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Brother Herbert Hoover Schull, 32°

Picture of Herbert and Lucia ShullPhotograph of stage spotlight Our member spotlight this month will focus on a member of "The Greatest Generation" - our 92 year old Brother Herbert Hoover Shull. And yes, he is named for President Herbert Hoover. Brother Herbert is a veteran of the Korean War and the Vietnam War, having served in the United States Army Air Corps, later the US Air Force for 22 years before retiring as a Master Sergeant in 1968. Although Brother Herbert always has been and continues to be a staunch Democrat, his father was a staunch Republican and named his son after the Republican 31st President of the United States, Herbert Hoover. Herbert was the 10th of 14 siblings, seven boys and seven girls. His dad was running out of names for the boys and was a fan of President Hoover who began his term as President in 1929, the same year that Herbert was born.

Herbert was born and grew up in Sugar Creek County, Pennsylvania about 90 miles from Pittsburgh. The nearest town was Franklin, Pennsylvania. His dad worked for the Pennsylvania Rail Road on the track gang – laying and repairing track. He worked for the railroad from the time he was 14 years old until he died at the age of 65. Herbert's mother was from the small town of Sharon, Pennsylvania about 45 miles from Franklin. Herbert's grandfather (dad's dad) originally had immigrated to the United States from Berlin, Germany. Herbert graduated from Rocky Grove High School on May 28, 1948.

Herbert's dad was a member of the Brotherhood of Way rail workers union. In 1929, the same year that Herbert was born, his dad took out a loan from the union to buy a Model A Ford. His payments on the loan were $2 per month. He never did pay the loan off, however, as they continued to refinance the car loan, using the Model A as collateral, as they bought a house or needed additional money for living expenses. When Herbert's father passed, the loan was paid off.

Herb's parents' meeting sounds like a script for a movie. His mother was a young teenage girl living in Sharon, near the Alleghany River. One day she wrote a note with her name and address on it and put the note in a bottle which she then threw into the Allegheny River. Several days later, one of Herbert's uncles found the bottle, now 45 miles down river, and gave the note to Herbert's dad. He called the young lady, went to visit her, began a courtship and end-ed up marrying her. Together they raised the family of fourteen children.

Upon graduation from high school in May, 1948 Herbert expected to be drafted as the Korean War was beginning to heat up. Five of his brothers had already been drafted into the Army, with three of them having served in World War II. He decided to instead join the Army Air Corps and went to Lackland Air Base in Texas for boot camp and training. The Army Air Corps became the United States Air Force officially in September 1949. Herbert and two of his brothers served during the Korean War and later the Vietnam War. All five brothers survived, or in his words, "came back".

Herbert enjoyed serving in the Air Force, especially being able to live and work in Germany, France, Belgium, Tokyo, Hawaii, Alaska and Denver, Colorado at the old Lowry Air Force base. He had been stationed at Lowry for a couple of years and he and his wife Lucia had bought a house near Fitzsimons Army Hospital. Then in 1965 he received orders for Vietnam. They kept the house because they loved living in Denver and eventually were able to return to Denver upon his retirement. They still live in the same house that they bought in 1961 for $14,400. He describes himself as very conservative and recounts that as he was growing up, his dad would give each of the siblings five pennies to drop in the offertory plate at Sunday school. Herbert would give the church two of the pennies, but keep the other three and put them in a Mason jar that he had buried under the front porch of their home in Franklin. He figured the church had enough money and his family might need those three pennies at some future time. Unfortunately, Herbert left for the military without digging up the jar and when he and Lucia returned to visit, his childhood home had been torn down and a new house built on the site. Who knows if anyone ever discovered several dollars worth of old pennies?

During his career in the Air Force, Herbert worked as a supply sergeant in the Inspector General's Office. Think of the old television series "MASH" and Radar O'Reilly or the supply sergeant that "knew another sergeant" and could get anything the colonel or the troops needed or wanted. When Sergeant Herbert was ordered to Vietnam in 1965 he arrived and found several old-timers – WW II vets – in place and just biding their time. He was the "new guy" sent in to shake things up and get things done correctly and there was perhaps a little bit of resentment on the part of the old-timers. Herbert went to the mess hall and talked with the men in charge. They needed pots, pans, cooking utensils, plates, cups and silverware. The motor pool needed tools and vehicles. The NCO Club needed kitchen and dining supplies. In short, everyone needed the equipment to do their job and the needs had been neglected until Herbert arrived at Nha Trang, where the air base was located. Colonel Arno, Herbert's Commanding Officer, gave him the authority to "hire" two C-130 transports, fly to the Philippines and get everything they needed. Herbert did that, arriving back at Nha Trang on a Sunday with two transport aircraft full. He went to the NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) Club, rounded up a crew of volunteers and unloaded the planes. This was the begin-ning of a highly successful supply chain and network that helped greatly with American efforts in the early days of the Vietnam War. Herbert was awarded a Bronze Star for his work and the framed Bronze Star medal and ribbon hang proudly in his living room next to his 50-year award as a member of El Jebel Shrine. Illustrious Brother Jay Bobick and Brother Ron Williamson are pictured at Herbert and Lucia's home, presenting the 50-year award to Herbert.

"Herby" (as she calls him) and Lucia met in Germany in 1951. He was stationed there and she was a young German lady. Herbert and his friend Harry were in his 1948 Chevrolet, driving back to the base from a basketball game in Munich. They saw a very attractive 18 year old lady walking her dachshund dog. Herbert stopped and began talking with her about the dog. He asked if she would like to go with him and Harry to the Enlisted Men's' Club to play bingo. She explained that she would have to get permission from her parents so they drove her and the dog to her parents' home and went in to speak to them. Her father did not like Americans and refused to come downstairs. He had been an American POW during the war. Her mother did convince him that since there were two young men, it was ok and gave Lucia permission to go with them to the club. When they got there, Harry and Lucia played bingo, but Herbert went downstairs to shoot craps. After taking her home at the end of the evening, he asked if he could see her again and her parents reluctantly agreed that he could come to dinner.

When Herbert arrived at their home, he noticed a German Bible on a coffee table. He asked Lucia to get him a German Bible. This impressed her father greatly and he allowed the young man to continue seeing his daughter. Herbert and Lucia still have the Bible in their home (see photo). Herbert and Lucia celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary on October 10 of this year.

Lucia's father Eric had been conscripted into the Nazi army and was taken prisoner in France by the Allied Forces. He was a bricklayer by profession and did a tremendous amount of work with his Allied captors in building sturdier and more humane buildings in the POW camp. Brother Herbert and Eric became good friends as the young couple courted and in 1953 Herbert and Lucia sponsored her parents in coming to America. Herbert had to post a $2,500 bond with a bank to ensure that her parents would become productive members of society.

Herbert had been transferred back to Minnesota soon after he and Lucia married in Germany. In 1952 she came to America on the USS General Buckner, an Army transport ship. When her parents came to America, they sailed on HMS Queen Mary, arriving in 1953. On both occasions, Herbert drove from Minnesota to New York City to pick up first his wife Lucia and a year later her parents, Eric and Elizabeth.

In February, 1962 on the coldest day ever in Colorado history, Lucia and Herbert adopted their daughter Sandra Dee Shull. Yes, named after the movie star Sandra Dee. Sandy has three children and Herbert and Lucia have two great grandchildren.

Herbert's first car was a 1937 Chevrolet. On the way to Germany onboard the USS Sturgis, Herbert won the car in a poker game from a fellow soldier on his way back to Germany from leave in the United States. The car was located in Bremerhaven, Germany. This was in 1948. He hitchhiked to Bremerhaven and picked up his "new" car and that's how a young enlisted man, serving overseas was able to have a personal car for his own use.

When Brother Herbert retired from the Air Force, he and Lucia moved back to Denver, to the home they had bought several years earlier. He owned and operated a camera store at 6th Avenue and Quebec right across the street from Lowry Air Force Base. One of the camera salesmen that he did business with was a Shriner and encouraged Herbert to join El Jebel Shrine. This was Mr. Axelrod, a member of El Jebel Shrine. After nearly 18 years of operating the camera store, Herbert went to work for Navajo Trucking, primarily driving from the Eastman Kodak plant at Windsor, Colorado to the Rochester, New York headquarters of Eastman Kodak. After a serious health issue, he decided to retire. He and Lucia had invested well, using his conservative philosophy and he didn't need to work any longer.

Herbert had become a Mason through a winding set of circumstances. While in the Air Force and stationed in Minnesota, Herbert worked part-time at a gas station for Mr. Hartshorn, the owner and a Mason and Shriner in Minneapolis. Mr. Hartshorn signed Herbert's petition as first-line signer but before he could be initiated, Herbert was transferred to Lowry AFB. The lodge in Minneapolis started the paperwork to have Emulation Lodge #154 do the courtesy work to initiate, pass and raise Brother Herbert. To this day, Brother Herbert has never sat in a lodge meeting in his home lodge in Minnesota. In 1962 he joined the Denver Consistory in the largest class ever – about 397 members. Although he hasn't been active with the Consistory he is a Life Member of Denver Consistory. He was active with El Jebel on several of the patrols until his health began to curtail his ability to participate. Lucia made him quit riding his motorcycle in the Daraja Patrol. He is especially proud of being able to initiate his grandson into the Shrine in Billings, Montana three years ago.

Brother Herbert shared a valuable life lesson: as you grow up and mature, meet those people that you can depend on. Decent people that are honest. This is what first attracted him to Masonry and later served him so well in the military. Also, never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

Think about this amazing Brother: one of 14 siblings; named after a United States President; a career military veteran; married 69 years to his wife Lucia; recipient of the Bronze star; a veteran of two wars; won his first car in a poker game on the transport ship to Germany; has never sat in his home Blue Lodge; proudly sponsored his wife's parents in their pilgrimage to America; lived in about 10 foreign countries during his lifetime, but he and Lucia have lived the house they live in today since 1968. WOW! What a great and interesting man with a thousand tales to tell. Although Brother Herbert's physical condition is a little weak, his mind is as sharp as ever. It was such an honor to be able to visit with him and Lucia for a few hours in their home in Aurora and to hear them relive so many wonderful memories. And they are a pair of 90+ year old teenagers – the love they share is evident the first minute you meet Herby and Lucia. I hope that you get a chance to spend time with Brother Herbert Hoover Shull.

Picture of Herbert receiving his 50 year award from the El Jebel Shrine Picture of Herbert and Lucia on their wedding day Picture of the German bible cover page

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

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