The Valley of Omaha celebrated the end of an era with the retirement of Curtis M. Edic, 33°, General Secretary after 16 years. Curt joined the Scottish Rite in 1975, intending to use the Scottish Rite as a springboard to get active in the Shrine. Along the way, he got involved in the Scottish Rite and has participated in one way or another ever since. He joined the staff as Assistant General Secretary to Jim Erixon, 33° in 1996, and then took over as General Secretary in 1999.
While his list of achievements is vast, perhaps the biggest legacy is left in a service-oriented leadership. The Line Officers are engaged in the leadership of the Valley, rather than a passive rubber-stamp to the Board. Even the most seasoned 33° Scottish Rite Masons is encouraged to reach out and meet the newest 32° Scottish Rite Mason. And the newest Mason feels welcome and can get involved himself. Curt fostered a strong unity among the Masonic bodies, including Grand Lodge, the York Rite, youth groups, Blue Lodges, and Shrine. Curt served as Chief of Staff to Frank Kroupa in 1997, during Frank's year as Potentate of Tangier Shrine.
Curt also oversaw the renovation of the Scottish Rite, beginning in about 2000. Renovations included the first floor kitchen and dining room, second floor ball room, "middle chamber," lounge, and in 2014, the Grand Cross Room. On the third floor, Curt oversaw the renovation of the theater as a first class venue that has hosted the Nebraska Youth Ballet, Opera Omaha, symphony, concerts, lectures, weddings, and other events. In fact, rental revenue has blossomed to around $100,000 each year, a significant source of the Valley's revenue.
Also as part of Curt's large legacy has been getting the Scottish Rite involved in the community. No longer the secret club house of the Masons, the building has been used for Downtown Omaha, Inc. meetings, where Curt has served as Treasurer and Board member. Curt has represented the Scottish Rite at Downtown Rotary, the Chamber of Commerce, and other civic groups. The "secrecy" of the Lodge has been replaced with the view that the building is open and welcoming to the community.
More than 250 Masons and friends joined Curt on Saturday, January 9 for a relaxed evening to wish Curt good luck in retirement. Catering Creations provided excellent hors d'oeuvres while the Knights of St. Andrew bartended. Cathy Segrell, Marcia Rulla, and Greg Swinarski presented Curt with his office chair, signed by dozens of Scottish Rite Masons. The Line Officers presented Curt with a bronze eagle, and the Lodge of Perfection presented a carved wood Scottish Rite eagle with the dates Curt served as General Secretary. M.W. John Maxell, succeeding Curt as General Secretary, presented Curt with a small pair of boots, joking that it should not be hard to fill Curt's shoes! And last, the Cathedral Board surprised Curt and Carol with a cruise to Alaska as appreciation for his service and leadership.
Members enjoyed a great evening, and had a chance to wish a great Mason, friend, mentor, and a True Gentleman a wonderful retirement! . . . Of course, we will still see Curt in 2016. He's still Secretary of the Scottish Rite Foundation of Omaha and the Scottish Rite Foundation of Nebraska, so he'll be around throughout the year continuing to provide leadership.
And who knows? Maybe Curt will need something to do in retirement and stay periodically active with some degree work?