Robert E. Lake

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Robert E. Lake, PGM,
Robert E. Lake, PGM (From the Michigan Masonic Museum and Library Collection)

Most Worshipful Grand Master 1972-1973

Robert E. Lake was born on February 19, 1910 in Benton Harbor, Michigan. He attended local schools and began college at Michigan State University and continued at Georgetown College in Kentucky and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he gained a vast knowledge of engineering, management, and corporate diversification. His teaching assignments took him to New York and San Francisco and covered engineering, establishment of research and development projects, planned corporation diversification and the recruitment of engineering personnel. On December 30, 1934 he married Edith L. Hughes. They were blessed with two sons. During his high school and college days he was apprenticed as a plumber and a steam fitter and was a heavy equipment operator on highway construction. In 1934 he was a draftsman and designer for F. P. Rosback Co. in Benton Harbor. In 1937 he became design engineer for the Penn Electric Switch Co. of Goshen, Indiana, and in 1940 he joined the Whirlpool Corporation, first as a design engineer, and wringer washer expert, chief draftsman, chief engineer, chief product engineer, Director of Management, Engineering, and Research, and later as Director of International Engineering and Management. Later he was promoted to head the Canadian subsidiary as President and Chief Executive Officer. He was later named Vice President of Whirlpool International and a Consultant to the entire Whirlpool Industrial complex. He retired in 1965. As a side issue he purchased a lumber yard and mill in 1960 and formed the General Mill and Manufacturing Co. In 1962 he added a hardware store to the lumber yard and mill. In 1965 he also retired from this activity.

He was raised as a Master Mason in Lake Shore Lodge No. 298 on December 10, 1941. He was elected Junior Deacon in 1945 and Worshipful Master in 1950. In 1942 he sought and received the Scottish Rite Degrees of the Four Coordinate Bodies of Grand Rapids and was created a Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret in DeWitt Clinton Consistory on February 11, 1943. For services rendered the Craft he was Coroneted a 33° Mason on September 25, 1957. He was Master of Ceremonies and Hospitaler of the Michigan Council of Deliberation. He was exalted to the Sublime Degree of Royal Arch Mason on November 8, 1950 in Calvin Britain Chapter No. 72. In 1958 he received the Degree of Super Excellent Master on March 15 in St. Joseph Council No. 44. The York Rite honored him in 1955 when he was inducted into St. Vincent’s Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine and served as Sovereign in 1966. He became a member of Saladin Shrine Temple of Grand Rapids in 1953 and of Colonial Chapter No. 319, Order of the Eastern Star, of Benton Harbor. In DeMolay he was the Charter Master Councilor of Wolverine Chapter in 1926 and was given the Legion of Honor in 1953. It stated that he was the first former Michigan DeMolay to receive the 33°. He was elected to the office of Grand Marshal in 1966. He succeeded to the office of Grand Master of Michigan Masons on May 24, 1972. During his term of office, there were 150,000 Masons in Michigan.

He died on March 15, 1986.

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