Meet the New Sovereign Grand Commander

October 18, 2023

Back at the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction Annual Meeting, Ill ∴ Walter F. Wheeler, 33° was installed as our new Sovereign Grand Commander. Though it’s been a few weeks, it’s still fitting to give him a proper introduction. Special thanks to the team at NMJ for writing his bio.

Commander Wheeler began his journey as a member of Grand Rapids Chapter, Order of DeMolay in 1970. He served as Master Councilor in 1973 and District Master Councilor of District #4 in 1974. He is a holder of the degree of Chevalier, as well as the DeMolay Legion of Honor. In 2012 he was inducted into the Michigan DeMolay Hall of Fame. He is an Active member of the DeMolay International Supreme Council. He is also a recipient of the Grand Cross of Honor from International Order of Rainbow for Girls and the Grand Triangle of Honor from Job’s Daughters International.

Commander Wheeler was raised a Master Mason in Grand River Lodge #34 (now Grand Rapids Lodge #34) in 1977 and served as Worshipful Master in 1985. He served the Grand Lodge of Michigan as Grand Master from 2006-2007 and Grand Treasurer from 2007-2010. He holds Honorary Membership in 25 Michigan Lodges. He is an Honorary Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey. Commander Wheeler served as the Executive Director/CEO for the Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation from 2009-2020.

He has been a Scottish Rite Mason since 1980 and is a member of the Valley of Michigan. He was coroneted a Sovereign Grand Inspector General, 33°, Honorary member of the Supreme Council in 1997 in Grand Rapids. He served as Sovereign Prince of Cyrus Council Princes of Jerusalem in 1994-95, Commander-In-Chief of DeWitt Clinton Consistory in 2001-2002 and in 2009, was Thrice Potent Master in Moriah Lodge of Perfection.

He twice served as President of the Board of Trustees of the Valley of Grand Rapids, and from 2011-2020, he served on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Learning Centers. He is a Past President of the Grand Rapids Scottish Rite Club, and a holder of the Valley’s Thespian Award for distinguished service in the degree work of the Valley.

Commander Wheeler was made an Active Member of the Supreme Council in Boston in 2009.

Commander Wheeler is a member of all York Rite bodies and is a holder of the Knight York Cross of Honor (KYCH). He is a Past Puissant Sovereign or St. Vincent’s Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine, and a Past Sovereign Master of Mt. Moriah Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees. He is also a member of the York Rite Sovereign College, Shriners International, Eastern Star, High Twelve International, the Rosicrucian’s, and the Grotto (M.O.V.P.E.R.)

During his professional career, Commander Wheeler was a partner in several businesses in Michigan, including 2 bowling centers, 2 restaurants/lounges, a real estate holding company, a trucking company, and a marketing company.

He met his wife, Vickie, at a DeMolay Installation in 1972. At the time Vickie was a member of Job’s Daughters Bethel #67 in Grandville, Michigan. They have been happily married since 1976 and have three sons: Andrew, Justin, and Tyler and 5 grandchildren.

Ill. Brother Wheeler is humbled and honored to lead the Scottish Rite during an exciting time of growth and transformation. His focus will be on the future of Scottish Rite Masonry.

“The future is full of possibilities and opportunities for growth and improvement. By being open to new ideas we can seize the chance to advance our fraternity. Concentrating on the future will allow us to set new goals and aspirations and will encourage innovative thinking and problem solving,” Wheeler said.

“I thank former Commander Samiec for helping set a successful leadership transition,” he added. “I wish him and wife Gail all the best in the next chapter of their lives.”

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