The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local news

December 30, 2012

Father, son now Masonic leaders

ENID, Okla. — A historic event took place Sunday when Justin Craparotta was installed as worshipful master of Garfield Lodge No. 501: He and his father, Gerald, will be leaders of the two Enid Masonic lodges at the same time.

Gerald “Crappy” Craparotta is worshipful master of Garfield Lodge 80, and Justin now is worshipful master of Lodge 501. The worshipful master essentially is the president of the lodge. A public ceremonial installation for Justin was held Sunday afternoon at Enid Lodge No. 80, 815 N. Independence.

Craparotta was installed a week ago, but Justin’s ceremony was postponed because of illness. Gerald has been a Mason for six years. He and Justin entered the lodge at the same time, went through the degrees and became master masons together. Both are members of Lodge 501, but Gerald is a plurality member of both lodges.

Gerald had business commitments part of the year, and applied to Enid Lodge 80 as plurality member because Lodge 80 meets on a different night.

Both are 32nd-degree masons and members of the Scottish Rite masons. Gerald has been involved with Masonic drives to prevent blindness, and has worked in schools for four years as part of the Masons’ education work.

“It is meaningful. When I first got into Masonry, it was something we did together,” Gerald said.

Gerald formerly owned Louisa’s Restaurant, and Justin came to work for him there, bussing tables and working his way up to head chef, before he left for college.

“We were together all the time — it was a great bond,” Gerald said. “When he went to college and came back, it wasn’t the same. This afforded us an opportunity to get back to that, as a different type of father-son relationship.

“It’s very rewarding to be able to do this.”

Justin agreed, saying togetherness experience is one of the good points of Masonry.

“Relations between the lodges are getting better with me and my father in the east at the same time,” Justin said. “That’s one of the nice things about Masonry: it gets us together again.”

Justin is sous chef at Costello’s Continental Cuisine in Enid.

One of the goals of the father-son team is to have the two lodges work together on some projects. Gerald said they have discussed a master’s degree team composed of members of both lodges.

As Masonry changes in Enid, there are a number of new people coming into the lodges who want to do more for the city and the community. Gerald said one of his goals is to help the public better understand Masonry and what it is about.

“We’re not just a secret society like everybody thinks,” he said.

The father-son team is believed to be the first instance in Enid of a father and son being worshipful masters at the same time.

“He will be sitting in the east and me sitting in the east in different lodges,” Gerald said. “It will afford us the ability to get the lodges closer together and do things for the community, too.”

There are about 250 members in each lodge, he said, although membership is somewhat down. In recent years, a resurgence has occurred. People often come through the Blue Lodge and go into the Shrine, and do not become active in the lodge.

Enid Masons support the Rainbow Girls organization, as well as a program that assists widows of Masons; participate in educational programs with teachers and students; and conduct scholarship programs, Student of Today and Teacher of Today. They receive some assistance from the city of Enid, Gerald said.

“I really want to become more active in the community, with the United Way, the Red Cross, Salvation Army and other programs,” Gerald said.

A longtime member of Lodge 501, Jim Tresner said Masonry is about self-development. Masons ask questions, he said, and look at the great answers of history, such as “What is a man?” and “How are we supposed to relate to each other?” The degrees — the process of joining — ask those questions.

The Enid Masonic Temple was constructed in the 1920s and now is the home of Enid Symphony Center. Enid Lodge No. 80 started as Lodge 19 in 1894. Garfield Lodge No. 501 began in 1961, according to a history of Freemasonry in Enid.

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