Gregory S. Kearse, 33°, Staff Writer
It is a rare occurrence that someone who discovers a flaw in the text becomes a Journal contributor.
Well, ninety-year old Chuck Folsom has
broken the mold. Read on because have
we got a wonderful story for you!
On May 10, 1928, the year Bro.
Charles A. Folsom was born, the first
regular schedule of television programming began in Schenectady, New York,
by General Electric’s television station
W2XB, (forerunner of WNBC-TV) in
New York City. It became NBC’s first
In the Masonic fraternity, it is often
said that two pillars of Freemasonry,
beauty and wisdom, are acquired with
age and experience. In an era when old
age is less revered than in our grandparents’ era, it is rare (and a blessing) to get
advice and a good story from a 90-year
old Freemason and career military man.
He was born on May 10, 1928, in
Nebraska, a former gung-ho, career soldier. Oddly enough, this marvelous story
evolved from a phone call that corrected
information published in our popular
“Chips from the Quarry” column (
May-June 2018 issue). We had featured air-men of note who were also Freemasons.
The caveat was that two of the uniforms
worn in our pictures of war heroes, were
in fact Army, and not the Air Force pilot
uniforms we had indicated The astute
correction was made by Kansas Mason,
Bro. Charles Folsom, 33°. Oh, by the way,
Illustrious Brother Folsom would know
because he’s 90 years old and a former
career military man from Nebraska.
Talking with him turned out to be
a rare pleasurable experience and gift.
The interview was like being in a time
machine! It took three phone sessions
and more than a few emails to gather
the life and history of this intriguing
ninety-year old treasure! His captivating life story could easily fill two book-length manuscripts.
Talk with Bro. Folsom for a few minutes
and you know immediately that he was a
proud jar head (a term he uses affectionately) as well as an active Freemason who
continues to practice his craft with unusual zeal! The term “jar head” may seem
harsh but it originates rather innocently
from the “high and tight” haircut that
many Marines have sported, which makes
their head look like a jar. When used by
civilians, the term “jar head” could be
considered derogatory; on the other hand,
it is generally used affectionately, often
among Marines to identify each other’s
dedicated service to the country.
Wind him up (ask him a question),
and Ill. Brother Folsom gets going and
going, and keeps on sharing words of
profound experience and wisdom. His
enthusiasm and clarity of thought, and
memory, defy, his age. He is an absolute
marvel to talk with. He is a sojourner. For
those who do not know, a Sojourner is
a member of an organization of Master
Masons who are citizens of the United
States of America who have served hon-
orably in the military uniformed service.
Despite his age, Bro. Folsom waxes elo-
quent and with fervor, the kind of belly
fire and zeal that one expects to find in a
person seventy years younger. His love of
the Craft and military tours are fond pro-
found memories for him. His details are,
well, extraordinary and vivid to say the
least. Bro. Folsom lives in the moment
and possesses the memory of a steel trap.
Seventy-one years ago (1947) he
joined the Air Force, much to the chagrin of his mother. He was in the military ever since. After his Air Force tour,
he served in the navy, in what was then
the Naval Service. He’ll tell you quickly
that he enjoys life, and favored Glenn
Miller’s big band sound. He treasures
the idea of serving both his country and
Freemasonry. Today he serves as an advisor to his Lodge and still ably assists
with Ritualistic work.
At age 34 (in 1952) he petitioned for
membership in a Masonic lodge. He has
been a member ever since! He is twice
worshipful master of Freemont lodge No.
15 in Nebraska. He proudly says that he
has attended every Reunion for the past
thirty years and he received his white
hat in 1992. He is particularly proud of
his days at Fort Benning in 1965, and received patches for his marksmanship. Bro.
Folsom is a national treasure. His Japanese wife of 60 years, Emiko, agrees!
Ill. Bro. Charles A. Folsom, 33°,
Waxes Eloquent: Ninety-Year Old Chats
about His Military Career and Freemasonry