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Raymond Gregory Snaith | Durham Freemasons

Raymond Gregory Snaith

(Died 24/11/2022)

I am sure it was with great sadness that we all learned of the death of Ray Snaith on Thursday 24 th November. He had not enjoyed good health for a few years but the previous week was reported to be very unwell in the hospital and due to be discharged home on palliative care. His funeral takes place Today 5 th December 2022 at 10.30 am at All Saints Church, Yarm Road, Eaglescliffe.

Ray was in the teaching profession and ended his career as deputy headmaster of Billingham Campus School.  He was married to Pat and had an adult family. He enjoyed helping his children and especially playing the role of doting grandparent. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this sad time.

I first got to know Ray in the early 2000s when with another he visited lodges throughout the Province, selling wooden laths to prop open securely the lids of masonic cases, thereby avoiding hand injuries, should the lid suddenly fall shut, the proceeds being for the then Festival. He had a splendid line in patter which convinced the most obdurate refusenik to part with cash for his wares!

What shone through then were two qualities which he possessed in great measure, a tremendous enthusiasm for Masonry and a keen sense of humour, of fun. Those qualities never left him. His enthusiasm for Masonry was matched by a great knowledge of it and his ability to deliver ritual in an exemplary fashion. It was hardly surprising that these qualities brought him to the notice of the rulers in various orders, and honours came his way, thick and fast.

In the Mark Master Masons Degree, he was a member and Past Master of Steadfast Lodge No 846 in Darlington, becoming Provincial Grand Registrar in 1999, Provincial Grand Senior Warden in 2002, and a Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 2004/5. In 2008 he was appointed to Grand rank as Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies. He was a Founder and Past Master of Indaba Lodge of MMM No 1936.

In the Craft, he was a Past Master of Darlington Lodge No 6158 and was appointed Past Provincial Grand Registrar in 2000, Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 2005 (W Bro Denny Wilson was the Senior Warden), and promoted to Past Provincial Senior Warden in 2007 and had been appointed in Grand Lodge to Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 2005. He became a member of Indaba Lodge No 9454.

In the Royal Arch, he was a Past First Principal of Chapter of Vigilance No 111 and was appointed Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals in 2003 and Deputy Grand Superintendent in 2006, consequent to that office he was appointed Past Grand Sword Bearer in Supreme Grand Chapter. He remained Deputy Grand Superintendent till 2009. He had also joined Indaba Chapter No 9454 and was its First Principal in 2004.

Ray was also in Knights Templar in Tees Preceptory No 316 and was its Preceptor in 2011, he was appointed Provincial Almoner in 2012 and Provincial Sub-Prior in 2013. In 2014 he was appointed Past Great Standard Bearer (B) in Great Priory.

He was perfected into Mount Grace Rose Croix Preceptory No 849 (North Yorkshire), was a member of the higher degrees and subsequently joined Tees Chapter Rose Croix No 374.

I got to know Ray very well in the years 2006 to 2009, through the Royal Arch, as I was the Provincial Third Grand Principal with Derek Warneford being the Second Grand Principal and of course, the late Derek Richmond as Grand Superintendent. We were charged with raising the profile of the Royal Arch and thereby increasing its membership in the Province, as well as having oversight of its running. I found Ray to be innovative in his approach and ever-ready with ideas as to how we could achieve our objectives. Executive meetings were always friendly, and Ray would always give a fair hearing to all opinions even if he did not hold with them. Ray was the driving force behind the Chapter Roadshow, a successful recruiting tool. When Derek Richmond died in February 2008, Ray became the Deputy Grand Superintendent in Charge until the investiture of E Comp Eric Heaviside later in that year. Ray conducted the Provincial Annual Chapter meeting in 2008. At that meeting, I delivered this prayer for Derek which is so totally appropriate for Ray: –

“O True and Living God Most High, we bless thy holy name for all who have completed their earthly course in thy faith and fear and are now at rest. We remember before thee this day thy servant Raymond Gregory Snaith, rendering thanks to thee for the gift of his friendship and for his life of service and devotion. And we beseech thee, in thy loving wisdom and almighty power, work in him, as in us, all the good purpose of thy holy will.

So mote it be.”


Peter Athen Smith

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