Perry W. Weidner was born in Dayton, Ohio, on October 8, 1871. He received his education in the public schools of Dayton and at Ohio State and Miami universities. He was clerk to the Mayor of Dayton for a time, later becoming Superintendent of the Money Order Division of the Dayton Post Office, and afterwards connected with the Quartermasters' Department of the Central Branch of the National Military Home. He resigned from the National Military Home in 1899 and moved to Los Angeles, California, where he entered the banking business. He was a member of the Ohio National Guard from 1888 to 1891 and attained the rank of captain.
His interest in military affairs led him to organize the Southern District of California in the War Savings Bonds Campaign during World War I. Later he entered the United States Army as quartermaster and was assigned to an important post in the Finance Department. After the war he held the commission of colonel in the Organized Reserves. He was an honorary member of the Spanish War Veterans and active in the Military Order of the Loyal Legion and the American Legion. He was a member of the leading social and service clubs of Los Angeles, and of the Sigma Alpha Fraternity.
Sir Knight Weidner was made a Master Mason in Mystic Lodge No. 405 at Dayton on December 27, 1895, and later became its Worshipful Master. He was exalted in Unity Chapter No. 16 of Dayton on March 6, 1896, and was greeted in Reese Council of Dayton on January 4, 1897.
In February,1897, he received the Scottish Rite degrees, from the 4th to the 18th in Dayton and from the 19th to the 32degree in the Ohio Consistory in Cincinnati. On moving to California he affiliated with the Los Angeles Bodies. In 1903 he was elected a Knight Commander of the Court of Honor and on June 2, 1906, was coronetted a 33degree Honorary Inspector General. He presided over all the Scottish Rite bodies in Los Angeles and became Deputy for the Supreme Council in the Orient of Southern California. He was crowned an active member of the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction on October 2, 1911.
He was also a member of the Royal Order of Scotland and a Past Sovereign of the St.Gabriel Conclave No. 14 of the Red Cross of Constantine.
He was Knighted in Reed Commandery No. 6 at Dayton on June 24, 1898. On moving to Los Angeles he affiliated with Los Angeles Commandery No. 9. In 1908 he was a charter member and the first Eminent Commander of Golden West Commandery No. 43 of Los Angeles. He was elected Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of California in 1915.
At the Triennial Conclave held in Los Angeles in 1916 Sir Knight Weidner was appointed Grand Warder of the Grand Encampment and in 1931 was elected Grand Master. He was not permitted to complete his term in the office of Grand Master, but passed away suddenly on August 16, 1932.
Following the express wishes of Sir Knight Weidner, the funeral services were simple and private. He had requested that there be no Lodge ceremony, no representatives of the Grand Encampment present, and no obituary record except a simple notice of his death. Only a few close friends were present at the services conducted at the Chapel of the Los Angeles Crematory.
The following tribute to his memory reveals his great sincerity and the basis of his leadership:
Masonry in Southern California will ever bear the impress that he made upon it. For over a quarter of a century Perry Weidner has been the unchallenged leader of the craft. His ideals, his enthusiasm, his inspirations, have been the guiding stars of the Fraternity. He possessed the noblest qualities of leadership and he was followed with unswerving loyalty and unflagging devotion.
In truth, service was the keynote of his life. He was never too busy to help an ambitious boy seeking an education, to hunt up a job for a Brother in need, or to listen to the story of a widow trying to make her way. He carried this altruistic spirit into all he did and as his fame grew until it spread throughout the nation, and then crossed the seas, he used this widening influence to instill the spirit of love and relief into the hearts of men everywhere. To him "Masonry was brotherhood in practice."
Reference: From Dr. Francis J. Scully's...History of the Grand Encampment, Chapter XXIII, Biographies Of The Grand Masters, as published in the Knight Templar Magazine, March 1995 Edition, page 16