Article by Right Worshipful David Collins, SGW
Over fifty Brethren, friends and family from around the State gathered recently at Chocorua Lodge No. 83 in Holderness on a warm spring-like evening. They were there to celebrate the 100th Birthday of Brother Harold A. Webster, Jr. Brother Webster is a member of Chocorua Lodge No. 83 and Evening Star Lodge No. 37 in Colebrook.
The evening started off with a wonderful barbeque pork dinner prepared by “Master Chef” and Chocorua Lodge Master Worshipful Brother David Hughes, ending with a large birthday cake and ice cream. The group then retired to the Lodge room for the formal presentations. After welcoming remarks by Worshipful Master Hughes, Senior Grand Warden Right Worshipful Brother David Collins who is also a Past Master of Evening Star Lodge, spoke about the work Brother Webster did in that Lodge while he was an officer. One interesting memory was along the time he was a Lodge Officer, Brother Webster also owned a local establishment Tall Timber Lodge in Pittsburg. Brother Collins related Harold hosting many annual summertime Masonic Degrees at the Pittsburg location, it being the only time that Degree work was done in New Hampshire West of the Connecticut River (the Connecticut River is the Western border of NH below Pittsburg, but the Town of Pittsburg itself is at the source of the river and the entire community is actually located West of the river but still in NH). Then Illustrious Brother William Larson, Commander in Chief of NH Consistory and Illustrious Brother Mark Roth, Deputy for NH Scottish Rite presented formal certificates to Brother Webster, honoring his 100th Birthday. They thanked him for being a member of Scottish Rite in New Hampshire for over 45 years – this month is the anniversary of him joining.
The program then moved to Right Worshipful Brother Ken Clay, the Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge for the Centenarian Plaque presentation. Brother Webster related to Brother Clay some stories of his life. Though Harold was born in Concord, NH, his family moved to Holderness when he was four to a farm there where he grew up. After completing high school Brother Webster purchased a 1936 Chevrolet and drove to Tulsa, Oklahoma where he got work for a mining company. World War II then broke out and he was summoned back to Manchester, NH for the Draft. Harold was not drafted due to vision issues but continued to work and further this education. He taught for a time at the University of New Hampshire but stated: “that vocation wasn’t for him”. Brother Webster spent most of his career in geology and surveying but in the early 1970s after recalling a wonderful childhood fishing trip to the Pittsburg, NH area he moved there. During that time he became the proprietor of a local fishing and hunting cottage named Tall Timber Lodge on Back Lake. He lived in Northern New Hampshire for over thirty years but home was calling and he moved back to Holderness, NH in the mid 2000s. He now makes his home there with his Wife, Joy. Brother Webster commented how overwhelmed and thrilled he was with the large turnout in his honor. The program concluded with Right Worshipful Brother Clay thanking Brother Webster for all he has done in his life and living the tenants of Freemasonry, but most especially for showing us how he makes 100 years look so easy.