R. Furman Vinson * - Grand Master 1978
Roy Furman Vinson, farmer and rancher of Flomot, Texas was installed as the 139th Grand Master of Texas Masons on December 3, 1977. A native Texan, Grand Master Vinson was born April 15, 1921, at Matador, Texas, the son of Oscar and Maud Vinson. He was educated in the public schools of Matador and attended Texas Tech until called into military service during World War II. He spent four years in the military service with the rank of First Lieutenant of Infantry in the 77th Division. He received Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart and is a past commander of his American Legion post.
He married Beverly Gray on November 27, 1943, and they have two children: a son, Roger, of Matador, who is now serving as Worshipful Master of Matador Lodge No. 824; and a daughter, Linda Perryman of Afton, Texas. There are also three grandchildren: Shannon and Dana Roy Vinson and Wendy Perryman.
The Vinsons are members of the First United Methodist Church of Matador, where he is Lay Leader and Sunday School teacher.
Grand Master Vinson started his Masonic career in 1946, receiving the Entered Apprentice degree on July 13th, the Fellowcraft on October 5th and the Master Mason degree on November 9th in Matador Lodge No. 824. He was Master of this Lodge in 1950-1951 and District Deputy Grand Master of District 119 in 1952. He has served on the Committee on Grievances and Appeals No. 2 and Masonic Education and Service. He was elected Grand Junior Warden on December 5, 1974, and advanced successively to the position of Grand Master.
The Grand Master received the Chapter and Council degrees in 1947 in Matador Chapter No. 283 and Matador Council No. 218. He is a Past High Priest of his Chapter and Past Thrice Illustrious Master of his Council and has served as District Deputy for both the Grand Chapter and Grand Council. He received the Orders of the Commander in 1949 in Plainview Commandery No. 53. He is a Past Commander and was Grand Prelate of the Grand Commandery in 1973-1974. He was Grand Master of the Second Wail and Grand Chaplain of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter in 1969 and 1974. He is also Past Grand High Priest of the Order of High Priesthood, Past Prior of Texas Priory No. 23, Knights of the York Cross of Honour, Past Governor of West Texas York Rite College No. 26 and a holder of the Knight Templar Cross of Honour and the DeMolay Legion of Honour.
He is charter member of the Lubbock Scottish Rite Bodies and was coroneted with the honorary 33° on December 1, 1973.
Other Masonic memberships and honors include: Past Preceptor of Ascension Tabernacle XX, Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests; Texas Lodge of Research; Past Sovereign of Crusader Conclave Red Cross of Constantine; Royal Order of Scotland; Khiva Shrine Temple; Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia; Grand Representative of the Grand Council of Idaho, Royal and Select Masters; and Grand Representative of the Grand Commander of Colorado. He is also a Past Patron of Matador Chapter No. 66, Order of the Eastern Star.
One of our Grand Lodge Committees best expressed his character and striking qualities in these words:
"At the on-set of Tenure in office, our Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother R. Furman Vinson, chose an emblem of the Square, Compasses, and the letter "G" fashioned in the shape of a branding iron; which he referred to as the "Brand of a Mason." No doubt this idea originated partially as a result of his heritage and profession, being that of a rancher and farmer. He felt a closeness with all of those things earthly and natural as provided by the Supreme Architect of the Universe. As has been the custom for the rancher or farmer to set his brand upon his properties, not only because it signified ownership, but more especially because it professed the pride he felt of having produced goods of sound stock; thus has our Grand Master tried to convey to each of us that our hearts should always carry the brand of a Mason. We should never forget, nor lay aside, the basic principal teachings and tenets of Freemasonry. The extended points of the compasses should always remind us of our reception into the Master Masons' Lodge, the Square we must always assign to the Master, never forgetting the significance of the letter "G". If these things be emblazoned in our hearts and minds, then we have the right to wear the "Brand of a Mason."
Most Worshipful Grand Master, many of us have had the pleasure of being with you on some of your visitations. Some of us have noticed that prior to the time we would assemble in the Lodge Room, you always withdrew to a quiet corner or outside the building, knowing well that this was the time you had set aside to seek Divine blessings and guidance. You truly wear the "Brand of a Mason" with all of the dignity of a leader and friend.
Your Committee of Grand Officers' Reports appreciate the trust you have placed in us, and we say to you:
Gah Lo nay duh stah le go say ste.
May The Great Spirit be with you