Throughout his 94 years of life, R.W. Past Grand Master George H. Hohenshildt served his country, his fraternity, his vocation and his God. He entered into God’s Holy Realm on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 at Masonic Village, Elizabethtown.
Born October 23, 1928 in Harrisburg, he was the son of the late George L.T. and Adelaide F. (Lusk) Hohenshildt. His sister, Jane M. Shatto, also preceded him in death.
Upon witnessing the horror of the D-Day invasion on the big screen at a local Harrisburg theater, Brother Hohenshildt decided he had to do something about it. So, at age 17, he dropped out of high school and joined the Army. Over the next year and a half, he received medical training in San Antonio, Texas; played the trumpet in a commemorative band; and attended vo-tech school to complete his high school equivalency.
Upon being honorably discharged in 1949, he returned home to marry the love of his life, the former Lena A. Bill, graduated from the Smith Technical Institute and Wilson Engineering Corporation and took Penn State Engineering-in-Training courses. He went on to work for Clapp & Holmes, Consulting Structural Engineers in 1952 as a professional consulting engineer.
Having been involved in DeMolay as a young man, he naturally returned to the Masonic Temple, where Pilgrim Chapter and the local Harrisburg lodge met. He was raised in what is now Harrisburg-Snyder Lodge No. 629, in 1953. He served as Worshipful Master in 1964. From 1984 – 1987, he served as the District Deputy Grand Master of the Masonic District 3. “I never even dreamed of becoming Grand Master,” Brother Hohenshildt said when interviewed for an article in 2016. And yet, he went on to serve as the 102nd Grand Master of Pennsylvania Masons. Just before taking office, he had completed his charge as Chairman of the Friend to Friend Masonic Memorial Monument Committee in overseeing the design, creation and dedication of the statue at the National Military Cemetery Annex in Gettysburg. It was therefore fitting that one of the hallmarks of his administration was the “Friend to Friend” membership initiative to encourage Masons and worthy candidates to learn more about Freemasonry and inspire good men to seek membership.
Active in the York Rite, Scottish Rite, Shrine and other Masonic-affiliated bodies, Brother Hohenshildt served in many leadership positions, including: Thrice Illustrious Master of Harrisburg Council No. 9, Royal and Select Masters, in 1964; Eminent Commander of Pilgrim Commandery No. 11, Knights Templar, 1970 - 1971; Most Excellent High Priest of Perseverance Royal Arch Chapter No. 21, Harrisburg, in 1974; Most Wise Master of Harrisburg Chapter of Rose Croix, 1970 – 1971; Commander-in-Chief of the Valley of Harrisburg, 1982 – 1985; Director of Ritualistic Work for the Valley and as General Chairman of Arrangements for the Pennsylvania Council of Deliberation.
In acknowledgement of his service and leadership, in 1973, Brother Hohenshildt was Coroneted a 33° Mason and made an Honorary Member of Supreme Council for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. In 1987, he received the DeMolay Legion of Honor.
Between his professional and Masonic careers, the Hohenshildts traveled to 48 states (all except Hawaii and Alaska) and into Canada. In addition to his love of travel, Brother Hohenshildt was active in various capacities at Lakeside Lutheran Church.
His “dear, dear Lena” passed away in 2001 after 52 years of marriage, and a day never passed that he didn’t still speak of her with great love.
A lifelong resident of the Harrisburg area, in 2020, Brother Hohenshildt moved to the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown.
He is survived by two nieces: Barbara Harvey and Marian Shatto and many Lodge Brothers.
A Masonic Service will be held 9:00 am Tuesday, December 6, 2022 at Sell Chapel at Masonic Village, followed by a funeral service.
Burial will be beside his beloved wife in Rolling Green Cemetery, Camp Hill.
Contributions may be made to Masonic Charities, c/o The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania F&AM, 1 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107.
Kimmel Funeral Home, Harrisburg, is handling arrangements.