Most Excellent Grand High Priest

Grand High Priest James Burnett Bynum
Title: Most Excellent Grand High Priest
Year: 1980 - 1981
Home Chapter: Sam J. Helm No. 445

J. B. “Rusty” Bynum was born on a farm in Bosque County, Texas; the seventh son of a family of ten boys and four girls, of Willie Danuel and Nannie Love (Coats) Bynum. He attended a country school and married his high school sweetheart, Mary Ireta Dodson, the eldest daughter of Wiley Elbert and Emily Ellen (Williams) Dodson, on March 5, 1934. They have two daughters, the eldest being Nellda (Bynum) Hanson of Littleton, Colorado, and Delores (Bynum) Tavis of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Ireta and Rusty are currently members of Crescent Park Baptist Church in Odessa. Rusty taught Sunday School for about fourteen years including six years of Special Education Classes. He is also an ordained deacon in the Baptist Church.

Rusty retired from Schlumberger Well Services after thirty-seven years of service as Senior Sales Engineer. Retirement shoes did not fit Rusty, and he has returned to the petroleum service field as Sales Representative and Consultant. He has been an active member of the Odessa Chamber of Commerce since 1952, and the world famous Odessa Chuck Wagon Gang since 1953. He served as boss of the Gang in 1968. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Gang for twelve years, and he is the first man ever to be presented with a lifetime membership to the Odessa Chamber of Commerce. Rusty is now serving on the Board of Directors of the Permian Basin Oil Show, serving since 1968.


Rusty was Raised a Master Mason in Park Place Lodge No. 1172, Houston, Texas, on August 10, 1949. Demitted in 1951 and affiliated with Odessa Lodge No. 955; demitted in 1953 and affiliated with H. A. McFarland Lodge No. 1338, Odessa, Texas. He served McFarland Lodge as Worshipful Master in 1958. Served as District Deputy Grand Master of the 82nd Masonic District, and as Junior Deacon of the M:W: Grand Lodge of Texas in 1976.

Exalted a Royal Arch Mason in Park Place Chapter No. 458, R.A.M., Houston, Texas, on March 31, 1950; demitted and affiliated with Sam J. Helm Chapter No. 445, Odessa, Texas, on December 12, 1957, and served as High Priest in 1962. Served as District Deputy Grand High Priest in 1974, and is the Grand Representative of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of California near the Grand Chapter of Texas. He was elected Grand Scribe in December 1977, passed through the Chairs and was elected and installed as Most Excellent Grand High Priest, December 9, 1980, and served during the year 1981.

Greeted in Park Place Council No. 373, R.&S.M., Houston, Texas, on April 28, 1950; demitted and affiliated with Sam J. Helm Council No. 363, Odessa, Texas, in 1958 and served as Thrice Illustrious Master in 1963. Served as District Deputy Grand Master in 1978, and is the Grand Representative of the Grand Council of Royal & Select Master of New York near the Grand Council of Royal & Select Master of Texas. He has received the Honorary Degree of Super Excellent Master.

He is a member and Past Commander of Odessa Commandery No. 110, Knights Templar. He is Chairman of the Membership Committee, District 9, of the Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Texas.

Knight Commander of the Court of Honour of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Lubbock, Texas, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Scottish Rite Foundation.

Member of the Order of High Priesthood; Order of the Silver Trowel; Past Sovereign of Permian Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine; member of the Royal Order of Scotland; and member of Nazareth Tabernacle No. XXXIV, Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests, San Angelo, Texas. He is a member of El Maida Temple of the Oriental Shrine, El Paso, Texas; and a member and Past Patron of Friendship Chapter No. 1008, Order of the Eastern Star.