Ben And Anna, Active In Masonic Organizations for 50 Years, Helped By Donations Like Yours
Active in Masonic organizations for 50 years – Solid Citizens – Sharing Musical Gifts
Ben and Anna met in 1944 in Paris, Texas. He was home on leave from the Navy as WWII raged in Europe; she was chatting with teenage friends during a break from her job at the local soda fountain.
Ben had dropped out of high school at 17 to fight for his country. Two years later, he was among the lucky servicemen working stateside maintaining wartime bomber planes and cargo aircraft.
“I wanted a girlfriend, as any young man would. I spotted this pretty little girl talking with a group of friends. I went right over and struck up a conversation. Found out her name was Anna and that I could see her anytime at the soda fountain. You better believe I was right over there the next day eating a banana split!” recalls Ben.
The couple exchanged letters for the next two years. Their long-distance courtship blossomed into love with Ben and Anna marrying in February 1946. He was 20; she was 18.
On active military duty in the early years of their marriage, Ben and Anna were stationed at the naval air base in Corpus Christi. After his discharge, the couple returned to east Texas, their families, and friends.
No strangers to hard work, as both grew up baling hay and picking cotton on the farms of their sharecropper parents, they moved in with Anna’s parents and took any job available.
In the evenings, the couple joined family and friends in singing and playing musical instruments. Ben strummed the guitar while Anna played upright bass, piano, and string bass. Music continues to this day to sustain and lift their hearts, as well as, bring joy to others.
With an eye toward a more stable future, Ben visited an aunt in Fort Worth and applied for a job at General Dynamics (now Lockheed). Hired almost immediately, he spent the next six years performing overhaul maintenance and engine work on the huge B-36 “Peacemaker” bomber planes.
Laid off from GD in the 1950’s, Ben moved to Timco to work on experimental fighter jets and spacecraft. In 1960, he joined Bell Helicopter to build and test helicopter transmissions, staying on for the next two and half decades.
"We worked all the time," said Anna. During those years, Anna had her hands full raising their daughter and two sons, plus owning and operating two full-service beauty salons. “We had between 6 and 8 beauticians in the shops, plus I did hair, too. Ben cleaned up at night and repaired the dryers and other equipment.
With so many job and family responsibilities, they still found time to join Masonic organizations. Ben said, “In 1956, I joined the Blossom Lodge and Paris Lodge. Anna joined Eastern Star. We were both active--I was Worshipful Master at Blossom three times and she was Worthy Matron twice in Depot. Plus, in later years, I achieved Scottish Rite KC 32nd and KCCH.”
All these years of Masonic service added up to Ben receiving a 50-year “A” certificate. In 1986, the couple retired to a four-acre ranchette near their original roots in Paris, Texas. “If anything, we worked just as hard, but now it was growing a garden, volunteering for the church, helping at the fire department, offering free hair styling, and participating in Masonic Lodge and Eastern Star activities,”said Ben.
After fourteen years of “retirement,” the property upkeep and extensive volunteering proved too much to handle. Ben had undergone heart surgery and their children wanted them closer to their homes in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
“We moved to a small place in Joshua, outside Fort Worth. We had plenty of good times, but after we’d been there about ten years, our lives were getting really difficult. I was 84 by this time and Anna was 82. She had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and that meant she really depended on me. Because my vision was failing, I couldn’t drive and I couldn’t pay our bills without someone helping me.
We faced either moving in with our children or moving to Texas Masonic Retirement Center. We looked at our situation and decided to donate our home and estate, so we could move here, get the help we needed, and enjoy the rest of our lives,” said Ben.
“Last February, we celebrated 72 years of marriage and we love living here! They take care of us, take us to the doctor, buy our medicine, have a Country Store with personal items. Plus, we go play music at Stewart’s RV Park, between Alvarado and Keene, on Tuesday nights from 7 to 9 with the Good Times Band. Come out there or stop by here most any day and you’re welcome to join in on our sing-a-longs.”
Ben and Anna’s many years of dedicated service to Masonic organizations and assistance from of the No Mason Left Behind Project now allows them to live in safe surroundings and enjoy a rich life, with help just a few steps away.
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Leave a Legacy - Planned Giving
For more than 100 years, gifts received through wills and other planned giving options have built a tremendous foundation of care for older Texas Masons and their loved ones. We will be glad to visit with you personally to better explain the many options available for planned giving. Feel free to call Gary Blair, Superintendent, at 817.275.2893 or send an email to gary@MasonicLiving.org.
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