A large number of family, friends, colleagues, toastmasters, golfers and Freemasons attended John Culling’s funeral on Thursday 28th March 2019 at Breakspear Crematorium in Ruislip.
There was standing room only in the main chapel and the overflow chapel was almost full as well.
Before he passed away, John, ever the organised, had determined who should speak and made suggestions on the areas they should cover, which was particularly personal, as it included his wife Shirley, friends from his Golf Club, Toastmasters and our Pro Provincial Grand Master / Most Excellent Grand Superintendent Peter Baker – who gave an Eulogy on John’s Masonic career – please see below.
Thirty current and past Craft and Royal Arch Stewards formed an Honour Guard as John’s coffin was brought to the chapel and the Heads of all Middlesex Orders were present.
Afterwards followed a well attended reception held at Moor Park Golf Club, where John was remembered fondly by all.
Over £1,400 has so far been donated to Cancer Research UK in his memory. https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/john-culling-memorial
by Peter Baker, Pro Provincial Grand Master for and
Grand Superintendent in and over the Masonic Province of Middlesex
I have been asked by Shirley to pay a brief tribute to John’s career as a Freemason, but in the time available in this Service, I can only really summarise it.
However, during a recent interview for an article in The Middlesex Mercury magazine about John as ‘The Man behind the Mason’, he was asked the question, “Who brought you into Masonry?”.
He answered that when, as a sales account manager in the computing industry, he was attending a retirement lunch for a business colleague, he found himself sitting next to a Scotsman, who asked him if he was a Freemason, to which John replied “No”, but he was told that if he was interested in joining the Order he should talk to another colleague in his London office.
He subsequently did so and decided that if both his colleagues enjoyed Freemasonry, then he likely would too, and so almost 29 years ago in 1979 he joined the Craft.
As an aside, I should explain to those present who are not Masons, that what we call ‘Pure Antient Freemasonry’ consists of three Craft Degrees, which are worked in Lodges, and the Royal Arch Degree, or rather Order, which is worked in Chapters.
John was ‘Made a Mason’, or initiated into the Craft, in his colleague Ted’s lodge, namely Londesborough Lodge (L1681) in London in December 1979 and was exalted into the Royal Arch in Burdett Chapter (C1293) in Middlesex some three years later in January 1983.
He was the Master of Londesborough Lodge no less than three times (in 1986, 2006 and 2016) and was also the First Principal of Burdett Chapter three times (in 1991, 2007 and 2017).
He subsequently joined eight other Craft Lodges, two in London and six in Middlesex, and was the Master of three of them.
He also joined seven other Royal Arch Chapters and was the First Principal in two of them.
John was not ‘a back bencher’ in his Masonry, as evidenced by the fact that at various times he held offices in all the Lodges and Chapters of which he was a member, which is quite remarkable.
Likewise, he also held active offices or ranks in London and Middlesex in both the Craft and Royal Arch, including as a Provincial Grand Steward (2002) and, later, as a Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies (2007) in the Craft in Middlesex and he was immensely proud to have been President of the Middlesex Deputies’ Club in 2014.
At the time of his passing, in the Craft he was the current or ruling Master of Prince Michael of Kent Lodge (L9120), which is the Provincial Grand Stewards (Service) Lodge in Middlesex, so named after our Provincial Grand Master, HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO, and in just less than two weeks’ time he would have handed over that Office to his successor.
Likewise, in the Royal Arch in Middlesex he was the current 2nd Provincial Grand Principal (which is ranked number three in order of seniority) and a member of the Royal Arch Provincial Executive Committee.
His wholehearted commitment to Freemasonry was recognised when he was rewarded by being honoured with appointments as a Past Grand Officer in the Craft (PAGDC) in 2008 and as an Active Grand Officer in the Royal Arch (AGDC) in 2013, by the Most Worshipful the Grand Master and Most Excellent the First Grand Principal, HRH The Duke of Kent KG.
I am sure that you will readily appreciate from this brief tribute to John’s Masonic career, that he really loved his Freemasonry, particularly the Royal Arch, and everything he did was done with great commitment, skill and assiduity and to the very best of his ability.
He is and will be greatly missed by his Masonic friends and colleagues and, to use a well-known Masonic expression, it can truly be said that: “Having risen to eminence by merit, he lived respected, and died regretted”.
Peter Baker, Pro Provincial Grand Master for and
Grand Superintendent in and over the Masonic Province of Middlesex.
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