Vale; Bro Simon Pervis Stedman, MM, 7 Sept 1964 to 21 July 2018

From WBro Damien of Devotion

Vale Simon Stedman
Whether we live for 50 or 100 years, our time on this earth is short. All we can do is make the most of the transitory opportunity our lives allow to be happy, to communicate happiness to others, and to leave a benevolent mark on the world. Our friend and Junior Warden Simon achieved this in the 53 years.

 

Bro Simon attended our meeting on 12 July, serving in his office as Junior Warden. That night, his last in Lodge, he gave the Working Tools to our new member Bro Jaryd. After the Lodge closed, Simon offered apologies for the South and the next day checked himself into hospital but was later moved to a hospice. On the day following our emergency meeting of July 19, several members were to visit, but with Simon very ill and his son’s arrival from Germany, Simon requested we not visit that day. The day following WBros Allan and Todd, who first met Simon 20 years ago, visited him and were in attendance when our Brother Simon passed to the Grand Lodge Above, staying on to support Simon’s family and partner Susie.

 

Simon’s family and friends gathered to mourn his loss but celebrate his life and friendship at his funeral where there were many moving tributes, tears and laughs (and some very funny photos). Simon’s funeral incorporated a Masonic Service. Simon’s mother described that as one of the very special parts of the ceremony. Twenty Freemasons paid tribute to Simon at the funeral. Seventeen members of Devotion were there, plus WBro Shaun W, WM of Arcadian Veritas (Simon had attended their recent meeting) supported by WBro John B. The MWGM Brother Keith Murray also attended and supported us to paying tribute to departed merit. When we later made Simon’s family aware of our Grand Master’s attendance, they were greatly honoured and very touched that the most senior Freemason in the State was present; we were we all.

 

Simon Stedman Bowtie

Simon was an intelligent, thoughtful, and talented man with many interests, but making cloths, especially bow ties, was one. In honour of Simon, many wore one of his bow ties at his funeral. Simon’s brother Justin went one brave step further, wearing one of the colourful “onesies” Simon had made. One of Simon’s bow ties is shown to the right, with his standard label “by Simon Stedman, Hand made in Australia, Wear with joy”.

 

Simon became a Freemason in Parkdale Lodge No 554 UGLV; on 17 October 1986, Passed 20 February, and was Raised that same year on 21 August 1987. He left Parkdale Lodge in 2002, but later affiliated with Rutherglenn Lodge No 188 early in 2013 where he remained a member. Simon was also the foundation “Jeweler” of the Victorian Lodge using Scottish Workings; The Earl of Dunmore Lodge No 1686 UGLV, consecrated this year. I was surprised to see Simon had only officially joined Devotion in August 2017, but he had visited us prior and quickly became a loved member of Devotion. Indeed, back in about 2007 Simon had opened his home and provided beds and hospitality in Rutherglenn to Devotion members when we visited that town. Simon maintained a house in Rutherglenn, but moved to Melbourne and Devotion quickly became his Masonic home. On the night he joined Devotion, he was installed as our Junior Warden. He had served as JW at Parkdale in 1993-94.

 

In addition to the Russell Brothers who Simon had known for two decades, Simon also made some new, but meaningful, friendships at Devotion. Meeting in 2017, Bro Gautam and Simon, both living local to each other, quickly formed a strong friendship based on coffee, pies, bow ties and other interests, with Simon giving Gautam bow-tie-sewing lessons.

 

Brother Simon has been an important part of our life and Masonic Journey, but for many of our newest members, he was an encouraging and welcoming force which helped build our lodge and bond those new members to it, and to Freemasonry. It was no secret that Simon had cancer that would take him from us, but neither did he allow that to stop him living life nor did he succumb to self-pity or surrender. How strong he has been really only became known in his final days and at the funeral. He had also made many arrangements – including a round of drinks for family & friends at the The West Beach Bathers Pavilion in the week following his funeral.

 

We all earn the title of "Brother" on becoming Freemasons, but it is one which must be constantly earned through our actions and care for each other and those around us. Simon earned his title of "Brother"; as have our members who embraced him and offered friendship and support during the time Simon was with us as a visitor, and later member. We are richer for having known Simon. As Bro Tobin said at our last regular meeting, it is not how many members Freemasonry or a Lodge has, but how much Freemasonry is in those members. Bro Simon was truly a bright light in this regard.

 

In Simon's words;

“Thank you all. You are what makes me proud to be with Lodge Devotion." &

“Life is short, make it fun!”

(There were a lot more images of Simon with Brothers in the hard copy of Devotion News, Edition 132)