Albert P. Jimenez Sr., 32
Houston, Texas

A Christmas dinner for newsboys and the friendship of a Master Mason initiate a lifetime of service to Freemasonry.

I am 81 years old, and in August, 1997, I celebrated 50 years as a Master Mason of the Grand Lodge of Texas. I am a Past Master of my Lodge, 32 Master of the Royal Secret, and a Texas Shriner. I chose to become a Master Mason because of a generous and kind man, M.W. Nat M. Washer, P.G.M. (1900), Grand Lodge of Texas. He made a great impression on me during my boyhood and also as a young high school student. My father had passed away, and I had to take a job as a newspaper vendor. I sold newspapers at the corner of East Commerce and South Alamo Streets in San Antonio, Texas.

Ill. Nat M. Washer, 33

It was prior to the Depression of the 1930s when I first met this kind gentleman. Each year on Christmas Day this very charitable man would sponsor a lavish holiday dinner party at the Gunther Hotel exclusively for the newspaper vendors of the city. A short time later, I worked as an afternoon route paper carrier for the San Antonio Light newspaper. I was a student at San Antonio Vocational & Technical High School when I had the privilege of working for this good Mason. I worked after school and on Saturdays at his Menís Haberdashery on Houston Street. I remember how proud I was of the black serge suit for my high school graduation that I bought with my earnings. Ill. Washer, 33 (coroneted 1915), was very friendly and treated me with respect. Also, I learned he was very much involved in Masonic activities and was a prominent figure in Masonic circles. I admired his generosity and the sincere compassion that he had for the Hispanic community of San Antonio. He was a great role model for me and an ideal Master Mason.

I married in 1938 and was soon employed as a federal civil service worker at Kelly AFB. After serving in the Navy during World War II, I returned to my job as a Technical Services Equipment Specialist. During my time at the base, I noticed that many of the administrative personnel were Master Masons like Brother Nat. He was then a Past Grand Master, Grand Lodge of Texas.

Albert P. Jimenez Sr., 32

I had asked several co-workers, who were Freemasons, about how to apply for membership. A Mason belonging to Harlandale Lodge No. 1213 located in south San Antonio gave me an application and advised me to apply at Nat M. Washer Lodge No. 1270. This Lodge was located on the third floor of the Scottish Rite Temple. That suited me just fine because it was in the downtown area and close to my home. It was there I was received as an Entered Apprentice, passed to the Fellowcraft, and raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason, the latter in August 1947. It was Brother Nat M. Washer who was instrumental in obtaining the Masonic Charter for the first Hispanic Lodge in San Antonio in 1935. The founding Charter members were: Brother Espiririon Ruiz, W.M., Brother James Pratt, S.W., and Brother Antonio Castano, J.W., all very prominent men from San Antonio, Texas.

Some years later, the Lodge was moved to its present location at 212 City Street where I served as Worshipful Master, 1965-66. I also served in the Scottish Rite Consistory as Degree Master from 1948 to the present.

As I reflect on my Masonic years, I have indeed been privileged and honored to have known my inspirational benefactor, M.W. Brother Nat M. Washer, 33, P.G.M., Grand Lodge of Texas. This great Fraternity of Freemasons has been a fountain of knowledge and inspiration for me all these years.