Vale, Brother John "Corky" Wheeler Daut, PM

31 March 1928 – 11 July 2016

From WBro Damien, Devotion News Editor.

Brother John “Corky” Daut was 64 years old in December of 1992 when he was raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason, Worshipful Master at 77 and with dedication, diligence and enthusiasm in his own words, worked “hard to squeeze in what I missed during those years before 1992”.

Corky passed away recently at the age of 88, but I must say, he did squeeze a lot into his 24 years as a Master Mason and became well known to many people as the Editor of the STTM. Like someone else slightly younger and dear to us, Corky showed us that at 88 one can make a wide and meaningful contribution to those around us; he was not just the Secretary of Waller Masonic Lodge #808, but a globally known Masonic E-publisher and spread much light to his readers. He was friend and educator to many.

STTM stands for “Small Town Texas Mason” which was a monthly free Masonic e-magazine with just under 500 subscribers. Searching the term “STTM” on Google even gives its correct meaning on The STTM’s web site (link removed as it has been taken over by a third party) had over 53,000 visitors but the STTM was going for years before was established. (in 2021 we removed links to this URL as it has been purchased by another non-Freemason user). Texas’s Grand Master MWB Orville O’Neil presented him a “Masonry at Work” award in 2010. Corky also produced a quality Lodge Newsletter, Waller News.Over the years, readers of Devotion News will have seen articles from various editions Corky’s E-Magazines. Readers of the STTM will have likewise read “From Devotion News” sourced from this publication by Corky.

I’d never met Corky but we maintained an email friendship, using material from our respective publications at will by mutual agreement. I’d put him in touch with Don Paterson of Devotion, Carlos Zapata, editor of the newsletter of Lodge Evolution, and others. Other Melbourne readers like Brendan Kyne contacted me when Corky failed to produce his April edition this year – many are going to miss the STTM. Through our network and thanks to Chris Williams of Davey Crocket Lodge #1225 in Texas, we discovered Corky has been in for a knee operation. It was his second as he had another about nine years ago before his wife had passed away. In April he wrote to me apologising that he had not got the STTM out; “Things have been screwed up for a few weeks. I am OK....I was still lucky though with a good son living about a city block from me and a good daughter within driving distance.” I wonder if they knew that’s what he said about them.

The STTM spread some great Masonic writing and thought. I first discovered “John Deacon” there and in all editions (that I remember) Corky wrote reminiscences called “Surviving the Big Ones” which always started the same way “The big ones for me were that 16 year period between the Great Depression and World War II. Being born in 1928, I grew up during the hard times between the stock market crash of 1929 and the end of World War II in 1945.”

In his earlier years he was Superintendent of the Department of Solid Waste for Houston, Texas. Later he was to open his own business, Daut’s Repair Service, repairing small engines and sharpening saws. After moving to Pine Island in about 1999 he operated Pine Island Pen Works specializing in the manufacture and sale of wooden writing pens.

Corky as WM in 2005

Holding pens he made

Corky with his wife Nellie.

I can’t write about Corky without mentioning he was a proud Texan. Just as you will find scattered in his publications and web sites, I must include a Texan Flag with these words I write about him (on the web it is almost always a gif file with the flag waving proudly in the wind). Every edition of the STTM I can think of he would run articles about Texan History and People with a Masonic spin, indeed if there is one thing Corky tried (successfully) to project was the important place Freemasonry has in that state’s development. We both shared patriotism (albeit for different Nations). He was impressed with my years of research on Famous Australian Freemasons, but he never published it – because there’s no Texan’s on the list! He did like educational pieces and was a fan of Don’s Diary. They would have probably got on well.

Corky’s Official Obituary simply does do him justice. I hope I did some here. It does importantly note however “Mr. Daut is survived by his sons, John N. Daut and wife, Rebecca and David B. Daut and wife, Gail; daughters, Valerie L. Daut and Becky A. Brown and spouse, Richard; sister, Neila Martin; numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his wife, Nellie V. Daut

Internet Freemasons may know of Fred Milliken. He wrote an Obit on about Corky. I will close out with his words;

The Small Town Texas Masons E-Magazine

But he is best known for “The Small Town Texas Masons E-Magazine” that he published every month. It was a prodigious undertaking that included Masonic articles from all over the world. From Masonic News to esoteric studies to writings from the Old Masters and everything in between, the magazine covered the thought and the going-ons of Freemasonry. He wrote the last edition just weeks before his death. He also published a newsletter-magazine for his own Lodge, Waller Lodge of Pine Island Texas where he touted, “We Are The Largest, ‘Small Town Texas Lodge’ Web Site, On The Internet, Over 100 Pages of Masonic Information and Education.”

He was raised to a Master Mason in the Cedar Bayou Lodge #321 at the age of 64. Later he joined Humble Lodge #79 but demitted from both when he moved to Pine Island Texas. There he joined Waller Lodge #808 and became its Master in 2005. Along the way he affiliated with Hempsted Lodge #749 and became its Secretary.

Brother Daut’s enthusiasm for the Craft and his outreach to Masons all over the world from a small Texas community makes his accomplishments all the more laudable. He showed the world what can be done when your heart is in the right place and you possess and display the peace and harmony that Masonry teaches you.

“Well done, thou good and faithful servant! Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!”

Please show your acknowledgment for the work and life of Corky by signing his Condolence Book at the below link