W Bro Humphrey Smith died on the 3rd of July 2012, aged 67.
He was Master of the Lodge in 1997. This is not remarkable; most members of Lodges take on the responsibilities of Master during their Masonic career. What is remarkable is what few of us in Athelstan Lodge were aware of during his lifetime but became so after his death.
We knew he was ‘something’ at the Coventry University, but his career and history as an ecologist was not so well known.
A search on Google results in a plethora of published papers.
His connection with Mabley Farm, Woolhope, Herefordshire, is worthy of mention and you may like to read about it here.
His funeral was well attended; Kingsbury Church was full on the morning of Tuesday, 24th of July 2012 and his send-off was worthy of the man and the Mason. He will be missed by those who knew him.
Since then, we have received a couple of photos (on this page) and a note from his colleagues at Mabley Farm.
To the members of Athelstan Lodge
Thank you so much for your kind words and understanding at this difficult time.
We will all miss Humphrey so very much, but rest assured of our intention to keep Humphrey’s dreams for Mabley Farm and nature conservation alive for future generations to enjoy.
With best wishes from Liz and Mark
Humphrey was remembered at the meeting held on Thursday, 4 October 2012 by W Bro PR Stickland:
This lodge has suffered a sad loss with the passing of W Bro Humphrey Smith who died on 3rd July. He was a Past Master of the Lodge and held the office of Organist and the Provincial rank of Past Provincial Grand Registrar.
Humphrey was born in Bolton and went to Bolton School and from there to University in Edinburgh. He came south to take up a post as Lecturer in Ecology at Coventry University and bought a bungalow in Croft Road, Atherstone, next to the Police Station, as he said “surely the safest place to live.” We met in 1974 as members of Atherstone Choral Society but he spent time away engaged in Polar research with the British Antarctic Survey.
When his home life became more settled, the subject of Freemasonry almost inevitably came up in our discussions and he mentioned that his father was a Past Master of a Lodge in Bolton. So the die was cast and, after the necessary preliminaries, Humphrey was initiated in to Athelstan Lodge in 1984 with his father present to witness the ceremony.
He was appointed Organist in 1986 but he was very clear that he wished to make proper progress to the Chair and, accordingly, in due time he served as Junior Deacon and progressed through to the Wardens’ Chairs and he was installed as Worshipful Master on 5th December, 1996.
He had an active and interesting year as Worshipful Master – a year which I know he enjoyed – and a year in which he committed himself to Athelstan Lodge.
After his year as IPM, he was appointed Organist and he thoroughly enjoyed that office. He fulfilled his duties in an exemplary manner and I venture to say that his playing and his choice of music was appreciated by everyone.
His services as organist were constantly in demand; he played for Abbey Lodge and was elected an honorary member, and he played regularly for Wyley Lodge and Meridan Lodge.
He was a member and Past Z of Trinity Chapter, No 254 and received his first Provincial Grand Chapter appointment this year. Unfortunately he was not well enough to attend the Provincial meeting.
Outside of Freemasonry, he played the organ at Merevale Abbey and he maintained a vivid interest in music. His favourite composer, since his schooldays, was Handel.
In 1999 he was able to buy Mabley Farm which is in the northern part of the Wye Valley and the farm has a programme of specialisation in rare breeds of cattle, but the farm and the woodland is a story on its own.
Humphrey Smith was very much his own person with distinct views on many things but his support for friends and friendships so gained was absolute. I can speak from personal experience on this front. He was always ready and willing to provide transport for hospital appointments and when I was in hospital last year he was an early visitor, coming armed with reading material, and this caring manner was extended to friends and acquaintances alike.
In life he followed the precepts of Freemasonry and he was a credit to the Craft and to this Lodge.