William Scott McDermid PM 1898 - 1983

With the passing of William Scott McDermid this Lodge has lost a brother of whom it is no exaggeration to say that for the better part of half a century WAS Lodge Caledonian.

The association began with his initiation, whilst still in his uniform from the first World War, sixty four and a half years ago. The seeds of the dedicated zeal which was to characterise his every activity in the Lodge were sown early on in his career, and it was in December 1926 that we find him elected to the important administrative office of Lodge Secretary. One of his earliest acts as Secretary, using his professional skills as an accountant, was to persuade the Lodge Committee to repay the debentures by which the purchase of these premises we now occupy, had been financed and to obtain instead a Building Society loan. This change entailed a tremendous amount of hard work in fund raising activities, sales of work, whist drives, coffee mornings and etc., in which Willie and his wife, who had always been his staunchest collaborator and who survives him today, played their full part and indeed provided the necessary driving force. His sound judgement and their joint efforts were fully vindicated when the last repayment of the mortgage was made in 1943, fifteen years ahead of the original plan.

The brethren of the Lodge, conscious of the tremendous services which Willie had, even in those early days already rendered to his Lodge and seeking to recognise theses services, elected to pay him the highest honour which it is possible for a Lodge to bestow upon its number, and in December 1936 he was duly installed as Right Worshipful Master. It is a matter of historical record that he filled this office with the same aptitude he had shown in every other sphere.

At this stage, a lesser man might have been content to rest upon his laurels and sit back and enjoy a well earned leisure. Not so Willie. Immediately following his year as Immediate Past Master he was straight back in to the Secretary's chair where he was to remain for the next fifteen years. Years which included the very difficult years of the second World War, when once again he and his wife were to be fully engaged in fund raising. This time to provide comforts for brethren serving in the armed forces.

Nor does the story end here. In 1954, after he had been awarded Distinguished Service Membership of the Lodge to mark the completion of his twenty five years as Secretary, he then immediately agreed to fill the now vacant office of Treasurer which was to embark him on a career as custodian of the Lodge's finances. In this office he served until his retirement in 1972. Subsequent to this he rounded off this extraordinary career by serving four years as the Lodge Almoner.

In 1956, the Grand Master Mason first recognised Willie's outstanding services to freemasonry by appointing him to the rank of Honorary Grand Bible Bearer and this was further augmented in 1969 when he was promoted to Honorary Junior Grand Deacon. In this same year the Lodge Committee decided to use the occasion of his fiftieth anniversary to erect a permanent memorial to Willie McDermid, and one which he would be enabled to see and to live with in his closing years. They therefore had this plaque erected, which will, of course, remain there for all to see for as long as this building survives, and perhaps for long after that, as well.

No tribute to Willie McDermid would be complete without mention of one of his lesser known activities. He was always ready with his great knowledge of financial matters to offer help and advice to younger brethren and many a brother of this lodge has cause to be eternally grateful to Willie for this advice so freely given. I for one am happy to be included in this number.

Willie McDermid was a modest man and he would certainly not seek honour or reward. The highest tribute therefore that we can pay him, and the only one which he would ever really want, lies now in our hands. That is to ensure that the great work to which he dedicated the whole of his adult life, is continued in the same tradition, and to the same exacting standards which he laid down.

In this way we can ensure that the name of WILLIAM SCOTT McDERMID, Past Master, will remain the legend it has become in our lifetime.

(Tribute paid by Richard Platt, PM)

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