Illustrious Gary D. Bartlett, Aleppo’s 98th Potentate, has started his year with an emotional and fun-filled Ceremonial Installation and Potentate’s Ball. A break from tradition was also a tug at the heartstrings with Gary’s mother, Jeanne Bartlett, putting his Potentate’s Fez on him. It started a trend that day with 1st Ceremonial Master Cliff Critch getting fezzed by his father Ted Critch, and 2nd Ceremonial Master Roger Gardiner getting fezzed by his wife Bobbie.
With their blended family by their side, Ill. Gary and Lady Gloria had a wonderful time spreading their messages for 2020 of “We Are Family, We Are Masons, We Are Shriners!” and “Shrine Ladies Make a Difference” to the Nobility.
Between Gary and Gloria they have seven children and 19 grandchildren who have been very supportive through the years and are excited for them this year. With their goal of getting more people and families involved this year, they are also getting their families educated about the Shrine and Masons. They definitely had a blast at the Potentate’s Ball.
When asked how the past six years have been, Gary said, “I thought it was going to take forever, but it went by very quickly.” “The Past Potenates, especially Ill. Robert Havener and Lady Linda Havener, have been wonderful prepping us for the upcoming year.”
Usually snowbirds during the winter, they have foregone their time away and just took a short jaunt to their place in Florida for a little over a week after the Ball. Gary is affiliated with Sahib Shriners in Sarasota, just a few minutes from their place there, and told me something interesting. He said about the difference in Shrine Center thoughts having their Ladies involved, “here we have to have the support of our Ladies and the amount that they are involved in and do is incredible. Some other Shrines don’t have the same involvement.”
Several events coming up this year that they are excited to have Nobles involved in are: the Northeast Field Days (more info about this in the next issue), Imperial Session in Kansas City, MO, the Antique Fire Apparatus Parade and Show (they will be having a fireman’s muster) and many more. Gary is excited about the Antique Fire Apparatus event, having retired from Marblehead Fire Department after 24 years, and his huge involvement in the Aleppo Fire Brigade Unit. The Unit helps to keep the Shriners Auditorium safe during events, and is really big in helping in an infinite number of ways around the Shrine Center.
“The fellowship from Grand Lodge has been great” said Gary, “we have events that we invite Masons and non-Masons to that help spread the word about Shrinedom and Freemasonry.” There are a MyChip event, an Open House, and a Making Masons symposium coming up – see page five for more info about these events.
Well, we can’t wait to tell you more about Illustrious Bartlett’s adventures during this year. We hope you can partake in as many of the festivities as you can whether it be with your Shrine Club, Unit or on your own. Just make sure you have fun; that’s all Gary wants!