The Valley of Omaha Scottish Rite just finished the 266th Reunion, named in honor of Jerome Given 33°, whom we lost in 2015. 15 Candidates became 32° Prince of the Royal Secret in a 3-day Reunion on April 27, 28, and 29th.
The Reunion began on Thursday, April 27th with pizza and orientation, followed by the 4°, 7° and 8°. On Friday, April 28th, candidates and degree team members had a great dinner prepared by the Culinary Masters, followed by the highly improvisational 9°-10° - was King Solomon Scottish? - and the 14°.
On Saturday, April 29th, the day began with a hearty breakfast made by the Knights of St. Andrew. Degrees continued with the 15°, 18°, 21°, 29°, 30°, 31°, and 32°. The KSA also hosted the Masonic Yard Sale. Members donated numerous Masonic items - books, jewelry, watches, cufflinks, tie tacks, lapel pins, books, mugs - which other members could buy for their own collection. The Yard Sale raised over $800, which supports the Scottish Rite in purchases.
At lunch, the Culinary Masters prepared an excellent tenderloin and shrimp lunch to welcome our candidates and their ladies. Cathedral Board President Frank Kroupa, 33° spoke about Jerome Given, 33°, who lead a life that almost had to be seen to be believed. He was proud to display a beautiful stained glass window made by Scott Oglesby, 33° in honor of Jerome, featuring the Shrine and Scottish Rite logos. Afterward, the ladies remained and met Amy Nordness, Director of the Nebraska RiteCare Speech and Language Clinic, and clinicians Korey Stading and Leslie VanWinkle, who spoke about their work with the kids. John Maxell, 33° led the ladies on a tour of the building, including the costume room and theater, where they saw a set change and drops of the 31° Inspector Inquisitor Degree.
The 32° finished around 5:30. The Candidates had an opportunity to buy Scottish Rite caps and rings and the evening concluded with a light reception in the lounge with cocktails and light hors d'oeuvres. The Fall Reunion will be November 2, 3, and 4th, and interested candidates are welcome to learn more by calling the Scottish Rite office at (402) 342-1300 or visit our website here.
F. Jerome Given, 33°
The 266th Reunion of the Omaha Valley Scottish Rite was named in honor of Jerome Given, 33°, who passed away in 2015. Frank “Jerome” Given was born in Omaha, Nebraska on February 26, 1923 to Frank and Hazel Given.
Jerome lived life that almost had to be seen to be believed. He loved racing motorcycles, ice skating, water skiing, boating, Corvettes, flying airplanes. . . but most importantly, helping people.
A member of the Greatest Generation, Jerome landed at Omaha Beach, rose to the rank of Captain in the Army 9th infantry, serving under General Patton, and fought at the Battle of the Bulge. After graduating in 1947 from Creighton University’s Law School, he spent 35 years working for the Union Pacific Railroad. He retired as their General Trial Counsel. He also started the UP’s Aviation Department.
1944 in Florence Lodge #281. He was a York Rite Mason, a Scottish Rite Mason, and a Shriner. At age 40 in 1963, he was Tangier Shrine’s youngest Shrine Potentate. He served as Director of the Nebraska Masonic Youth Foundation, Chairman of the Scottish Rite Cathedral Board. He was a longtime meber of the Rotary Club and served as a councilman for the City of Elkhorn. Jerome joined the Scottish Rite in 1948, and was invested as a Knight Commander of the Court of Honor in 1973 and Coroneted a 33° Inspector General Honorary in 1987.
He learned to fly in 1943 and was given a Master Pilot Award from the FAA for 64 years of safe flying. He flew everything from single engine and multi-engine aircraft to jets. He flew countless children to shrine Hospitals in his plane along with helping many patients for Angel Flight and Lifeline Pilot. There was always donuts and coffee on his plane for his guests, and there was never a bill for his time or fuel!
Jerome lived his Christian faith, and willingly shared his blessings with others. The title "a True Gentleman" is conferred on too few men; for Jerome, the title is a more than apt description and only begins to touch on his full, well-lived life.