top of page

Into a New Century: 1975 - Present


1975 Isidore Kratka

1976 Jerome Katz

1977 Lawrence J. Rossnick

1978 Raymond Shapson

1979 Michael H. Ackner

1980 David G. Rosenthal

1981 Raymond Puro

1982 Jeremiah J. DeNonno, Jr.

1983 Jeffrey S. Liss

1984 Robert L. Tenny

1985 Jerold C. Liss

1986 Michael B. Daniels

1987 Sheldon B. Richman, the Kosher Virginia Ham, developed a program to honor two popular Past Masters on their Milestone Anniversaries. After 8 Masons were raised in April, they were presented in May as the MW Arthur Markewich Golden Anniversary Class. Our "good judge" was honored by over 100 Masons in the American Room, where we conferred Honorary Membership on MW Robert C. Singer, Grand Master. The Dedicated Service Award was conferred on Bro. Barnard J. Daniels. By November, 3 Masons were raised and presented in November as the W Milton Pelikow Silver Anniversary Class. Good humor and good fellowship permeated the Table Lodge festivities.

1988 Sheldon B. Richman continued to serve as Master because neither Warden wanted to advance. The Lodge co-sponsored with Keystone Lodge of the Second Manhattan District a "Celebrity Roast" on the Silver Anniversary of RW Barry B. Balogh as Secretary of Keystone. Barry's brother, Arthur, a PM of Keystone, and W David Rosenthal were Co-Roastmasters. Every Roaster had to contribute at least $25 to a specific Masonic charity; the Shriners Hospitals received $1,300 from 52 roasters out of the 130 Masons assembled at the 200 Fifth Avenue Club. In the autumn, the Lodge celebrated the 40th anniversary of Arthur Markewich's appointment as District Deputy Grand Master; the address was delivered by the Deputy Grand Master, who had served as the judge's DDGM.

1989 Barry Balogh- Barry B. Balogh and Sheldon B. Richman conducted an unusual switch of offices, which took at least two meetings for even veteran Craftmen to adjust to seeing Balogh in the East and Richman in the Southeast. The Master, who, together with RW Raymond Shapson, helped form the Metropolitan Assistant Grand Lecturers Association, focused on ritual proficiency for the Officers. The Master obligated a three-Mason class, which included his son, Bro. J. Franklin Balogh, in all three Degrees. The Third Degree was conferred by a Line of Officers containing Past District Deputies, who had served as Assistant Grand Lecturers; the Drama was portrayed by the New York City Police Square Club Degree Team. After he left office, he was elected to another term as Secretary.

1990 David G. Rosenthal; Barry Balogh died; Sheldon B. Richman took over as interim secretary

1991 Daniel M. Semel

1992-1993 Jay B. Azneer

1993-1994 Sheldon B. Richman became Shakespeare's first Master to serve in the new Lodge year running from May to May -- to coincide with the Grand Lodge year. The Lodge held an Honor Night to mark the Silver Anniversary of W Michael H. Gold as Master. On the eve of congressional debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Lodge hosted a law professor, a trade lawyer, and a union lobbyist to outline the virtues and evils of free trade among Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. A delegation of 35 Masons, under the escort of W Charles K. Sanders, Master of Andrew Jackson Lodge No. 120, traveled from Virginia to pay a fraternal visit on Shakespeare. The Dedicated Service Award was conferred on W Harold S. Besser. The Grand Master, MW Gary A. Henningsen, accepted Honorary Membership in Shakespeare as he delivered the Commission as Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of Ireland near the Grand Lodge of New York to RW Daniel M. Semel, J.A. An unusual feature of the post was the Brother Semel was granted the rank of Past Senior Grand Warden in the Grand Lodge of Ireland.

1994-1995 Basilio Whyte

1995-1996 Daniel M. Semel

1996-1997 David G. Rosenthal

1997-1998 Sheldon B. Richman again focused on interesting honor nights during his fourth term as Master. The Dedicated Service Award was conferred on W Michael H. Gold. The Lodge conferred the DeWitt Clinton Award for community service to Robert Abrams, former Attorney General of New York, for his tireless service in protecting consumers from fraud and deceit. Continuing on the consumer protection theme, the Master invited a succession of experts to explain federal, state, and foreign regulation of different businesses and how such regulation affects consumers. The Master regretted that he was unable to get MBAs conferred on those Brothers who attended these meetings. When he left office in June 1998, the Master apologized for a projected 18-month absence from stated communications because of his progression from Senior Warden to Master of Andrew Jackson Lodge No. 120 in Alexandria.

1998-1999 Stanley A. Schimmel moved from his bench at the Organ to the Oriental Chair with no song or dance for the Lodge. He organized a delegation of Brothers and Ladies to travel to Alexandria to attend the Public Installation of RW Sheldon B. Richman as Master of Andrew Jackson Lodge No. 120. He appointed and oversaw the arrangements committees for the 125th Anniversary and Grand Representative Presentation ceremonies, which was chaired by W Michael H. Gold, DSA

1999-2000 Bernard A. Liss became the fourth Liss in 32 years to be installed as Master -- joining his brother, Carl ('67), and his nephews, Jeffrey ('83) and Jerrold ('85). Less than a fortnight after his installation, the Master presided over the 125th Anniversary of Shakespeare and the Public Presentation Ceremonies of RW Sheldon B. Richman as Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of Pernambucco (Brazil) near the Grand Lodge of New York. Honorary Membership was conferred on MW Stewart Wilson Miner, Grand Master of Virginia in 1974, who served simultaneously with MW Arthur Markewich. The Master prevailed upon his son, Bro. Jay C. Liss, to use his skills as a chiropractor to explain the holistic approach to maintenance of one's health. Finally, the Master revived the Spring Weekend in the Catskills by organizing an outing at the Nevele Hotel.

2000-2001 The theme for W William J. Thomas was "2001-A Masonic Odyssey," and what a trip it was. The Officers all received commissions as Kentucky Colonels, while three members of the Class of 1950 received their 50-year pins: W Walter Schraeter, W Milton Pelikow, and W Harold Besser. And Walter joined the other two by receiving the Dedicated Service Award. We had our first table lodge in many years to honor the Silver Anniversary of W Isidore Kratka who sat in the East in 1975. The Secret Service alerted everyone to the problem of Identity Theft. And the lodge has never heard the likes of music like the Philadelphia Jug Band, with the Worshipful Master on guitar and jug! Finally, our long-time Organist and Master of 1998, Stanley Schimmel, was appointed Grand Organist.

2001-2002 Robert S. Byer began his stewardship with an honor night to W Samuel P. Pritz on his 60th Anniversary as Master of our Lodge. Dark days followed almost immediately, with the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11. W William Thomas had worked in one of the buildings which fell, and reflected on the pain of the event along with others in the lodge. The Master organized a delegation to attend Andrew Jackson Lodge's Homecoming Ceremonies for RW Sheldon B. Richman, the recently installed District Deputy Grand Master of District 1A in Virginia. The Master led a delegation to Kane Lodge, which conducted the Presentation Ceremonies for RW Stanley A. Schimmel as Grand Organist. Our table lodge honored our dedicated and long-time Tiler, RW Enrique Castillo, who has patiently guided the development of a degree team. Shakespeare hosted the Sixth District's Grand Lecturer's Convention. The crowning event of the year, however, was the presentation of RW Daniel M. Semel, J.A., as Grand Representative of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge near the Grand Lodge of New York; the Grand Masters of both Grand Lodges addressed the Colonial Room overflowing with Masons, brotherhood, and good cheer.

2002-2003 Ihsan Toksu brought the theme of "Remember the Past, Enjoy the Present (with Masonic Evenings), Build the Future" to the Lodge. In his term, Shakespeare Lodge became the leader in the Sixth Manhattan District in terms of lodge growth by adding 24 new members in the lodge through affiliations and initiations for the first time in 30 years. Our by-laws were also amended. In 14 stated and special meetings, which mostly started at 6:30 p.m. and ended with a fellowship and bountiful dinner, Shakespeare Lodge hosted an average of 26 brothers per meeting and met 3.9 hours per meeting with teamwork, harmony and synergy. The Master, who conferred three degrees, represented the Shakespeare lodge in almost every district meeting. Some other important events of his term are the Grand Master's One-Day Class (10 Shakespeare brothers received three degrees on March 29, 03), our annual Table Lodge honoring our veterans, including a special tribute to RW Sheldon B. Richman, who had just been appointed Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of Oregon near the Grand Lodge of Virginia. Also, a special education meeting of Shakespeare, Allied Lodge No. 1170, and Boyer Lodge No. 1 (MW Prince Hall GL of NY) was held.

2003-2004 William J. Thomas sat in the East for a second term and developed a very active program. We went to baseball games and theater, ate BBQ at the home of Walter and Maria Schraeter, visited the Masonic Home in Utica, exchanged many Lodge visits, and particpated as a sponsor of the Masonic Charity Tennis Tournament to benefit the Grand Lodge of Virgina Scholarship Fund. Who can forget the return of the Philadelphia Jug Band in December, with the Worshipful Master on jug and guitar? The Lodge ran several sets of degrees and brought many men into the Craft. We were particularly honored by the appointment of Walter Schraeter as Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of Iceland! Our education exchanges with Allied Lodge and Boyer Lodge No. 1 (MW Prince Hall GL of NY) continued, as we raised several Shakespeare Brothers in Allied Lodge for the benefit of Boyer Lodge -- with the Grand Junior Deacon of Virginia in attendance. The cherry on the whipped cream was the appointment of Bill Thomas as Shakespeare's first District Deputy since Dan Semel was appointed in 1976.

2004-2005 Sheldon B. Richman was coaxed out of Masonic retirement to assume Shakespeare's Oriental Chair for the fifth time. With his line of Officers, he remarked that it was the first time he was the only Past Master in his Line. His first meeting was the Public Presentation Ceremonies for RW Walter Schraeter, DSA, the new Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of Iceland near the Grand Lodge of New York. In the fall, our Lodge held the Public Presentation Ceremonies tendered for RW William J. Thomas, District Deputy Grand Master of the Sicth Manhattan District; besides dozens of Masonic dignataries in the Colonial Room, Shakespeare Lodge hosted the Deputy Grand Master, RW Neal I. Bidnick, and the Grand Master, MW Edward R. Trosin. A special treat was presentation of the DDGM Apron worn by RW Abraham J. Berk in 1964-65; Abe, from his retreat in Boca Raton, Fla., instructed Bill to continue productive Labors with a reinvigorated Apron. With the active assistance of his Officers, the Lodge raised two classes of eight Masons. The second class -- the Bro. Robert Anthony Plumb Proficient Class -- was named to honor the Lodge's Junior Warden who obligated five Brothers in all three Degrees. Finally, Brother Schraeter attended the Grand Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Iceland, and he established informal fraternal relations for our Lodge and Grand Lodge.

2005-2006 Christopher Winnicki

2006-2007 Robert B. Anthony

2007-2008 Julio A. Duran

2008-2009 Patrick Kelsey

2009-2010 Gilbert C. Ferrer

2010-2011 Michael B. Daniels

2011-2012 Henry Colon

2012-2013 Daniel Valles


2013-2014 Michael A. Chaplin, M.D. (the younger of Shakespeare Lodge's two Doctors Chaplin) gave a sense of the different "flavors" of Masonry throughout his year in the East. "Charitable Masons" were challenged to raise money for the Autism Science Foundation, "Knife and Fork Masons" enjoyed the different neighborhood venues for collations, and "Esoteric Masons" enjoyed a series of events exploring Masonic ritual and symbolism. The Lodge was proud to host the annual Fellowship Night (a.k.a. Unity Night) with Allied and Boyer Lodges, as well as the 6th Manhattan District's School of Instruction. A number of brothers were recognized during the year: RW Bill Thomas received a wonderful pocketwatch to mark his achievment of becoming Deputy Grand Master, W Michael A. Chaplin, D.C. (the older of Shakespeare Lodge's two Doctors Chaplin) received his 30-Year pin, RW Harold Besser, DSA received his 60-Year pin, and W Robert Anthony received Grand Lodge's Dedicated Service Award, while Bro Christian Castellano was Shakespeare Lodge's Mason of the Year. The year was capped off with the Shakespearean Sesquitercentennial Celebration, a Festive Board to celebrate William Shakespeare's 450th Birthday, and the Lodge's 140th Anniversary, during which the Worshipful Master threatened - and made good on his threat - to sing the Lodge's anthem!

bottom of page