Gleason Installed 89th Grand Master of Masons of Massachusetts
On December 27th, 2016, Paul Fulton Gleason was installed as the 89th Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts. Gleason is following in the footsteps of Past Grand Masters like Paul Revere and General Joseph Warren. The office of Grand Master is a volunteer position; the Grand Master is elected and installed on an annual basis. Tradition dictates that first-year Grand Masters are re-elected for a second and third year before another new Grand Master is elected.
As Grand Master, Gleason presides over more than 26,000 Masons and 225 lodges throughout the Commonwealth. The Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts was chartered in 1733, following the establishment of the Grand Lodges of England in 1717 and Ireland in 1725. This makes Massachusetts the third oldest Grand Lodge in the world and the oldest in the Western Hemisphere. Gleason is considered to be the third “ranking” Mason in the world due to this precedent.
The Grand Master has two distinct responsibilities. In this capacity he has numerous ceremonial privileges. He ensures the activities taking place within the jurisdiction comply with the Constitutions and Regulations of the Grand Lodge. The second responsibility he has is leading the business of the Grand Lodge, including:
- Chairman, Grand Lodge Board of Directors.
- President, Masonic Education & Charity Trust (ME&CT). The ME&CT is a 501©3 overseeing the charitable activities of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
- Chairman, Grand Lodge Library and Museum Board of Directors; a 501©3 responsible for the Samuel Crocker Lawrence Library and the Grand Lodge Museum collection, both of which are open to the public.
- Member of the Masonic Health System (MHS) Board of Directors. With corporate headquarters in Charlton, MA, MHS includes The Overlook Life Care Community, which features independent, enhanced, post-acute and skilled nursing; as well as the Overlook Visiting Nurses Association which serves greater than 1,800 people each day.
Gleason was raised in Florida and educated at Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg. He attended Williams College and graduated with a Bachelor of the Arts in 1964. In 1966, he received a Master of the Arts from New York University’s Courant Institute. He then received his Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University in 1968. He married his wife, Phyllis, in 1967 and has been a resident of Winchester since 1969.
In 1966, he was hired by The MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit organization that operates research and development centers sponsored by the federal government. He served as Technical Staff and Group Leader until his retirement in 2005.
In 1971, he began his Masonic career by joining William Parkman Lodge in Winchester. He served as the Worshipful Master, or presiding officer of the lodge, in 1975-76. Masons use the original definition of the word worshipful: honorable. English mayors and judges are addressed by the title of “Worshipful” even today. As Grand Master, members of the fraternity will call Brother Gleason “Most Worshipful.”
He is also a member of Corner Stone Lodge in Duxbury and Washington Lodge in Lexington. His service to the Grand Lodge began in 1997 when he was appointed District Deputy Grand Master for the Arlington 6th Masonic District. In 2003, he was elected to serve as Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge, the fourth highest position a Mason can hold in the state.
In that same year, Gleason also received the Henry Price Medal, the most prestigious honor conferred by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. In 2006, he began his service to the Grand Lodge’s Master’s Path program, an educational seminar for men who wish to become Worshipful Masters of their local Masonic lodges. He directed that program through the end of 2016.
He has been active in several Masonic organizations in his lifetime.
Gleason is a member of many groups under the York Rite of Freemasonry. He is a member of Concord Royal Arch Chapter, Boston Council of Royal and Select Master Masons, and Saint Bernard Commandery #12.
A member of each of the bodies in Scottish Rite in the Valley of Boston, he has served on the production crew for the Valley since 2006. Scottish Rite ceremonies are performed as plays, so the production crew is integral to the success of the Scottish Rite program. Gleason also belongs to the Shriners, as a member of the Aleppo Temple in Wilmington, as well as the Massachusetts College of Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis.
Freemasons belong to the world’s oldest and largest fraternity. Comprised of men from every race, religion, nationality, and opinion, it aims to promote friendship, morality, and brotherly love among its members. Dedicated to the principle of making good men better, Freemasonry develops and strengthens the character of its members by providing meaningful opportunities for fellowship, charity, leadership, and education. By contributing to the improvement of the individual man, through him the institution helps make his family, workplace, and community better. North American Masonic philanthropies contribute more than $3 million every day, 70% of which goes directly to the general public.