Acacia Creek is a unique place. It shares
a campus – and a philosophy – with the
Masonic Home, but it is open to anyone,
Mason or not. For some of its non-Masonic
residents, life becomes an interesting intersection with the fraternity. For others, it is
a portal into it.
Roughly two years ago, Donald Keysor
moved to Acacia Creek. He was 90 years old
at the time, and he knew next to nothing
about Freemasonry. Neither did Tau Alpha,
who was 74, or Eugene Gire, then 87. Gire,
in fact, had lived and taught for 40 years
just a mile and a half from the Masonic
Home – but until Acacia Creek opened, he
had never had a chance to visit the campus.
Keysor, Alpha, and Gire are now Master
Masons. These three men moved into
Acacia Creek with a lifetime of experiences
under their belts, and their values, personal
philosophies, and identities fully formed.
For all three of them, this move quickly
inspired an application for Masonry.
The one Mason that Don Keysor knew prior
to moving into Acacia Creek was a for-
mer coworker from General Electric. That
coworker had been the one to tell Keysor and his wife, Betty,
about the community – and as it turned out, his recommenda-
tion was right on the mark.
“Right away we felt like we were home,” Keysor says. “People
were so friendly and nice. I said to Betty, ‘We live here in a
Masonic place; we ought to learn something about the fraternity.
One of the first things I did was ask to become a Mason.”
“People ask which place we liked best,” Keysor says. “I don’t
have any preference, because every place is new and has some-
thing to offer. We took advantage of having open minds, and
enjoyed every place we ever lived.”
And so, at age 90, while settling into their new home at
Acacia Creek, Keysor was open to Masonry. Now, he is a famil-
iar face around the on-campus lodge, Siminoff Daylight Lodge
No. 850, attending all the degrees and meetings.
“No matter how old you get in years, there’s always new
experiences to have,” Keysor says. “Doing new things and meeting new people.”
When Gene Gire moved the mile and a half to Acacia Creek, he
did just that. One of Gire’s passions is carpentry, but in his first
days on campus, he didn’t have access to the Masonic Home’s
woodshop. (These days, he helps run it.) So he wandered over
to the morning coffee klatch, where he met some Masons and
started to understand what it meant to be a brother.
“As far as I’m concerned, a Mason has the same values as
an Eagle Scout,” says Gire, an Eagle Scout himself. “Loyal,
AFTER A LIFETIME OF
EXPERIENCES, THREE MEN FIND
FRATERNITY AT ACACIA CREEK
By Laura Benys