Paul O. Strawhecker
Most Worshipful Grand Master, 1946-1947
Paul Oliver Strawhecker was born in Monroe County, Michigan on August 24, 1897. From early childhood, he was cared for and educated by his foster parents, Charles H. and Nellie B. Strawhecker of Grand Rapids. Following the completion of his elementary and high school education in the City of Grand Rapids, he entered the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, where he took up the study of law. His studies were interrupted by World War I. He enlisted in the Army on May 16, 1917. He served with distinction in the ranks and was commissioned, in France, a Second Lieutenant of Field Artillery. He fought with the 76th Field Artillery, Third Division (Regular), and served with his regiment in the Army of Occupation in Germany. Upon discharge from the Army, he returned to the Law School of the University of Michigan and graduated in June 1922, with the Degree of Bachelor of Laws. Afterward, he became one of the leading attorneys in Grand Rapids. While serving as Deputy Grand Master of Masons, he again answered the call of his Country and was, in January 1943, ordered into active duty as a First Lieutenant of the Coast Artillery. He commanded a battery of 90 MM guns in Portland Harbor, Maine, and accomplished pioneer work in the field with the M 9 Gun Director, developed by Bell Labs. When the war reached the offensive stage, he was transferred to the Escort Officers Detachment, A.G.F. Replacement Depot No. 1, at Fort Meade, Maryland. In this capacity, and commanding ground replacement troops to their overseas destination, he made ten trips across the Atlantic to the European Theatre and two across the Pacific, returning to Fort Meade by air each time.
On September 20, 1927, he married Irene Lora Goodrich. They were blessed with one daughter.
He was raised as a Master Mason in Valley City Lodge No. 86 in Grand Rapids in July 1919. In December 1922 he was appointed a Steward, and in 1930 was duly elected and installed as Worshipful Master of Valley City Lodge. In 1930 Grand Master George B. Dolliver appointed Brother Strawhecker to the Finance Committee of Grand Lodge, and he became its Chairman in 1933 by appointment of Grand Master Louis E. Anderson. In 1937 he was elected to the office of Grand Marshal. He advanced by regular graduations and in 1942 became Deputy Grand Master. While serving in that capacity, he went into the service of his country in World War II. He returned to civilian life and was elected Most Worshipful Grand Master in 1946.
Brother Strawhecker was also a member of Grand Rapids Chapter No. 7, R.A.M.; of Tyre Council No. 10, R. & S.M., and of the Scottish Rite Bodies of Grand Rapids. In September of 1944, he was Coroneted a thirty-third Degree Mason and thus became an Honorary Member of the Supreme Council 33°, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. During his term of office, there were 136,000 Masons in Michigan.
He died on March 13, 1970.