John A. Bleich, along with 238 Thirty-second Degree Scottish Rite Masons will be elevated to the Thirty-third degree in a special ceremony at Grand Rapids, MI on August 30. The event will take place at the conclusion of the Supreme Council of Scottish Rite Freemasonry.
In attendance will be more than 2000 Thirty-third Degree Masons and their wives from the 15 Northeastern and Midwestern states comprising the 240,000-member Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. This will mark the first time since 1997 that the Supreme Council has met in Grand Rapids.
John Bleich, graduated from Central High School in 1961. After high school, he enlisted in the United States Air Force spending time in the Philippines and was in Vietnam from 1965 through 1966. He worked at International Harvester for 13 years and then worked at Fort Wayne Newspapers. John started part-time at the Air National Guard and took a full time position in Information Technology after attending Indiana Institute of Technology. He retired from the Guard in 2003. John has been married for 37 years to Patricia. They have two children, Kimberlee and John Jr.
John joined the Freemasons in 1965 and began the process of earning one degree at a time. He lives on Prairie Grove Drive and is the only person from Fort Wayne to be honored in this year's ceremony. He was elected a year ago at the annual meeting in Milwaukee, WI. The Thirty-third Degree is awarded for outstanding achievement within the fraternity for contributions to others reflecting credit on Freemasonry. The impressive ceremony will be held in DeVos Hall.
A Vesper Service on Sunday afternoon will open the three-day meeting, which will also include executive and general sessions at the Grand Plaza Hotel. Supreme Council members will be joined by leading Freemasons from throughout the United States and around the world.
A major topic of discussion will be the continuing expansion of the Northern Jurisdiction's newest charitable endeavor-the establishment of Thirty-second Degree Masonic Learning Centers for Children designed to provide free one-on-one tutoring for young children with dyslexia. The Scottish Rite Masons also support fellowships in schizophrenia research, college scholarships, and the National Heritage Museum at Lexington, Massachusetts.
Following the conferral of the Thirty-third Degree on August 30, the names of those who have been selected to receive the degree next year at Chicago will be announced.