Sam E. Hilburn was installed as the 141st Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Texas, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons on December 8, 1979.
He was born in Grandfield, Oklahoma June 15, 1921. His early education was in Wichita Falls, Texas and graduated from Wichita Falls High School in 1938. He attended Tarleton State University and Texas A&M prior to military service, and graduated from Oklahoma University with degrees in Geology and Petroleum Engineering. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in Texas and a member of various Geological and Engineering Societies, both state and national.
He is an independent oil operator of Midland, Texas, where he has resided for 36 years, during which time he served in various civic capacities, including six years as member and president of the Midland School Board. He and his wife, Millie, have been married 38 years and have three children, Sam, Jr., Caren Lynne and Sandra Kay – also five grandchildren. They are members of St. Luke’s Methodist Church of Midland, where he is a past Chairman of the Board, lay leader, trustee and adult Sunday School teacher.
His Masonic career began on December 1, 1949 when he was initiated an Entered Apprentice. He was passed to the degree of Fellowcraft January 19, 1950 and was raised a Master Mason February 19, 1950 in Midland Lodge No. 623. He served as Worshipful Master of Midland Lodge in 1959-60 and was District Deputy Grand Master of the 81st Masonic District in 1962. He was Grand Orator of the Grand Lodge of Texas in 1970 and was elected Grand Junior Warden December 2, 1976. He is a life member of Midland Lodge No. 623.
He was exalted a Royal Arch Mason in Keystone Chapter No. 172, R. A. M. on March 15, 1950 and served that Chapter as High Priest in 1955-1956. He was District Deputy Grand High Priest of the 44th Capitular District in 1975 and Grand Orator of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Texas in 1977. He received the Order of High Priesthood on December 2, 1957.
He was greeted as a Select Master in Keystone Council No. 112, R. & S. M. on April 4, 1950, served as Thrice Illustrious Master of this Council in 1953-1954, and as District Deputy Grand Master of the 44th Cryptic District in 1972. He received the Super Excellent Master’s Degree on April 18, 1953 and the Order of the Silver Trowel on December 3, 1957.
He was Knighted in Midland Commandery No. 84, K. T. on June 28, 1950, served as Commander of Midland Commandery in 1955 and as Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Texas in 1975-76. He is currently serving as a member of the Jurisprudence Committee of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America.
He received the Scottish Rite degrees in the El Paso Scottish Rite bodies becoming a 32° Mason on October 22, 1953. He was invested with the Knight Commander of the Court of Honor on October 17, 1961 and 33° on November 17, 1973. He is currently serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Scottish Rite Dormitory at the University of Texas.
He was initiated as a Noble and Charter member of Suez Temple, A.A.O.N.O.M.S. on October 14, 1950 and is a permanent contributing member.
He was ordained a member of Texas Priory No. 23, Knights of the York Cross of Honor in December, 1959, and is a life member. He was elected Herald of Texas Priory No. 23 in December, 1980.
He became a member of Nazareth Tabernacle XXXIV Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests on December 17, 1955 and served as Preceptor in 1962.
He was Sovereign of St. Alphege Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine in 1966 and was elected Grand Junior General of the Grand Imperial Council, Red Cross of Constantine in June, 1980.
He is a member of Texas York Rite College No. 14 and a dual member of West Texas York Rite College No. 36.
He is a member of the Royal Order of Scotland, a life member of Chinar Grotto in Houston and a dual member of Omala Grotto in San Antonio.
He is a Past Patron (1958-1959) of Midland Chapter No. 253, Order of the Eastern Star, Past Chapter Advisor of the Midland Chapter, Order of DeMolay, and has received the Cross of Honor and Honorary Legion of Honor, Order of DeMolay.
During the 145th Annual Grand Communication of the Grand Lodge of Texas, he was elected to a full term as member of the Board of Directors of the Masonic Home and School.
The thanks of the Brethren of Texas go to Grand Master Sam E. Hilburn for the excellent manner with which he administered the affairs of the Grand Lodge of Texas during his year as Grand Master.
His enthusiasm and love for Masonry and for the Brethren had much to do with the success and progress of Masonry not only during the year 1980 but will have a long and lasting effect upon Texas Masonry in the future.