Willard Meredith Avery, 105, passed away on February 11, 2012, at Springhurst Health Campus in Greenfield, Indiana. He was born on February 2, 1907, in Palmyra, Indiana to William and Cora (Klinker) Avery. Following graduation from Depauw University in 1929, he taught history and speech in Portand, Indiana. He then attended The University of Michigan Law School where he was the recipient of the Henry M. Campbell Case Club Award. Willard was Student President of the Lawyer's Club and he received his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree in 1934. Following graduation, he served as a general practice attorney in Knightstown, Indiana for sixty years, retiring at age ninety. Willard was known for his many civic responsibilities.
He had served as the Town of Knightstown attorney, a member of the Glen Cove Cemetery Board, on the First National Bank Board, was the attorney for the Knightstown School Board, and was Citizen of the Year. He was a member of the Knightstown United Methodist Church which he served faithfully on various church boards for many years. He was a member of Kiwanis, Odd Fellows, and Historic Knightstown.
He was actively engaged in the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America for many years. He was raised to the degree of Master Mason Lodge No. 91, New Castle, in 1936. He was transferred to Golden Rule Lodge No. 16, Knightstown, where he served as Worshipful Master in 1940. He was Exalted to the degree of Royal Arch Mason in Knightstown Chapter No. 33 in 1938 and served as High Priest in 1955. He was Greeted a Royal and Select Master in Cryptic Council No. 29, Knightstown, in 1945 and served as Illustrious Master in 1954. He was knighted in Knightstown Commandery No. 9 on May 2, 1939. He served as Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of Indiana and as legal counsel for the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc. He was the first President of the Board of Directors of the Indiana foundation of DeMolay, Inc. and held the DeMolay Honorary Legion of Honor. He was the Past Grand Patron of the Indiana Grand Chapter, O.E.S. and was Chairman of the Knights Templar Eye Foundation Committee of the General Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. He was Past Sovereign of St. Basil's Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine, a member of the K.Y.C.H., and a member of the Murat Temple of the Shrine. He was a charter member and Past Preceptor of St. Andrew's Tabernacle H.R.A.K.T.P., a Knight Grand Commander, a holder of the Grand Cross, and a member of the Scottish Rite, Valley of Indianapolis and was made an Honorary 33°, Supreme Council, A.A.S.R., Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, September 1967, in Pittsburgh.
He served the Grand Encampment as Department Commander of the East Central Department 1961-1964 and was editor of the Knight Templar magazine for five years until 1967. He was elected and installed as Grand Captain General in Detroit, 1967; Generalissimo in Denver, 1970; Deputy Grand Master in Chicago, 1973; and as Grand Master in Kansas City, 1976. He presided over the 54th Triennial Conclave in Indianapolis in 1979.
Willard will be remembered as a gentleman who served his community with pride and responsibility. He was survived by his son, Max Avery of Greenfield; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret (Barrett) Avery (1914-1998) ; son, Jack Avery (1940-2003); and sister, Louise Avery Ade (1910-1996). He was interred in Glen Cove Cemetery in Knightstown on February 16, 2012.
----Submitted by George Marshall, Jr., PGC, KCT. Chairman, Knights Templar History Committee, 2012-2015