Sovereign Grand Commander, Supreme Council of Haiti
Past Grand Master, Grand Orient of Haiti – 1824
In the Yoruba tradition, some people don’t die. They take three steps away from us and pass beyond in order to become Ancestors, that is Immortals, in the service of a noble cause.
Not everyone is destined to become an Ancestor.
It is a rare privilege, kept only for those that led an exemplary life in the service of others and were deeply spiritual.
Such was the case of a Most Illustrious Worshipful Brother that I knew well and came to collaborate and love him like a brother between 2009 and December 30th 2021, the day when he decided to put out his candle, at the age of 87, put down his trowel and bring his work on the building site of a better humanity to an end.
In 2012, at the World Conference of the Grand Lodges in Chennai, India, a natural sympathy blossomed between us and brought us together as two brothers from the same numerous and diverse family.
Past Grand Master Jean K. Gousse accompanied me during my first official visit as Grand Principal of the Supreme Grand Chapter of the Royal Arch in Haiti and as Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the Mark Master Masons of Haiti.
It was in November-December 2012.
The Grand Orient of Haiti (1824), regular and recognized, signed in January 2012, under the aegis of the President of Haiti, Michael Joseph Martelly, a Protocol of Union between the recognized and regular jurisdiction and the other one.
This was a premiere for Haiti.
Problems would arise immediately after the signing of the documents, when talks about a unique constitution for the united jurisdiction first began. Tom Jackson was kept up to date with the entire process, step by step, and also Most Worshipful Brother Tomas Alvarez Manrique, the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Masonic Confederation (CMI).
From 2014 to 2021, Tom and I met countless times the world over, especially in Brazil, this great masonic realm where we enjoyed exceptional stays together, always in the warmth of fraternal friendship and productive exchanges.
Tom often talked to me about his numerous travels, his collection of medals, diplomas and other masonic accessories he had received from all over the world, about his affiliation to a lodge of the Grand United Lodge of England, where one of the Princes from Court was also a member etc.
Tom, a 33rd degree of the Northern Jurisdiction of the United States of America, was named Honorary Member of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Haiti, the only recognized and regular jurisdiction of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in the country, a jurisdiction which I had the honor of leading since 2017.
We saw each other again in the State of Mato Grosso, when we were invited by the Grand Master Geraldo Macedo (2014-2017 / 2018-2021), who took him by plane to go hunting, and also in the State of Rondônia, where we were invited by then Grand Master Aldino Brasil de Souza (2015-2019) and took part together in a special masonic meeting for the installation of the Worshipful Masters (2018).
I was very happy to be close to this giant of World Freemasonry, whose family name was carved in 2019 for eternity on a great plaque at the entrance of the Great Lodge in Goiás by then Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Adolfo Ribeiro Valadares (2014-2020). Among the names inscribed with ineffaceable letters are those of foreign brothers Oscar Alfonso Ortega, Ruby Barbosa Levy and GM.
In August 2019 met again in Milwaukee and took the same plane to another city in the United States. Those were pleasant and unforgettable moments! We had just left the Biannual Meeting of the Northern Jurisdiction of the United States of America.
The sun shined over Thomas W. Jackson, born to Duane T. and Roseazella Malley Jackson at McKeesport, Pennsylvania, on September 14th 1934.
This chemist and biologist with a master’s degree in zoology won universal fame in a global fraternity where his knowledge of chemistry, biology and zoology must have aided him.
From a Chemist he became and Alchemist by managing the World Conference of Regular Grand Lodges, which he served for 20 years. He told me about the challenges he faced in order to handle the rivalries and relations with the Grand United Lodge of England, which didn’t see the strengthening and structuring of the World Conference of Regular Grand Lodges with good eyes, at least at the time.
A small anecdote. I was at the World Conference of Grand Lodges. If I remember well, after a conversation with Tom I suggested that he add the word “Regular” in the name of the conference.
Tom was a patient Wise Man, who always listened more than he spoke. He would always offer his smile and advice.
Having travelled the world over, he became interested, as a biologist, in the life of our great masonic institution. He studied and understood things so well that he was made Honorary Member of all the 111 Grand Lodges in the world and enjoyed the privilege of having his face printed on a stamp in Brazil.
Our African brothers installed him symbolically on the throne of the village Nigui-Saff, in the south-eastern part of the Ivory Coast.
He used zoology, the discourse (logos) about the animal, in Freemasonry, as he published his thoughts in 44 essays about the Fraternity, essays translated into Romanian and published by my Beloved Brother Claudiu Ionescu.
While the mortal remains of Most Illustrious and Most Worshipful Brother Tom, former Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania between 1979 and 1999, lie in the Spring Hill Cemetery in Pennsylvania, his writings, his deeds and his memory will never stop travelling throughout the world, and especially in Haiti, in my heart, in my mind, where his smile will remain immortal.
I love you, Brother Tom!
May he rest in peace!
May the light ever shine for your beautiful soul!