The Man Behind the Apron

Appropriate perhaps that we look at the Man behind the Apron following the recent presentation of a Fifty-Year certificate to V.W.Bro. Ronald Gee.

Ron, as he prefers to be known, was born in the home of one of his father’s aunts in Bedworth on St Valentine’s Day 1933. A small baby, weighing in at just 2lb 12oz. he was thought unlikely to survive. However, he proved to be a fighter and when strong enough he was taken home to Bearwood. The family lived near Lightswood Park and remained there until 1938.

Aged Five Ron started his education at the George Dixon School. The family then moved to Coventry but after a very short stay returned to Bedworth. A good move as they were not troubled by the horrendous blitz that Coventry sustained day after day.  Able to witness the attack on Coventry they were fortunate that the only bombs dropped anywhere near their home landed in lakes to the front and rear resulting in little or no damage.

Ron attended the local C of E school at Bedworth until his eleven plus results meant moving onto King Edward VI Grammar School at Nuneaton. From there Ron followed his interest in Electronics and went to the City of Coventry Technical College where he studied Telecommunications Engineering.

His interest in electronics came to the fore when he built most of the equipment necessary in becoming a Radio Ham.

Summoned to National Service in 1951, Ron was assigned to the Royal Corps of Signals. He reports that Basic training at Catterick Camp was not funny but the technical training which followed was excellent and resulted in a posting to 11th Air Formation Signal Regiment in Germany, in April 1952. Based near Hamelin, of Pied Piper fame, Ron headed a technical workshop requiring regular visits to many RAF bases in connection with ground communications.

At the completion of his National Service and having seen an advert offering teacher training places, Ron decided against remaining in the signal corps and applied for a place on the training course.  He was successful and offered a place at St Paul’s College, Cheltenham, an outpost of Bristol University.  Following training he secured his first teaching post as Science Master at Higham Lane High School, Nuneaton.

In 1958 he applied for the post of Head of Science at the newly built Kingshurst High School, near Coleshill. Although surprised with his success Ron took up the offer and after just twelve months the school was split into single sex establishments. Ron continued his duties in the boys’ school.

During 1958 Ron joined the Territorial Army, 39 SM Signal Regt, based in Coventry. Commissioned a 2nd Lt in 1964, Ron had the Territorial Decoration conferred upon him during 1972 and retired in the rank of Captain in 1974.

In 1961 Ron got married and secured a Post as Head of Science at Shipston on Stour High School. He later moved his family to Chipping Campden.

It was about this time when Freemasonry was first mentioned to Ron when one evening in the officers mess his CO asked him if I knew anything about Freemasonry. On replying that he had heard of it but knew nothing about it he was advised to research it and if his interest was sparked to go back to his then CO.

No internet then so off to the Public Library and what he found did indeed interest him, he told his former CO who promised to set the ball rolling by finding out if there were any lodges meeting in Ron’s home area. There were, and sometime later Ron was interviewed by two lodge members who became his proposer and seconder.

He was Initiated, Passed and Raised going on to become Worshipful Master of the Lodge, all very happy years in Ron’s memory.

Unfortunately, Ron’s health became cause for concern, so much so that for several years he was unable to continue with his teaching and eventually forced to retire. The strain of health worries played a part in the breakup of Ron’s marriage but the support of his sons Austen and Alec during this period meant a great deal to Ron.  After several years Ron’s health improved allowing him to consider how he would be able to gain employment and so after many and various considerations he settled on a ROSPA Advanced Driving Course which lead to his starting a driving school which he ran for 10 years. During this time, he had met and married Muriel who by coincidence also had two sons. They celebrate twenty happy years together this year.

Having noticed how his tinnitus improved whilst on holiday in Auvergne they decided that living in France had many health benefits for Ron and so decided to up sticks and move home.

The move has had many benefits, not only did the tinnitus go but Ron’s annual cough which appeared from November to March every year also disappeared. His joint pains were also much reduced, so the health benefits were immense. They found a bungalow on the edge of a 12th century village of 1100 inhabitants and moved there in 2008. In their words the natives are wonderful.

Ron’s Freemasonry developed over many years, his Mark Masonry started in 1968 when Advanced into Eaton Lodge of MMM, going on to become Master. At the same time Ron held Membership of Stow on the Wold Lodge MMM in the neighbouring Province of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire for Twenty Years.

In 1999 Ron accepted the then PGM, the late R.W.Bro. Colin Woodward’s, offer to take on the duties of Provincial Grand Secretary.

Astounded but very pleased to accept he set about recording everything onto his computer. Recording all the relevant information into a database.

Ron’s work was recognised by Colin who awarded him the PGM’s certificate of Appreciation.

In 2003 Ron was appointed Deputy Provincial Grand Master of the PGL of MMM of Worcestershire.

Ron served the Province in that Office until 2007. Shortly thereafter becoming Secretary of the WIML going on to become Master in 2012.

In addition to his subscribing lodges Ron holds Honorary Membership of at least Six Mark Lodges within Worcestershire.

A Past Master of the Mark Provincial Grand Secretaries Lodge Ron is the current Secretary.

His first Mark Grand Rank was that of Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 2000, promoted to Past Grand Senior Deacon in 2004 and to Past Grand Junior Overseer in 2010.

Ron has enjoyed an equally distinctive career in the Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners.

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