Banker, cattleman, electrician, pilot, Sunday School teacher, community leader; just a few of the varied interests of Most Worshipful Robert O. “Bob” Schnell – 154th Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Texas, who was elevated to the highest office in Texas Masonry on December 5, 1992.
Born on August 10, 1924 at Okeene, Oklahoma, he attended grade school at Tyrone, Oklahoma – Follett and Spearman, Texas, and graduated from Spearman High School. Soon after graduation from high school, Bob entered the United States Army Air Force, and following basic training at Keesler Field, Mississippi, was stationed in England for the balance of World War II. Following his honorable discharge from service in 1946, Bob returned to Spearman to work with his father as an electrician, and soon thereafter established his own electrical contracting business. He entered the banking business in 1954, joining the First State Bank in Spearman as an officer and later as Director. His firm belief that careful planning is essential to satisfactory results led him to attend the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. On May 15, 1962, Bob moved to Borger and joined the staff of First National Bank of that city where he continues as Senior Vice-President; still maintaining various interests in farming and ranching, as well as in the oil and gas industries.
His interests in community affairs are many, including service on the district advisory committee of The Boy Scouts of America, as financial and district chairman of Adobe Walls Council of Boy Scouts, and the Panhandle Regional Planning Committee Board. He has served as Director of the Salvation Army Board, a member of the Hutchinson County Airport Board, the Hutchinson County Extension Service Program Committee and Chairman of the Hutchinson County Veterans’ Land Board. he is a member of the Borger Chamber of Commerce.
It has been Bob’s interests in farming and ranching that have influenced his labor in various capacities with F.F.A. and 4-H livestock programs.
A dedicated churchman, Bob is a member of the First Christian Church of Borger where he has served as Chairman of the Finance Board, Elder, and Chairman of the Church Board. He presently serves as a Trustee, frequently teaching the Sunday School class which he has taught on a regular basis for several years.
It comes as no surprise that Bob has been equally active as a Mason. He was raised a Master Mason on October 25, 1948 in Hansford Lodge No. 1040 at Spearman and served as Worshipful Master of that lodge in 19591960. He served as District Deputy Grand Master of Masonic District No. 102 under appointment by Grand Master Robert B. O’Connor in 1975, and answered the call of Grand Master Robert H. “Bob” Waters to again serve as District Deputy in 1984. A strong supporter of the Grand Lodge Endowed Membership Program, Bob holds endowed memberships in Hansford, Adobe Walls, Wichita Falls and Holland lodges. In addition, he is a member of the Sam Houston Hall of Fame, an endowment fund for the maintenance of the Grand Lodge Library and Museum in Waco.
Prior to his election to the office of Grand Junior Warden in December, 1989, Bob served on the Credentials Committee and the Special Assignments Committee of Grand Lodge. His service to our Grand Lodge from the office of Grand Junior Warden to his election and installation as Most Worshipful Grand Master has left no doubt that he intends to serve well as Grand Master. He is enthusiastic, well prepared and offers `can do’ leadership at a time when enthusiasm and preparedness are essential to progress.
A man who firmly believes that Freemasonry offers something of interest to every Mason, Bob has been active in York Rite, Scottish Rite, Shrine, Eastern Star, DeMolay and many other related orders and organizations.
A member of Borger Royal Arch Chapter No. 437, he served as High Priest and later served as District Deputy Grand High Priest. He holds the Order of High Priesthood. As a member of Borger Council No. 354, Royal and Select Masters, he has served as Thrice Illustrious Master of that body, an has served as District Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Council. He holds the Order of the Silver Trowel. He is a member of West Texas York Rite College No. 36, Texas Priory No. 23, Knights of The York Cross of Honor. A Past Commander of Borger Commandery No. 96, he holds the Merit Award, and is a member of the Grand Master’s Club. Not content to accept honors without assuming continuing responsibility, Bob presently serves as Treasurer of his Chapter, Council and Commandery. As Past Very Eminent Preceptor of Tabernacle No. XX, Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests, and as Past Puissant Sovereign of Crusader Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine at Amarillo, Bob further amplifies his belief that Masons should be involved in those Masonic activities which interest them.
His Scottish Rite accomplishments are equally impressive. A life member of both the Lubbock and El Paso Scottish Rite Bodies, he is active in the conferral of the 18th and 19th degrees, and will serve as Master of the El Paso Consistory while serving as Grand Master in 1993. He was honored by the Rank and Decoration of Knight Commander of the Court of Honor in 1975, and was coroneted and thirty-third degree Inspector General Honorary in 1983, and holds a life membership in the Royal Order of Scotland.
A member and Past Potentate of Khiva Shrine Temple in Amarillo, Bob served as Potentate in 1981 and is a member of the Royal Order of Jesters and the International Order of Cabiri.
He served as Worthy Patron of Spearman Chapter No. 721, Order of the Eastern Star in 1957-1958, and has served as Chapter Advisor, International Order of DeMolay, and holds the Honorary Legion of Honor from DeMolay.
Yes, Robert O. “Bob” Schnell is a busy man and an active Mason! However, he manages to take the time to enjoy his favorite hobbies. A licensed pilot since 1962, he takes to the air occasionally to again view the wonders of the world from the cockpit. If he isn’t flying, he enjoys a round of golf now and then, and he admits to some hunting and fishing on occasion – more for relaxation than for results. Also, he has been observed exploring some of the canyons of the Panhandle – just kicking rocks and looking for Indian relics to fit into the puzzle of the past.
Quite an unusually nice and dedicated man to know is Bob Schnell – Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Masonic Grand Lodge of Texas. A man to cross the river with, no matter how deep the water runs. Quietly dedicated and well prepared to serve, he has earned the love, esteem and admiration of his brethren. His service as Grand Master reflects his depth of knowledge and understanding derived from long and devoted service to our Craft. Bob Schnell is dedicated to the service of this brethren – and it shows!
– by Leonard P. Harvey PGM