Robert A. Hockstad
Most Worshipful Grand Master, 1966-1967
Robert Angus Hockstad was born on December 11, 1912 in Pontiac, Michigan. When he was two years old, he moved with his family to Bingham in Leelanau County. He lived on a farm there until entering High School in Traverse City in 1926. He graduated in 1930. He received his college education at the Michigan Technical College in Houghton. He entered the retail-merchandising field and was employed as a manager of a retail shoe and ladies and children’s ready-to-wear store until World War II broke out.
In June of 1942 he entered the United States Army at Fort Custer. He was sent to Fort Bragg for basic training, and then entered Officer’s Candidate School in Fort Sill. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of field artillery. After completing further training in special communications at Fort Sill, he taught at the Field Artillery School for 13 months. In June 1944 he was assigned to the 589th Field Artillery Battalion, 106th Division, and in December of 1944 he began an overseas tour of duty in the European theater. He saw action in the Battle of the Bulge and was still in Germany when the war in Europe ended. He came home in June 1945 aboard a hospital ship and was honorably discharged as a Captain in January 1946.
He spent the next two years with the F. & M. Packing Co. in Traverse City and Brooksville, Florida. In 1948 together with his brother and two others, he founded the Elk Rapids Packing Co. In 1966 he served the Company as Secretary, Assistant General Manager and Director.
On April 12, 1942 he married Pauline Fort. They were blessed with four daughters.
He was raised as a Master Mason in Elk Rapids Lodge No. 275 on May 5, 1949 and in the same year accepted the position of Steward. He progressed to Worshipful Master in 1956 and served as a member of the Board of General Purposes, District 29, in 1958 and 1959. He was elected Grand Marshal of the Grand Lodge F. & A.M. of Michigan in 1960 and became Most Worshipful Grand Master on May 25, 1966.
He is a member of Traverse City Chapter No. 102, R.A.M.; Inverness Council No. 60, R. & S.M., Cheboygan; Traverse City Commandery No. 41, K.T.; DeWitt Clinton Consistory, Scottish Rite, Valley of Grand Rapids; Saladin Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S., Grand Rapids; Traverse City Shrine Club; Thistle and Rose Council No. 27, Allied Masonic Degrees, Detroit; and honorary membership in Otsego and Manistee Craft Lodges.
He was the Charter President of the Elk Rapids Rotary Club, charter and life member of AMVETS, member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, a charter member of the Exchange Club of Traverse City and the Traverse City Elks.
He passed away January 16, 2011.