Roscoe O. Bonisteel

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Roscoe Osmond Bonisteel, PGM,
Roscoe Osmond Bonisteel, PGM (From the Michigan Masonic Museum and Library Collection)

Most Worshipful Grand Master, 1929-1930

Roscoe Osmond Bonisteel was born on December 23, 1888, in Sidney Crossing, Ontario. Shortly after his birth he moved with his parents to Rochester, New York. He received his public school education in Rochester, Hagerstown, Maryland, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harrisburg High School, and later attended Dickinson College, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and the University of Michigan where he received the degree of LLB, in 1912. He was also a member of Phi Kappa Sigma College Fraternity.

In 1914, he was raised as a Master Mason in Golden Rule Lodge, No. 159, and in 1920 served as Worshipful Master.

He was elected Worshipful Grand Marshal at Kalamazoo in 1923, and was elevated successively in the line of Grand Lodge officers until he was elected to the office of Most Worshipful Grand Master in 1929.

He was also a member of the Washtenaw Chapter, No. 6, Royal Arch Masons; Ann Arbor Council No. 86 R. and S.M.; Ann Arbor Commandery No. 13, and of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Valley of Detroit, and an honorary member of the Craftsmen Masonic Club of the University of Michigan; a member of the Washtenaw County Masters’ Association, Representative of the Grand Lodge of Virginia to the Grand Lodge of Michigan, and a member of the Masonic Temple Association of Ann Arbor.

He was married in 1914, to Lillian Coleman Rudolph of Baltimore, Maryland. They were blessed with four daughters and one son.

He was a lawyer and served as city attorney of Ann Arbor for seven years. He was active in a successful private practice, and was a member of the Michigan and the American Bar Associations. He was a member of the Rotary Club, and an honorary member of Kiwanis, a Past Commander of the Irwin Prieskorn Post of the American Legion; was a member of the Washtenaw County War Board during World War I; a captain in the US Army during 1918-1919; was a member of the National council of the National Economic League and of the Ann Arbor City, the Michigan Union, and the Barton Hills Country Clubs. He served on the Board of Directors of the Y.M.C.A.; the Chamber of Commerce; and was a trustee of the First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor; and was a director of the Michigan League of Municipalities. He was also a director and officer in several financial and industrial corporations. He took an active part in the deliberations of the Republican Party and was elected a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1928.

He died on February 25, 1972.

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