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Brother Dean A. McConnell, 32° KCCH
1st Lieutenant Commander, Colorado Council of Kadosh

Portrait of Dean McConnellPhotograph of stage spotlight It was a real pleasure to spend a few hours last week with Brother Dean, who I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with for several years. Dean is very active in several degrees. He serves as the Venerable Master of the 4th Degree in the Fall Reunion, the 26th Degree and again in the 29th Degree. He offers the several toasts in the 29th degree in his deep, authoritative voice and truly brings the ceremony to life. Brother Dean also serves in the Officer Line of the Colorado Grand Lodge as Junior Grand Deacon. He previously served as the Marshall and then Senior Steward in the Grand Line.

Dean is a member of Marquis de Lafayette Lodge #41 and is a Past Master of Albert Pike Lodge #117 in 2015. Albert Pike Lodge #117 merged with Pythagoras #41 to become Marquis de Lafayette #41 in 2019. He continues to serve as Treasurer of his Blue Lodge. Brother Dean was raised a Master Mason in 2009 and joined the Denver Consistory during the Fall Reunion of 2012. He was the Class Vice-President of his Reunion class. Noble Dean is also a member of El Jebel Shrine and plays the bagpipes with the Shrine Pipe Band. He is a Past Chieftain of the Pipe Band. He has served as District Lecturer for District #54 since 2016. Dean served as the Venerable Master of the Knights of St. Andrew, Denver Chapter in 2018 and continues to be active in the Chapter. Watch for him as the Sword Bearer at the Robert Burns Dinner in January.

Brother Dean is a Colorado native, born and raised in Denver. He grew up in the area around 78th Avenue and Federal Boulevard and when he was a young man, Colorado Boulevard and 120th Avenue were both "dirt roads out in the country." He graduated from Ranum High School in 1982 and went on to the University of Denver, where he graduated with his bachelor's degree in 1986 and later his JD from the DU Law School in 1989. Dean and his older siblings were raised by his single mother. His mom was in the real estate business and was a pioneer woman in a man's industry. Dean's love and respect for her shows when he speaks of her raising the family as a single parent. His older brother passed several years ago and his sister still lives in the Westminster area.

When he was about seven years old, Dean decided that he wanted to be an attorney. He truly enjoyed arguing with people, especially his best friend. It didn't matter what they argued about, or which side they took, it was the sport of the debate that attracted him to the law. He has been a life-long learner, always studying new ideas, new thoughts and new subjects. This curiosity about the world around him is one of the reasons he has been so active in Masonry -- the opportunity to continually learn. When he first became a Mason, he was somewhat disappointed in the traditional Blue Lodge meetings consisting of minutes, reports and menu planning with not much emphasis on Masonic education or discussion of Masonry, a sentiment shared by several brethren in his home lodge. This led to the lodge exploring more education in every lodge meeting and incorporating elements of traditional observance lodges. Dean credits this change with the revival of his lodge.

Dean is a practicing attorney and has focused his practice in the area of health care. He has served as the attorney for COPIC – the Colorado Physicians' Insurance Company – since 2013. Prior to that, he was a shareholder in a Denver law firm, working with his best friend since law school, Brother Dan McCune, also a Past Master of Albert Pike #117, a Noble of El Jebel Shrine and Dean's first-line signer. Dean has set up medical practices, done anti-trust law, compliance law, employment practices law and other general health law issues.

Dean's wife, whom he met while in law school at DU, is also an attorney, although she has not practiced for several years. Her career has taken a different direction. "#1 New York Times, #1 USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author Helen Hardt's passion for the written word began with the books her mother read to her at bedtime. She wrote her first story at age six and hasn't stopped since. In addition to being an award-winning author of romantic fiction, she's a mother, an attorney, a black belt in Taekwondo, a grammar geek, an appreciator of fine red wine, and a lover of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. She writes from their home in Colorado."

Dean and Helen have two sons who are "exactly alike but opposites". That is, they both have become quite accomplished in their chosen fields. Grant, who now lives in Minneapolis, played college football in Kansas until an injury ended his football aspirations. He then earned a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree at Colorado State University and now works in the IT field. Son Eric is a renowned opera singer, pianist and actor. He has performed all over the United States and in several foreign countries and will be performing this summer with the Central City Opera Association. Both sons are obviously high achievers, as are Dean and Helen. Dean and Helen travel around the country often to take in son Eric's performances.

As you watch and listen to Brother Dean in the degree work, you see what an outstanding ritualist he is. In 2019, Dean received the Grand Master's Award as described below:

Grand Master's Award
This award is given by the Grand Master to any Brother who has demonstrated proficiency on the Lectures of all three degrees within a twelve (12) month period. This Certificate expires after three (3) years at which time another examination is required for renewal. It may not be renewed prior to expiration. A gold or lifetime card is issued the third time a Brother qualifies for the Certificate. The applicant must be examined by their District Lecturer or by a member of the Custodi-ans of the Work Committee. The lecture may be given in open Lodge as part of a degree or at a separate session with the examiner. The applicant must correctly demonstrate any neces-sary floor work requirements. He must do this for: Second Section Lecture of the first degree; Third Section Lecture of the first degree; Second Section Lecture of the second degree (Stair); Second Section Historical Lecture following the stair lecture (Master); Third Section Lecture of the second degree (G); Second Section Lecture of the third degree ; and Third Section Lecture of the third degree.

What an honor! Quite an accomplishment that I'm sure we all aspire to, but few achieve. Bravo Zulu, Brother Dean!

As mentioned earlier, Dean joined Albert Pike #117 in 2009. He has several cousins in Kan-sas who are members of the fraternity, including one cousin that is a Past Grand Master of Kansas. Dean is a Companion and Sir Knight of the York Rite, but is not active in any of the officer lines.

Dean's comments about becoming a Master Mason were very interesting and thought provoking. He described the Entered Apprentice degree as "stripping off self-absorption and selfishness" of the man. The Fellowcraft degree he described as a "focus on education which removes ignorance". And in the Master Mason degree, the man is "reborn." The degree is "transformative". Think about what he says. You'll agree, I'm sure.

When I asked Brother Dean to name a few of the most influential men in his Masonic travels, he mentioned the following Brothers:
  • Ill. Brother Darren Klinefelter, 33° - the Venerable Master of the KSA when Dean joined KSA. Every meeting of the KSA had an educational lesson.
  • Brother Aaron Klostermeyer, 32° KCCH – Past Wise Master of the Chapter of Rose Croix. Again, a man that shared knowledge and wisdom with his Brothers while serving in the east.
  • Brother Jay Allen, 32° - the "energy" behind the transformation of Albert Pike #117 into a vibrant, dynamic Blue Lodge.
  • Brother Joe Jaudon – Dean did not know Brother Joe was a Mason until he (Dean) was raised. However, Dean did know that Brother Joe truly lived his life as a Mason. Joe's ethics and behavior as an attorney were the morality of Masonry brought to life and lived every day.
  • Brother Jim Oliver, 32° – the long-time Treasurer of Albert Pike #117 and the El Jebel Shrine Chaplain is the "epitome of a Mason". Always generous and gracious and leading by example. He helped Dean grow as a person.
  • Brother Dave Williams, 32° – has an unlimited passion for Masonry and for improving Masonry.
  • Brother Tim Lambert, 32° KCCH – a Pipe Band Brother that has influenced and taught Dean a great deal over the years.

Advice that Brother Dean would offer to a Brother includes:
  • Never stop learning – there is always more to know, but you must give the effort in order to receive the knowledge.
  • We are all striving to become the perfect ashlar. Never quit. Always be of assistance to your Brother.

Family is extremely important to Dean and it's easy to see the pride he takes when talking about Helen and their sons. Dean is a big Broncos fan and has very senior season tickets. They also enjoy the theater and have season tickets to the DCPA. They travel quite a bit to watch son Eric perform. Their skiing activities have pretty much been supplanted by Dean's Masonic commitments, especially with Grand Lodge commitments.

It truly is an honor to be able to spend time with Brothers like Dean and to get to know more about them, their families and their interests. And then to share that with you, our readers. We hope that you enjoy reading these Member Spotlights as much as we enjoy putting them together. And we hope that these brief glimpses into the lives and backgrounds of our Brothers will inspire you to walk up to them, stick out your hand, introduce yourself and then to spend some quality time with these men. This is a great fraternity, and these are the most wonderful and inspirational men you could ever meet. You will enjoy every minute that you can spend with Brother Dean – make it a personal goal of yours to get to know him. Thank you, Brothers all!

Danny L. Tomlinson, 32° KCCH
1st Lieutenant Commander, Colorado Council of Kadosh

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