In Memory of our Departed Past Master

Worshipful Wardell Harris Thomas

In Memoriam

Wardell Harris Thomas
June 15, 1927 - July 31, 2005

Initiated: April 15, 1974
Passed: May 13, 1974
Raised: June 8, 1974
Served as Master: 1990

Eulogy Presented By Right Worshipful Frank Rosser Dunaway, Jr. DDGM
At Our Stated Communication on August 11, 2005

I first met Wardell in Lodge when I began attending Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 after I moved to Alexandria in 1986. A few weeks later, in Gaines Hardware I met him again—and found that he was the manager there.

As time passed, we had opportunities to talk and bit-by-bit, I learned some of his life story. He was born in tidewater Virginia, one of nine children, and grew up on a farm where everyone was expected to do his share. That tenet was one he followed throughout his life. He believed in giving 100% in whatever he did.

Wardell entered the U.S. Army in WW II and when he was released, returned to Virginia. For a time, he worked in Fredericksburg where he got to know and admire Oscar Wood Tate (PGM 1986). Initially, however, he didn't realize Oscar was a Mason.

Later, Wardell moved to Alexandria, where in the mid-1960's he married Doris Payne, a widow with an eight year-old son. Then, in 1974, he petitioned Alexandria-Washington Lodge and advanced through the degrees. One of his proudest recollections was being raised in June of 1974 in Liberty Lodge by then Grand Master, Stewart Wilson Miner during our Lodge's visit to Beverly. He was extremely proud that the Lodge returned to Beverly on its regular four-year visit in 1990, the year he was Worshipful Master.

Almost as soon as his adopted son was 21, Douglas petitioned Alexandria-Washington Lodge, where he was raised in 1978. This shows how Wardell's life had impressed Douglas.

For over twenty-five years, Wardell headed the Lodge's Widows Committee. He loved "his ladies" and they certainly loved him. For this position, his shoes will be difficult to fill.

Worshipful Wardell was a tireless member of the team in the Replica Room where his enthusiasm and knowledge added greatly to the visitors' experiences. That enthusiasm was directly responsible for many men following through and becoming Masons.

One of Wardell's greatest honors was to have been invited to become a member of the Sojourners even though he had not served as a commissioned officer or senior noncommissioned officer. A true patriot, he loved his association with the Sojourners, as did they with him.

On July 31, our Brother laid down his working tools. We have all lost a true and trusted friend, mentor, and Brother. May he rest in peace.