Most Worshipful Grand Master
M∴W∴ Richard (Rick) G. Hoover was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, May 31, 1952. He attended the public schools in the area and graduated from Williamsport High School in 1970. He worked in his father’s construction business for several years until moving to St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1977. Rick returned to Williamsport to marry his high school sweetheart, Robyn (Bobby) L. Allen, on December 17, 1983. Together they have two sons: Richard A. and J. Ryan. M∴W∴ Hoover has a daughter, Tammie Hartland, from a previous marriage. Rick and Bobby enjoy spending time with their 3 beautiful Granddaughters: Alexis, Marissa, and Audrey Rose.
Since moving to Florida M∴W∴ Hoover has been employed in the Pest Control Industry. He has worked with several of the largest firms in the Nation in management with duties including technician training, customer relation and retention, and management. In 1988 Rick and Bobby incorporated All R’s Pest Management to give a type of service prospective customers look for, a company who cares. This business has been successfully serving customers for almost 30 years.
M∴W∴ Hoover received the Three Symbolic Degrees of Freemasonry as a member of Nitram Lodge No. 188 in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1994. He served his Lodge as Worshipful Master in 1998 and as Secretary from 2004 through 2013. He served his District in various committee chairmanships from 1997 through 2008.
He served as District Deputy Grand Master for M∴W∴ John R. Givens in 2003 and District Instructor in 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, and 2013. He was appointed W∴ Grand Standard Bearer in 2007 by M∴W∴ Robert P. Harry, Jr. He has also served on the Jurisprudence Committee for 5 years and served on Grand Lodge Committees in the following capacities: Zone Chairman of FA-100 in 2004; Zone Chairman of Public Relations and Publicity in 2008; Zone Chairman of Public Education and Citizenship in 2012; State Chairman of Public Relations and Publicity in 2009; and State Chairman of Masonic Leadership Training in 2010 and 2011. M∴W∴ Hoover was given the Lifetime Appointment of being the Grand Representative to The Grand Lodge of Arizona for The Grand Lodge of Florida and this esteemed honor was bestowed upon him by M∴W∴ Dale I. Goehrig in 2010.
M∴W∴ Hoover was elected to the Office of Junior Grand Warden on May 26, 2014, at the 185th Annual Grand Communication; Senior Grand Warden on May 28, 2015; Deputy Grand Master on June 2, 2016; elected Grand Master at the 188th Annual Grand Communication and then installed Grand Master of Masons of Florida on his 65th Birthday on May 31, 2017.
M∴W∴ Hoover was Coronated a 33° Scottish Rite Mason in November of 2013. He served as Master of Kadosh in 2008, and has served on various committees in the Scottish Rite Valley of Tampa and continues to be an active supporter of the Scottish Rite. He is also a proud member of the St. Petersburg York Rite Bodies and Sunshine Commandery; Selama Grotto; Egypt Temple AAONMS; Bethlehem Chapter No. 169, Order of the Eastern Star; Past President of the Suncoast Master Masons Association; Past President of the Past Masters Unit; Past President of the Past Master Organization; and member of the Royal Order of Scotland, Maxwell Clan.
In his spare time, he enjoys umpiring youth baseball games, something he has been doing for over 35 years. He also contributes time to the Skyway Trap & Skeet as a Board Member in charge of By-Laws and Charter issues. He also enjoys golf, trap and skeet, bowling, and collecting Masonic paraphernalia and memorabilia.
As we enter this new Grand Lodge Year I find myself humbled and thankful that you have given me the opportunity to serve as your Grand Master. I am encouraged by your enthusiasm and appreciate how many of you have embraced the positive direction our Fraternity is going. We must also keep in mind that we are looking at a new year full of change, challenges, and an expectation of commitment. Firstly, many changes are taking place in our Districts and Zones. Changes are also taking place within our committees. These changes are taking place for the betterment and strengthening of our Fraternity. These changes also come with challenges. Lodges have been placed in new Districts. Zones have expanded. I am asking that you work with us to adapt to this new environment. This may be easier for some than for others. For this, I encourage you to be patient and work with us. I assure you that these changes are necessary, and in the end will benefit all of us. I ask that you make a personal commitment to help, aid, and assist our Fraternity by supporting these changes and the tasks at hand. If you do this with the enthusiasm and fervor I have seen in my travels across this state, we have a formula for success.
There are many opportunities for us to self-improve. We expect new members to go to the education classes offered, better yet, why don’t we take the new members to the classes so we may learn as well. The annual reports are appalling. There are entire Districts with zero participation and way too many Lodges with little or no participation.
Masonic Education and Membership Development will again be in the forefront of focus. The Masonic Education Program has been updated and revised to better assist our needs. We have seen a decline in this program over the past several years. I feel we have put together a revitalized program in response to what you have asked for. We listened to your concerns and made changes. The Membership Development program is off and running with the continuation of their Town Hall Meetings. I encourage YOU to take part in both endeavors.
My slogan this year is: “Bridging the Future”. We live in a dynamic ever-changing world and our Fraternity is a microcosm of that world. Like you, I am always searching for ways to strengthen our Fraternity. Sometimes this search leads us down a road that goes nowhere, but the Bridge will always lead us back. Bridges also help us cross divides and reach out to our communities. Sometimes those divides are political, social, religious, or economic. Regardless of the form – it is up to us as Masons to show to the outside world how good men should act. We use bridges to get from one place to another. I like to think they show our commitment to working together. It is by our willingness to be that bridge that will show the world outside who we are and the values we live by. You will see this slogan on my pin and elsewhere but most importantly you will see this in my heart and my actions. Keeping in mind, Masons build Bridges, not walls.
My motto continues to be, “Communication, Education, and Trust”. There are many forms of communication in today’s society, but the one that seems to have taken a step back is verbal communication. Do you remember how to talk to one another in a peaceful productive manner? I am asking that we bring civility through positive communication back into our world – one Mason at a time. Once we have re-established communication, we can then strive for even better Education which we all know is vital to all our Fraternal well-being. All of this leads us to Trust. A word I heard you say was missing in our Grand Lodge. A word I value and a word I promise to continue to earn from you. Together – you and I will work to rebuild that trust.
I will be asking the Craft for their approval for a, “Short of Time” degree during my year. This is not and will not be a one-day class. There will be parameters for the Lodges who wish to take part in this to follow. We have had over 2,500 Masons who have not completed their Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft Degrees in the past 5 years. Why has this happened? This is a question for each of you to answer and understand. I will not ignore the West Gate of our Fraternity, as this is where Trust has it start. Keep in mind, the Making of a Mason, starts outside the Lodge when we first talk to potential member.
In closing, I would again like to express my thanks and appreciation for allowing me this great opportunity to serve you as your Grand Master. May God Bless this great Fraternity and the men and women who protect our Freedoms, and may God Bless the United States of America.
Richard G. Hoover,