Obituary – Brother John Robert Spence Keith, Deputy Provincial Grand Master
Reports of brethren passing to the Grand Lodge above are always tinged with sadness but some have a more profound effect than others which is the case with Brother John Keith. Brother Keith passed away after a long illness, bravely borne, on Sunday 23rd July 2017. He had been initiated into Lodge Cumberland Kilwinning No. 217 at the age of 24 on the 20th September 1973, passed on 4th October 1973 and raised on the 18th October 1973. Twenty years later, he served as Master of the Lodge from 1993 until 1995 and had the very great pleasure of also installing his two sons into the Chair, firstly Alistair from 2003 to 2005 and again from 2007 to 2007 and also Gregor, from 2005 until 2007.
Not long after completing his term of office as Master, Brother Keith took up progressive office with the Provincial Grand Lodge of Renfrewshire West but it was not long before his talents were recognised and he was commissioned by Past Provincial Grand Master, Brother Alexander Galbraith as Provincial Grand Secretary in 2003 and served in this office until 2008, when the then Provincial Grand Master Brother James W Miller commissioned him as Substitute Provincial Grand Master.
When it came my turn to serve as Provincial Grand Master, it was necessary to commission my own team and without hesitation, the first name on the team sheet was that of Brother John Keith and I was delighted that he agreed to act as Depute Provincial Grand Master during my commission.
I was also privileged to act as his proposer when he intimated to me that he wished to affiliate to Lodge Firth of Clyde, Gourock No. 626 which he did in September 2011.
Outwith the Province, Brother John Keith served as Master of Lodge Randolph No. 1434 in the Province of Renfrewshire East and also in many other Orders within freemasonry many of which he served actively and with distinction.
Outside of freemasonry, Brother Keith maintained a keen interest in the Boys’ Brigade and most will know that he was a regular at a certain football club which plays at Ibrox Stadium!
His appointment as the next Provincial Grand Master had not yet been confirmed by Grand Lodge, although this would have been done at the Regular Meeting of Grand Lodge in October. It was well known that Brother Keith was looking forward to serving the Province as Provincial Grand Master and I am sure that he would have approached his Commission with the same vigour and determination as he approached all of the offices held during his 43 years as a member of the Craft.
It is impossible to do proper justice in this short obituary to the service provided by Brother John Robert Spence Keith, Depute Provincial Grand Master and his passing will be felt by all who knew him.
Bro. James P. Livingstone PGM