AN INTERVIEW WITH THE FOUNDER
What websites does the Widows Sons operate?
The Widows Sons Official International Website
The Official Widows Sons Forum
The Official Widows Sons Magazine is at
The Widows Sons Catalog is at:
The Founderís website is at
1. What made you decide to start a formal Masonic riding association?
I woke up with the picture of a woman and the words ďWidows SonĒ in my
head. She had a look of terror on her face. I chased that dream trying
to figure out what it meant. It didnít go away like most dreams. I was
still seeing it a year after the dream.
After a few months later, I came to the realization she was a widow who
just lost her husband. So, I thought on widows for several months and
decided they needed some help getting their lives together after their
loss. Things like lawns mowed, home maintenance, sometimes monetary
contributions and other ways to aid and assist them on the long road
they will travel alone.
We were already an organized riding group. We were the El Jaala Grotto
Motor Patrol, and we all rode white Harley Elecrta Glides. I discussed
my idea with the group and they told me to get some bylaws together. So
I began a year long task of writing bylaws. The name Widows Sons came up
during this process because our mission was going to be aiding and
assisting widows of master masons. On February 18, 1998 we ratified the
bylaws by vote, but still needed to change two items, as they were
officially ratified in April but changed our name from the Grotto Motor
Patrol to the Illinois Grand Chapter of Widows Sons on Feb 18th,
2. Before the Widows Son was created was there anything like it out
there for Brothers to ride together?
I contacted a small group who had chapters in a few states but they
werenít interested in my thoughts on being a club to support widows as
their priority, but I canít remember their name.
3. When you first formed the group was there any public misconceptions
that you ran into? Can you give us some examples?
When the Widows Sons first formed, the group decided to wait on wearing
a patch because motorcyclists were not looked upon favourably by Grand
Lodges in 1998. We didnít think Grand Lodges would allow us to operate
in their jurisdiction because of the stereotyped image television has
given to bikers. So, we didnít wear a patch. We rode without a patch
for a year and a half. I discussed the Widows Sons and our purpose for
founding the Widows Sons with Illinois Grand Master Bennie Grisham in
late 1998 on the telephone and he told me it was ok but keep it within
due bounds. We still chose not to wear a patch at this time. Our first
patch was voted on in late 1999 and a copyright was later applied for.
4. What about Grand Lodges? Were they receptive to the idea of a
Motorcycle association that consisted of Square & Compass wearing
Brothers? Were there any conditions that you had to follow that maybe
wasnít an original part of your plans?
The Grand Lodges of the first three states who contacted them for
permission only wanted to be sure that no other stateís authority would
ďleakĒ into in their jurisdictions, and that we would not advertise
ourselves as Mason in places where masons shouldnít be. They didnít want
no black eyes from us. The jurisdiction question was in our bylaws under
the autonomy clause. It really didnít matter because the out of the
first six chapters, Illinois, the founding chapter, and the Netherlands
were the only two that didnít shut down due to peer pressure from the
elder brothers in those states. But we kept at it.
5. There are Chapters in almost every state and many countries around
the world, have you visited many of the Chapters? What were some of your
more memorable experiences or favorite locations to ride?
I make every attempt to make an annual visit, but because of a disabled
son, we can't travel as much as I'd like to. I visited Illinois in
2007, and also Florida that year. Alabama was visited a few years in a
row, Lovell, Wyoming in 2012, Chicago in 2013 and 2014, Suffolk England
in 2014, and France in June of 2014.
6. There are some very catchy Chapter names out there, do you have a
There are too many to pick one, because as soon as I see one I really
like, another great one pops up. So, I make my favourite name the Widows
Sons. All other names fall under this one. lol
7. If someone is interested in starting a new Chapter are there special
requirements that are necessary like a minimum number of riders or it
has to be a certain distance from another existing Chapter?
Our chapters are set up on a state by state basis in the US, by
Provinces in Canada, and Australia, and by country everywhere else. We
have one Grand Chapter per Masonic jurisdiction with affiliate chapters
under them. It takes 7 members who are masons that ride bikes and a
pledge to follow our founding principles and make widows and orphans
We have a Grand Chapter Starter Kit we send to those who want to start a
new Grand Chapter. If there is a Grand Chapter in their area, they are
directed to contact their Grand Chapter The Grand Chapter Starter Kit
has all the requirements such as the bylaws, a Grand Chapter Affidavit,
CoC manuals, and all paperwork necessary with a set of guidelines to
lead the prospective Grand Chapter from the start to the finish of the
chartering process. Then an existing Grand Chapter will make sure they
are in compliance and present them with their charter certificate.
Anyone who is interested in starting a Grand Chapter should go to the
International website at
and click on the join button.
In 2014 we started reading the vest lecture to the new Grand Chapters,
then giving the President an oath and obligation and then ask him to
give the oath for his officers and members. They sign their bylaws and
are presented a handbook with their charter, the oaths, the vest
lecture, the Charges to a new Widows Sons Chapter from Freemasonry a
honorary member guidelines, The Widows Sons Branding Ceremony and room
to store the minutes of their meetings. We ask the President to repeat
the ritual when a new President and officers are elected. It will keep
everything uniform in the future..
8. To aid and assist widows and orphans of Master Masons is the number
one goal of the organization. Why this cause over any another one that
is also worthy?
We were formed with the intention to aid and assist widows and orphans
of masons as our priority and no charity should come before widows and
orphans, because of that woman with the white face full of terror in the
dream I had. Looking out for widows and orphans of our brethren is a
part of our obligation as a Mason. We just exemplified it and took it a
We added two more purposes to our bylaws, although they were NOT the
founding purposes. The second purpose and third purposes added in 2000,
The second was to provide fellowship among masons who ride, and the
third, to introduce the world of motorcycling to freemasonry and to
introduce the world of freemasonry to motorcycling. Some newer members
who joined after 2005 believed the second and third purposes were why we
were founded and began promoting them as a founding purpose, so the
Widows Sons Founderís Page was put online in 2010 to remove any
confusion as to why we were founded.
9. How many motorcycles do you have? What is your favorite one to ride
I have two right now, but at times in the past Iíve had up to 3 at one
time. I ride a pearl white custom Harley Low Rider and a Two tone red
Ultra Classic. You can view the Low Rider in the WSMag.
and the Ultra in the June 2014 issue http://wsmag.org/JUNE2014/ULTRA.htm
I have owned 13 different Sportsters, A Super Glide, An Electra Glide
Classic, now a Low Rider, and an Ultra Classic. Back in the childhood
days a Kawasaki Mach III 500, which was also called the ďWidow Maker.Ē
I am looking to finding an older Ariel, Triumph, or Sunbeam for a
The minutes of the Widows Sons Illinois Grand Chapterís first meeting.
This is when it all started
February 18th is the anniversary date of the Widows Sons. We
introduced a Widows Sons Showpiece clock for the 15th
anniversary. There will be 100 in the 12 inch edition numbered from 1
-100. A 24 inch clock has been introduced with only 50 numbered clock
being produced. Both clocks have a wall mount or an optional stand for
the desk or mantel. They are available in the WSCatalog at
An Amazing Note:
I was working offshore in 2010, and was part of the crew dragging a
drilling rig from Del Carmen Mexico to Brownsville Texas. When we
reached our 3 day resting point before going into the ship yard, the
cell phones finally had signal.
I received a Facebook message from Teresa Mills in Newcastle, England.
Teresa was the widow of Rob Mills of the Northumberland Chapter of Widow
Sons. Rob was fatally injured in a motorcycle accident on June 5, 2010.
Teresa started a Motorcycle Awareness Group, called Dying to Ride, to
make drivers of other vehicles aware of motorcycles so what happened to
Rob would not happen to others. She asked me to join her organization
and to help her get support for it. I looked at it, and it was a good
cause, so I joined it, and sent notice of it through my Masonic
communication channels and in two weeks Dying to Ride had over 1000
Facebook members. Not because of me, but what it stood for. All I did
was put it in front of Widows Sons and they evaluated it and decided
whether they wanted to support this cause or not.
Teresa and I stayed in contact and talked on the phone becoming good
friends. I invited her to Pensacola, FL in March of 2011, because I had
a mandatory four weeks off from my accumulation of hours offshore. The
choice for the company was time off or a pay raise. You already know
what choice they selected. lol
She visited me in Pensacola, and we were married on March 24, 2011, and
I joined her in England in April 2011. Iíve been here since. We now work
together on Dying to Ride setting up her talks about motorcycle
awareness at schools and military bases all over England. We have an
annual ride in England on the second Saturday of each June in memory of
fallen Bikers. Dying to Ride is at: http://dyingtoride.org