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1949 W.J.Keene

W.Bro. Walter James Keene  M.B.E. (1903 – 1998)  

Walter Keene was born on 26th August 1903 in Leicester into a family with a tradition of public service.  His father was High Sheriff of Leicester and his elder brother, Sir Charles Keene, served as Lord Mayor.  He married Mary in 1928 and moved to Coventry to open a branch of the family retail and finance business. 

He spent his life in the service of others, having been at various times a Group Scoutmaster, Sunday School Superintendent, a Methodist Circuit Steward and for over 70 years a Local Preacher.  He played his part in the life of the City, becoming Chairman of the Retail Section of the Coventry Chamber of Commerce in 1964 and Chairman of Coventry Savings Committee for eight years from 1966 for which he was awarded the M.B.E..  He was President of the Rotary Club of Coventry in 1958, founding President of the Coventry Probus Club and became National President of his Trade Federation in 1967. He was for many years involved in the Council of Churches and was a Trustee of the Chapel of Unity at Coventry Cathedral.  

He was particularly pleased to be appointed a Trustee of Coventry Church (Municipal) Charities which manages the mediaeval Almshouses of Bond’s and Ford’s Hospitals. He later became Chairman and, under his leadership, a major programme of improvement and development was completed.  

W.Bro.Walter was initiated in Trinity Lodge in February 1935 and was raised at the sesquicentennial of the Moderns warrant the following June. He became Worshipful Master in 1949.  

In 1952, as Lodge Secretary, he was responsible for organising the Bi-Centenary meeting celebrating the Lodge’s first (Antients) warrant on December 5th 1955.  On that day he received his first Provincial appointment as P.Prov.D.G.Reg. from the  Provincial Grand Master, R.W.Bro. The Very Reverend Michael Clarke, who had been installed as Master of the Lodge.  In 1965 he was promoted to P.Prov.G.Reg., the same year that his younger son, Victor, joined the Lodge; and in 1984 was further promoted to P.Prov.S.G.W., recognising his distinguished service to the Lodge over many years as Secretary, Charity Steward and Chaplain.   1993 saw his grandson, William, initiated and Walter took great pleasure that three generations of his family were members of the Lodge at the same time. In 1995, at the age of 92, he received a 60-year long service certificate from his son, Victor, then Asst. P.G.M. 

Walter died on 20th July 1998, shortly before his 95th Birthday and his 70th Wedding Anniversary.  He was greatly respected by the Brethren, not only as a loyal and devoted freemason  but also as one who spent a lifetime in the service of God and his fellow man.    

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