G. Wilbur Bell
43rd Grand Master

Sir Knight G. Wilbur Bell, was born Sept. 2, 1912, in Mason County to Charles Raymond (1889-1972) and Eva Kramer Bell (1888-1982), he married Alma B. Malsbury on June 10, 1934. She died Dec. 12, 1988. He later married Moneta Reynolds on May 4, 1991. He was a farmer and grain dealer and served as vice president of Havana National Bank in Havana. He was also something more - including Executive Director of the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Vice President and a Director of the Havana National Bank, Havana, Illinois, and Most Eminent Past Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar, U.S.A.

Past Grand Master Bell was a member and trustee of the Fairview Methodist Church, a Director of the Illinois Knights Templar Home for the Aged Infirm in Paxton, a member of the University of Illinois Citizens Committee, the University Extension Advisory Committee, the Union League Club of Chicago, the Sangamo Club in Springfield, National Alumni Association of Bradley University, the Farm Bureau of Mason County, the flying Farmers of Prairie Farmer Land, Airplane Owners and Pilots Association of the United States of America, and the Chicago Air Club. Among other distinctions, he was Honorary Trustee of the Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

Raised in Chandlerville Lodge No. 724, Illinois, Brother Bell was an active leader in (quite literally) all branches of Freemasonry. His offices included: Worshipful Master of Chandlerville Lodge, 1943-45; Past Grand High Priest, Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Illinois (1965), and Grand Treasurer Emeritus of that body; Past Thrice Illustrious Master, Beardstown Council No. 88; Past Grand Commander, Grand Commandery of Illinois (1956), and Grand Treasurer Emeritus. He was a Past Prior of Illinois Priory No. 11, KYCH, Chicago.

He was Past Sovereign of Saxa Rubra Conclave (Champaign), Red Cross of Constantine (dual member, St. John's Conclave, Chicago, and St. Edward Conclave, Springfield) as well as an Honorary Member of other Conclaves in other states. He served as Most Illustrious Grand Sovereign (1980-81) of the United Grand Imperial Council, Red Cross of Constantine.

He was a Past Patron, Chandlerville Chapter No. 544, O.E.S.; member of Grand Cross of Color, Supreme Assembly, Order of Rainbow for Girls, International; Past Potentate, Ansar Temple, AAONMS; 1979-80, President of Cabin, nternational Past Potentates Association, President of the Springfield Chapter; and Past Director of Springfield Court No. 20, Royal Order of Jesters; Past President, Illinois Shrine Association; Fellow, Philalethes Society; Fellow, Grand College of Rites, U.S.A.; member of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No.2076, London, England; Sovereign Grand Master (1980-81) of Allied Masonic Degrees, U.S.A.

He was a Past Preceptor, Simon Peter Tabernacle No. XXII, Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests; and Past Grand Preceptor of the Grand College of America, HRAKTP. He was elected M. E. Great Chief, Grand College of Knight Masons of the U.S.A., serving in 1984-85. He had become a member of Paumanock Council No. 32 of New York, February 19, 1955, with the national number of 236. This was in connection with the A.M.D. in Washington. Later with the formation of the Grand Council of Knight Masons of the United States, he became a member of Great Chiefs Council No. 0, later serving as Excellent Chief of the Council. He had long been active in DeMolay: His record includes Creve Coeur Chapter, Peoria; DeMolay Legion of Honor, Supreme Council; Active Member, International Supreme Council; and Past Executive Officer for Illinois.

He was Past Great Prior, C.B.C.S.; Celebrant of Illinois College, Rosicruciana; member of Zingabad Grotto; Queen Christina Court No. 4, Amaranth; Honorary Member of Acacia Fraternity, Champaign; Sterling Lodge No. 1219, Elks Club.

He was an honorary member in perpetuity, National Sojourners, Inc.; Honorary Past Grand Master of the Sovereign Great Priory of Canada, and held the distinction of G.C.T.

Consistently in demand as a speaker for events ranging from Job's Daughters and Rainbow for Girls to Research Lodges and both York and Scottish Rite groups, he devoted the major portion of his appearances as Executive Director of the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc. His office was located in Springfield, Illinois.

Among a variety of other recognitions, he was listed in Who's Who in the Midwest, Dictionary of International Biography, National Register of Prominent Americans and International Notables, and the Royal Blue Book (leaders of the English-speaking world), London.

Sir Knight Bell had served as Grand Captain General of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar, U.S.A., and was advanced in successive three-year terms to Grand Master, 1970-73. He was coronated an Honorary Inspector General, Supreme Council, 33o, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, in 1964.

G. Wilbur Bell, 79, of 2500 Whittier, Springfield, formerly of Rural Route 1, Chandlerville, died at 12:15 a.m. Tuesday, March 24, 1992, at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, IL. Services were held at his church. The Rev. Dennis Brooks officiated. Visitation was at Hurley Funeral Home in Havana, with a Masonic service. Burial was in Laurel Hill Cemetery in Havana.

Reference: Knight Templar Magazine, May 1992, page 5

Published 020516