year career with the British Army, reaching the rank of Battery Sergeant Major with the Royal Artillery. John continued as an insurance broker, which proved rewarding. During his latter years, John spent time as a teacher and running computer literacy courses in the military camps of Bergen Hohne and Fallingbostel.
Brother John was initiated into Saxony Lodge on 30th January 1991, he was proposed by VWBro Ernie Johnson and seconded by WBro Chris Hallam. He was passed on the 27th February 1991 and raised later that year on the 29th May 1991. Brother John was a Lewis and very proud of that fact, he took his masonic obligation very seriously, wanting to make his Father proud who had unfortunately died before John had entered masonry.
During his early masonic career, John assisted WBro Stan Stone as the lodges Assistant
Secretary, which he took on with much vigor. He learnt well from Bro Stan, but also brought his own business attributes to the this office which modernised the duties of the Lodge Secretary. This was the last time the Lodge typewriter was used and was then eventually taken off the books. WBro Stan stood aside as our lodge secretary due to ill health and Bro John took over, showing great aptitude in the office he remained as the semi permanent secretary for many years, ably assisting the masters and all lodge brethren in the administration of the lodge.
In April 1995, after serving for so many years as secretary he was appointed Junior Warden by WBro Ray Barnett, a role he loved to do even though learning the ritual was somewhat new to him. His planning skills came to the for when organizing the Ladies Festival and the Lodge BBQ. But he used his resources and many contacts in the Military community to bring together successful functions.
During the ritual he enjoyed thinking of a short witty comment or joke to tell WBro Les Wright during the closing in the 3rd degree, it always amazed me how Les kept a straight face. He worked hard learning the ritual and bought many aids to assist him with this but spending longer in the bathroom was probably his most successful method. After completing his duties of Senior Warden he followed WBro Allan Petty into the chair of King Solomon in April installation meeting of 1997.
For John, being the Master of his Mother Lodge, meant a great deal to him, he relished the work involved and enjoyed the contact with the brethren. During a low period in his life he emerged himself deeply into masonic life, which helped him enormously. Thankfully things improved privately for him and he concentrated on learning the inner workings for the next installation meeting just before the Installation meeting John had a serious accident which saw a pane of glass deeply cut his foot.With the help of WBro Allan Petty, John continued with the planned ceremony, but he never forgot the part Allan took and was eternally grateful.
As a past master, John did not take a back seat within the Lodge, but took on the role of lodge secretary once again, assisting the Lodge in any way he could. On the 5th May 2001, John was appointed Past Grand Steward within our Grand Lodge, he was immensely proud of this Grand Lodge honour as it was from a petition from the past masters of Saxony that saw our Grand Master appoint John. In May 2010, he received promotion within past grand rank to Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies. John supported the lodge in any way he could, and he enjoyed the social side of masonry many times with Sabine, his wife, who would send in Annabelle to remind her father, that the transport was waiting. It was a large part of his life and he loved the family atmosphere that the lodge had, he enjoyed sharing masonry with his family and his family felt at home with the lodge, many of us admiring seeing his daughter grow up over the years. John had moments when his northern stubbornness came to the for and heated discussions were held over certain masonic procedures and protocol, but he never held a grudge and the matter was always concluded with a handshake as a friend and brother. He always turned up for the Lodge committee meetings and took an active role in moving the Lodge forward, new members of the committee looked up to him as he held a excellent standing within the lodge, without being overbearing.
John always considered carefully who he put forward for membership of saxony and if he proposed a candidate, he ensured that he was always there to give advice and Support and in some cases a reminder of the length of a cable tow. But for those that John brought into masonry, you would never forget his mentorship and friendship.
John wanted to go through the chair once again and he was unanimously voted for Master Elect in 2012. This second term as master proved to be helpful to John in many ways. He found out about the cancer and after the initial shock kept himself busy with the running of the Lodge, this had a positive effect on him mentally, which those around him found inspiring. Through his treatment and operations, there were times he could not physically be at the Lodge, but it was the measure of the man that there were plenty who volunteered to assist him. No matter how bad his health was, he ensured that everything was going well in the Lodge and the brethren were happy in the work. He still attended the Lodge functions supported by his family, who knew what masonry meant to John and all the brethren enjoyed him being present.
John will always be a big part of Saxony Lodge, he was a brother who among others helped shape the Lodge into what it is today. He will be always be remembered as a pillar within the Lodge, supporting it as best he could, ensuring that masonry within Celle remains. For all those brethren who had the privilege of meeting him, we were rewarded with knowing a true mason. WBro John Barrass is survived by his wife Sabine and his daughter Annabelle, who both