Last Thursday, July 1st, I received news which struck me right down to my very soul. One of my closest friends in the world, Lance Kates, PM passed away at the young age of 38. How could this be I thought? He was so young! It took me several days for the news to truly sink in. (Not that I am sure it truly has yet. ) After several nights of little sleep and a heart filled with sorrow. I knew today was the day in which I had to fulfill my one last promise to my fallen Brother.
A few years ago I was asked to be an administrator on a authors Facebook page entitled “Brother Tech“. This was a page which Lance started to promote his Masonic writing. Unlike most authors, Lance had to keep his identity secret. He was attending a very strict religious college and if it was found out that Lance was a member of the Craft he would have been expelled from the college. During this period he wrote several pieces as a guest contributor for the Midnight Freemasons, which included Pancakes or Waffles? and he even wrote an E-book which is still available on Amazon entitled A Christian’s Perspective on Masonic Symbols: The Square and Compasses
He asked me to be an admin on his page because he was thinking of the 5th degree of the Scottish Rite in which you should always have your worldly affairs in order because tomorrow is not promised to any of us and he wanted his page to live on. I promised him, on my obligation, I would not give out his “secret identity” unless he passed away (We used to laugh because I said I felt like the butler Alfred in the old Batman series). So today I “unmasked” Brother Tech before the world in a post on the Facebook page.
Even though Lance wasn’t a Freemason for a long time I believe he was truly a Mason in his heart since birth. He truly lived by our teachings. If someone needed a hand, he was the first one there to lend a hand. He took care of his mother and father, sacrificing his own social life to ensure they were comfortable and in need of nothing. He was also very active and well respected in his mother lodge and was serving his second term as Worshipful Master at the time of his passing.
This morning Brother Robert Johnson Host of the WCY podcast did a short memorial on his show. You can hear the show here.
Lance did so much for so many without telling anyone. Much of what he had done is now becoming public because people are sharing their memories of him and showing everyone his good works. He will be greatly missed.
Lance was one of my closest friends. We would sit and talk, smoke cigars, and discuss every aspect of Freemasonry. We would even go out to dinner and laugh and have a good time. Lance loved to talk or debate politics. He was very quick on his feet. You did so at your own peril.
A few years ago. He even took time out of his life to drive me from Oklahoma to Texas so I could have cataract surgery, twice! We stayed in a hotel and he cared for me during the night and the next morning he took me back to the doctor and then drove me home and wouldn’t accept a dime from me even though he had to take off work to make these trips. “It’s what Brothers do,” he said.
Lance always referred to himself as a hermit and as an introvert, but seeing the outpouring of love and affection I think he touched more people than he ever dreamed he would. I am lucky to be one of them and his passing leaves a void in my heart which will not be filled again.
His family has asked in lieu of flowers that donations be made to his lodge:
El Reno Masonic Lodge #50
P.O. Box 267
El Reno, OK 73036
I will miss you Brother. Until we meet again in the Celestial Lodge above.