Roger Scott VanGorden, 90th and 98th Master of Broad Ripple Lodge, and 152nd Grand Master of Masons in the State of Indiana, was born in Shelbyville, Indiana on September 6, 1959. He is the son of Brother Walter Scott and Avonda “Bonnie” VanGorden. He grew up in the southern Shelby County area and was educated at Sothwestern High School of Shelby County and Indiana University at Bloomington. He was employed as Manager of the Indiana Masonic Supplies on the campus of the Indiana Masonic Home in Franklin until 2004, and has been employed at Cummins in Columbus, Indiana, since that time.
On April 20, 1985, Brother VanGorden married the former Elizabeth Anne “Lisa” Snyder of Fort Wayne. Brother VanGorden and Lisa are the proud parents of four beautiful daughters: Brittany Marie, Alexandra Lynn, Danielle Elizabeth, and Kathleen McMinds VanGorden. The VanGorden family are members of and actively worship at the Edinburgh United Methodist Church. Brother VanGorden has served on the Administrative Council of the Church and currently serves as a children’s church teacher and on the Family Committee. The family resides in Edinburgh.
Most Worshipful Brother VanGorden was initiated, passed and raised a Master Mason in Farmers Lodge No. 147 F. & A. M. at Norristown, Indiana, in 1981. He is a plural member of Broad Ripple Lodge No. 643, serving here as Master in 1992 and 2000, and a plural member of Lodge Vitruvian No. 767 at Indianapolis.
Brother VanGorden is active in the work of the York Rite of Freemasonry. He was exalted a Royal Arch Mason in Indianapolis Chapter No. 5, R. A. M. in 1982 and served as High Priest in 1989. He was greeted a Select Master in Indianapolis Council No. 2, Cryptic Masons in 1982 and served as Illustrious Master in 1992. He was created a Knight Templar in Raper Commandery No. 1 in 1982 and served as Eminent Commander in 1993. He is a member of the Raper Commandery Drill Corps.
Brother VanGorden is a charter member of Marvin L. Isley York Rite College No. 129 in Shelbyville. He served as Governor of the College in 1997-1998. In August 1999, the York Rite Sovereign College of North America in ceremonies at Houston, Texas, created him a Knight of the Order of the Purple Cross of York.
He is also active in the Allied Masonic Degrees (A. M. D.). He was the charter Sovereign Master of St. Bernard de Clairvaux Council No. 256 in 1990 and served as its Secretary from 1991 to 1999. He is a member of the Order of the Secret Monitor with the title of Past Supreme Ruler. He is a member of the Royal Ark Mariners with the title of Past Commander Noah. The Grand Council A. M. D. of the United States of America honored him in 1991 by being created a Knight of the Red Branch of Eri and Appendant Orders.
Brother VanGorden has served several appendant bodies such as: Indiana Council No. 15, Knight Masons, Excellent Chief, 1999; Masonic Home High Twelve Club No. 545, President, 2000; St. Andrew Tabernacle No. XXXV, Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests, Sixth Pillar; and St. James Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine, Prelate.
Additional Masonic memberships include: Royal Order of Scotland; Grand College of Rites; Supreme Magus Council, Masonic Societas Rosicruciana; Robert A. Woods Priory, Knights of the York Cross Of Honour; Indiana Council of Anointed High Priests; Indiana Council of Thrice Illustrious Masters; Indiana Past Commanders Association; Indiana Forest No. 189, Tall Cedars of Lebanon; Indianapolis – Ft. Harrison Chapter No. 66, National Sojourners; and the Lew Wallace – Tippecanoe Camp, Heroes of ’76.
Brother VanGorden also enjoys membership in some of the not so serious Masonic related bodies such as Ye Ancient Order of Corks; Masonic Order of the Bath; Masonic Order of the Garter; Goose ‘n’ Tater; Royal Order of Zanzibar; and Knights of the Quest.
Brother VanGorden is also a member of the Valley of Indianapolis, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite. He is a dual member of the Valley of Terre Haute. The Supreme Council, A. A. S. R, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction crowned Brother VanGorden with the 33rd on September 25, 2000, in ceremonies at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He joined the line of the Adoniram Lodge of Perfection and assuming all things go as expected, will serve as Thrice Potent Master in 2006-2007.
Brother VanGorden is a member of Murat Shrine, A. A. O. N. M. S. He is also a member of Johnson County Shrine Club. He is a member of Sahara Grotto, M. O. V. P. E. R.
Brother VanGorden is a member of Queen Esther Chapter No. 3, Order of the Eastern Star at Indianapolis. He was also the charter Worthy Patron of Ransford Chapter No. 605, O. E. S., located at the Indiana Masonic Home. He is a member of Alice Court No. 30, Order of Amaranth located at Columbus.
Brother VanGorden’s other Masonic hobby is research and study. He has served the Grand Lodge on the Board of Directors of the Masonic Library and Museum of Indiana, Inc. since 1994. He previously served as the Curator of the Museum from 1993 to 1997. He is a member of the Dwight L. Smith Lodge of Research at Franklin and serves as Treasurer. He is member of the following Masonic study groups: the Philalethes Society, Quantour Coronati Correspondence Circle, Southern California Research Lodge, and the Scottish Rite Research Society. He is Past President of the York Minster Chapter, Philalethes Society. Brother VanGorden was presented the Award of Merit from the International Philalethes Society in 1990.
Brother VanGorden is a Senior DeMolay of the David Conger Chapter at Norristown where he served as Master Councilor in 1977. He is also a Past Illustrious Knight Commander of the Sahara Priory, Order of Knighthood of DeMolay. He is a Chevalier of the Order of DeMolay and a recipient of the DeMolay Legion of Honor. Brother VanGorden is the fourteenth Senior DeMolay to serve as Grand Master.
Honorary memberships include: Belleville Lodge No. 65; New Castle Lodge No. 91; Spencer Lodge No. 95; Edinburg Lodge No. 100; Greenwood Lodge No. 514; EvergreenOriental Lodge No. 500; William G. Bray Commandery No. 65, K. T.; St. Bartholomew Council No. 295, A. M. D.; and Apperson Council No. 307, A. M. D.
In April 2000, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky commissioned Brother VanGorden a Kentucky Colonel.
Brother VanGorden, being an ardent fraternalist, is also a proud member of Brotherhood Lodge No. 3-5-7, Knights of Pythias located at Indianapolis.
Brother VanGorden served the Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons as a Royal Arch Deputy from 1993 to 1996. He served as Grand Master of The Third Veil in 1996-97. He is currently the Grand Representative of the Grand Chapter of Manitoba. In the Grand Commandery Knights Templar, he served as a Deputy Battalion Commander in 1994-95. Brother VanGorden was presented the Distinguished Service Award of the Grand Commandery in 1997 and 2002. In 2002 the Grand Encampment Knights Templar of the United States of America created Brother VanGorden a Knight Commander of the Temple.
In Grand Lodge, Brother VanGorden served on several committees. He served as Editor of The Indiana Freemason magazine from 1996 to 2000. He is currently the Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
Brother VanGorden served Most Worshipful Brother Michael D. Brumback as Grand Marshal in 1994-1995. He served Most Worshipful Brother William D. Blasingame as Assistant Grand Marshal in 1996-1997. Most Worshipful Brother Douglas O. Fegenbush appointed him Junior Grand Deacon in 1997-1998. He regularly advanced through the progressive line of officers whereupon, on May 22, 2002, he was invested with the purple of the Fraternity as the 152nd Grand Master of Masons in Indiana.
The preceding information appeared in the Summer 2002 issue of the Indiana Freemason.