Evansville DeMolay

Evansville Indiana

Famous DeMolays


Hall of Fame

 John "Duke" Wayne, Actor

Marion Robert Morrison was born in Winterset, Iowa. Years later, Morrison, renamed John Wayne, he would become a legendary American icon.

After graduating from high school, Wayne wanted to attend the Naval Academy. Instead he accepted a full scholarship to play football at the University of Southern California. His football coach was often able to get his players summer work in the movie industry. Wayne worked in the summer of 1926 as an assistant prop man on the set of a movie directed by John Ford. Ford became one of the biggest influences in Wayne’s life; Wayne and Ford were best friends until Ford’s death in 1973.

From props, Wayne worked his way to the big screen. He played in grade-B westerns until Ford convinced United Artists to give him the role of Ringo Kid in the film “Stagecoach.” The role put Wayne on the map. He began to get steady work, including “The Long Voyage Home,” “Reap the Wild Wind,” and “A Lady Takes a Chance.”

With the beginning of World War II, Wayne tried to enlist but was denied due to a football injury, his age (34), and his status as a married father of four. He flew to Washington to plead for admittance into the Navy, but was turned down. Determined to do what he could for the war effort, he began making inspirational war films including “The Fighting Seabees,” “Back to Bataan,” and “They Were Expendable.” Wayne couldn’t stay away from the front lines. Fittingly, it was a wartime film, “Sand of Iwo Jima,” that turned Wayne into a superstar. Wayne went to Vietnam in the early days of the war, refusing special treatment, and insisting on visiting troops in the field. Upon his return from Vietnam, he vowed to make a film about the heroism of Special Forces soldiers. The result was “The Green Berets” and the public flooded the theaters.

The turning point in Wayne’s career was the film “True Grit,” for which he took home an Oscar for Best Actor in 1969. Wayne had an impressive number of film credits during his career including “How the West Was Won,” “Fort Apache,” “Flying Leathernecks,” “The Alamo,” and “The Shootist.”

When Wayne found out he had cancer, he had two major operations to try to control it. After he was told that there was no hope, he asked that they use his body for experimental medical research to search for a cure. He refused painkillers so he could be alert as he spent his last days with his seven children. Wayne died of cancer on June 11, 1979. Wayne, when asked how he wanted to be remembered, said “Feo, Fuerte y Formal.” It’s a Spanish proverb which means “He was ugly, strong, and had dignity.” In March 1980, Wayne’s family was presented with a Congressional Medal in honor of Wayne. It read: “John Wayne, American.”

Wayne was initiated into Glendale Chapter in Glendale, California, in 1924. He received the Legion of Honor in 1970. Wayne was a member of the first class to be inducted into the DeMolay Hall of Fame on November 13, 1986.

“I was overwhelmed by the feeling of friendship, comradeship, and brotherhood … DeMolay will always hold a deep spot in my heart.”


 Henry "Scoop" Jackson, Politician

Historians claim he was “the best president we never had.” Before Henry “Scoop” Jackson served as congressman, and later, senator, he was just “Scoop.” Jackson acquired the nickname during his boyhood, when he delivered newspapers in Everett, Washington.

Educated in the local public schools, Jackson graduated in 1930, and went on to attend the University of Washington in Seattle. After two years, he transferred and graduated from Stanford University. In 1935, he received his law degree from the University of Washington Law School.

Jackson’s first professional job was with the law firm Black and Rucker in Everett, Washington. In 1938, he was elected prosecuting attorney of Snowhomish County. In the summer of 1940, he was elected to the Second Congressional District of Washington. Duty called, and Jackson served in the U.S. Army from 1943-1944. He was re-elected to the House of Representatives in November 1944, where he served until he was elected to the Senate in 1952. He was re-elected as Senator in 1958, 1964, 1970, and 1976. He sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972 and 1976, being defeated at both attempts. During his prestigious political career, he was best known for his tough stand on defense issues and for his hard-fought conservation legislation. He was chosen by fellow senators in the 1970s as “the most effective senator.” Jackson married Helen in 1961, and the couple had two children. He passed away in 1983, after suffering a heart attack.

Jackson was initiated into Cascade Chapter in Everett, Washington, in 1928. He was a Chevalier and held the Legion of Honor. Jackson was inducted into the DeMolay Hall of Fame on April 14, 1989.

“The more things change, the more they are the same. Regardless of the great changes in our society, there is something immutable about DeMolay. The molding of the character and the integrity of young men, that’s the greatest accomplishment of DeMolay. By serving the Order of DeMolay, we can bring the light of ideals into the lives of young men.”


Walt Disney, Cartoonist Extraordinaire

Walt Disney – an icon for generations, a man with a vision, a self-made success who built an empire with his drawings – was first a DeMolay.

Disney was born in Chicago and raised in Marceline, Missouri. He spent most of his boyhood on a farm, often sketching illustrations of the animals. Later, the family moved to Kansas City, where Disney took a number of odd jobs to help support the family, including keeping a paper route for six years. At age 15, he dropped out of school.

By the fall of 1917, World War I was in full-force. Disney wanted to join the war effort, but he was only 16 and he was turned away. Determined to help, Disney traveled to France and became an ambulance driver for the Red Cross. Ever the vigilant artist, Disney’s ambulance was not decorated with camouflage, but with his original drawings.

Disney returned to Kansas City in 1918, and became an artist. After working with a local advertising agency, Disney organized his own company. Once he decided to make cartooning his profession, Disney traveled to Chicago to attend the Chicago Academy of Art in the evening while working days. After several years, Disney moved to Hollywood.

In Hollywood, Disney formed a small company with his brother, Roy. He did a series of film cartoons that he called “Alice in Cartoonland.” There he met Lillian Bounds, who later became Mrs. Disney. During the next ten years, Disney experienced more hard times than successes. Although some of Disney’s creations were successful, his cartoons could not be called distinguished. It was not until sound broke in Hollywood that Disney came into his own, for in action, sound, and later color, Disney had the necessary tools to make his cartoons as he imagined them.

Mickey Mouse was Disney’s first, and today, most widely known cartoon character. One success followed another, and before Disney’s death in 1966, his small company had expanded to an empire with color, movies, television, and two theme parks. He produced full-length animated classics such as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Pinocchio,” “Fantasia,” “Dumbo,” and “Bambi.” Disney, along with his staff, received forty-eight Academy Awards and seven Emmy’s. He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Disney’s dream didn’t end with his death. Even today, Disney is one of the most recognized names worldwide, and his empire continues to expand in the 21 st century. And it all began with a man and a dream…

Disney was initiated into Mother Chapter in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1920. He received the Legion of Honor in 1931. Disney was a member of the first class to be inducted into the DeMolay Hall of Fame on November 13, 1986.

“I feel a great sense of obligation and gratitude toward the Order of DeMolay for the important part it played in my life. Its precepts have been invaluable in making decisions, facing dilemmas and crises. DeMolay stands for all that is good for the family and for our country. I feel privileged to have enjoyed membership in DeMolay.”


Bill Clinton, Politician
Born August 19, 1946

Who knew that an Arkansas DeMolay would go on to lead the country as 42nd President of the United States?

Bill Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe IV on August 19, 1946, in Hope, Arkansas, three months after his father died in a traffic accident. When he was four years old, his mother wed Roger Clinton, of Hot Springs, Arkansas. In high school, he took his step-father’s name.

Clinton excelled in academics and was a talented saxophone player. At one time, he considered becoming a professional musician. In high school, while serving as a delegate to Boys Nation, he met President John Kennedy, which lead to his desire to become a public servant.

After graduating from Georgetown University, Clinton won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University. In 1973, he received a law degree from Yale University, and entered politics in Arkansas. In 1975, he married Hillary Rodham, and in 1980, their only child, Chelsea, was born.

In 1976, Clinton was elected Arkansas Attorney General, and became governor in 1978. He lost a bid for a second term, but regained the office four years later, serving until he defeated incumbent George Bush, Sr., and third party candidate Ross Perot in the 1992 presidential race. President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore represented the first time in twelve years that both the White House and Congress were held by the same party. In 1996, Clinton was re-elected president. During the Clinton administration, the U.S. enjoyed more peace and economic well-being than at any time in history. He boasted the lowest unemployment rate in modern times, the lowest inflation in 30 years, the highest home ownership in the country’s history, dropping crime rates in many places, and reduced welfare roles.

Clinton was initiated into Hot Springs Chapter in Hot Springs, Arkansas, in 1961, where he served as Master Councilor. He received the Chevalier in 1964, and the Legion of Honor in 1979. Clinton was inducted into the DeMolay Hall of Fame on May 1, 1988.

“For sixty-nine years, the Order of DeMolay has prepared young men to become better citizens and leaders for our country. My DeMolay experience gave me the confidence to develop my skills as a speaker, team member, and leader, and then to realize and accomplish my dreams. I will always be thankful for the guidance given to me by my friends in DeMolay. ”


Vance Brand, Astronaut
Born May 9, 1931

NASA put out a want ad for astronauts in an aviation magazine called Aviation Week. As an aerospace engineer and a former military fighter pilot, test pilot, and flight test engineer, Vance Brand felt qualified and applied. The rest is history.

Brand received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from the University of Colorado in 1953, a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Colorado in 1960, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1964.

Brand was one of the nineteen pilot astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966. During his tenure as an astronaut, Brand was a support crewman for the Apollo 8 and Apollo 13 missions. He was the backup command module pilot for Apollo 15, and backup commander for Skylab 3 and 4. On the Apollo-Soyuz Mission, he acted as command module pilot. The mission was the first historic meeting in space between American Astronauts and Soviet Cosmonauts. Brand commanded the STS-5 Mission aboard Columbia, the first fully-operational flight of the Space Shuttle Transportation System. Brand also commanded the STS-41-B Mission on the Space Shuttle Challenger’s tenth Space Shuttle flight, where they attempted to deploy two communications satellites. Brand was back aboard Columbia for his third shuttle command. During the nine-day flight, the first dedicated to astronomy, the seven-man crew worked around the clock observing stars and celestial objects.

After twenty-five years as an astronaut, Brand made the move into management at NASA as the Director of Aerospace Projects, conducting tests and research for NASA.

Brand has been the recipient of many special honors, including the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the Wright Brothers International Manned Space Flight Award, the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Space Award, the University of Colorado Alumnus of the Century (one of twelve), and two NASA Space Flight Medals. He was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame on October 4, 1997.Brand and his wife, Bev, have six children: Susan, Stephanie, Patrick, Kevin, Erik, and Dane.

Brand was initiated into Longmont Chapter in Longmont, Colorado, in 1945. He was an active DeMolay for three years. While in high school, he served as Master Councilor of Longmont Chapter. Brand was inducted into the DeMolay Hall of Fame on April 14, 1989.

“DeMolay’s positive values and high standards improved my moral and patriotic awareness and that has served me as a fountain for later life. I will always remember the friendship and good times, too.”


Harmon Killebrew, Professional Baseball Player, Businessman
Born June 19, 1936

And they called him “Killer”…

Harmon Killebrew began life like many others. He grew up in Payette, Idaho, and attended public schools. He even loved baseball. What set him apart is that he excelled at baseball, becoming known in the Major Leagues as Harmon “Killer” Killebrew. Even today, he is regarded as one of the most productive power hitters in major league baseball history. He hit 573 home runs during his professional baseball career.

Killebrew began his major league career with the Washington Senators from 1954-1960. In 1961, he joined the Minnesota Twins. He stayed until 1974. He played for the Kansas City Royals in 1975, and then left baseball as a professional player. During his baseball career, he was selected thirteen times to American League All-Star Teams, was the American League Home Run Champion for six years, was the American League’s “Most Valuable Player” in 1969, and was the captain of the American League All-Star Team in 1985. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984.

In 1976, Killebrew started an insurance business with a former U.S. Congressman. Until 1984, Harmon worked at Killebrew & Harding, Inc. selling business insurance and estate planning. EF Hutton Financial joined forces with Killebrew & Harding, offering financial and estate planning, making Killebrew the Vice President of Operations. A third partner was added in 1984, and they became Killebrew, Harding, & Harper. Killebrew left the insurance business in 1987 to devote time to his automobile dealership, Harmon Killebrew Motors, which he started in 1984, in Ontario, Oregon. He sold the dealership in 1990, moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, with his wife, Nita, to establish Professional Endorsement, through which he arranges appearances and endorsements.

In 1998, Killebrew and Nita established the Harmon Killebrew Ltd. The foundation allows Killebrew to donate funds to worthy causes, such as the Hospice Care Foundation and cancer research.

Killebrew was initiated into Templar Chapter in Payette, Idaho, in 1954. He received the Legion of Honor in 1985. Killebrew was a member of the first class to be inducted into the DeMolay Hall of Fame on November 13, 1986.

“I believe the principles taught by DeMolay are invaluable to young people and are something that can be carried out and used throughout a person’s entire life. DeMolay can help mold a person’s character and leadership skills through their activities.”

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