Most Excellent Grand High Priest

Grand High Priest Joseph Weldon Clampitte
Title: Most Excellent Grand High Priest
Year: 2004 - 2005
Home Chapter: Washington No. 2

J. Weldon Clampitte was born in Houston, Texas on December 28, 1935, where he has lived his entire life. He attended San Jacinto High School, Houston Community College, and the University of Houston. He joined the Bellaire Fire Department in 1955 and left in 1957 to join the Houston Police Department. He attended the Houston Police Academy in 1957 and was employed by the HPD for 27 years during which time he served three years in uniformed Patrol Division and Dispatchers Office. He then went into plain-clothes investigations where he spent 7 years in the Juvenile Division and 17 years as a Sergeant of Detectives in the Homicide Division. He retired from the Houston Police Department in 1983. He is also retired from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in January 2004, where he worked as an Investigator since November 1984, obtaining the rank of Senior Investigator at the time of retirement.

Having been involved in law enforcement for so many years, it only seems natural that he found the love of his life while working at the police department. Weldon met Laura Lee Faulkner while both of them worked for HPD, marrying her a year and a half after he retired. Between them they have five children, all of which Weldon considers as his own. Weldon has two girls and a son while Laura has two girls. They also have four grandchildren between them, two girls and two boys. He is a member of First Methodist Church in Houston. He and Laura still care for his 96 year-old mother who is dependant upon them for her care.

Weldon completed his degrees of Craft Masonry on February 5, 1959 in Bellaire Lodge No. 1336, where he later served as Worshipful Master of that Lodge in 1977-78. He later affiliated with Gray Lodge No. 329 in 1988, and served as its Worshipful Master in 1992-93. He is also a charter member of J.W. Chandler Lodge No. 1452, serving as its Charter Treasurer until 1992. Weldon is also a plural member of Holland Lodge No. 1 (1999) and became a charter member of Tranquility Lodge No. 2000 in 2000. He is an endowed member of these lodges. Bellaire Lodge recognized his leadership abilities and his dedication to Freemasonry when they honored him as a recipient of the Golden Trowel Award. He was elected Secretary of Bellaire Lodge No. 1336 in 2003 and is still serving in that office.

Weldon has served the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas as Grand Senior Deacon in 1983, for R.W. J.D. Buddy Baccus, District Deputy Grand Master in 1987, for R.W. John E. Jack Kelly, and as Grand Marshall in 1992, for R.W. A. D. Hanna. He served as the Regional Coordinator for the Houston Grand Master's Conference Programs for the years 1985 to1991 and again in1993 and 1996.

Weldon has served many years on and has frequently been Chairman of the Committee on Grievances and Appeals of the Grand Lodge. He was Chairman of the Grand Lodge Statistics Committee and an Assistant State Coordinator for R.W. W. Vernon Burke, Jr., R.W. David B. Dibrell, and then for R.W. Michael D. Nanny.

At the 2003 Grand Lodge Communication, Brother J. Weldon Clampitte was awarded the William M. Beck Award by the Grand Lodge of Texas for his continuing and dedicated service to Freemasonry. This award is given annually to an outstanding and deserving Mason in Texas. No one could deserve it more.

Weldon was exalted a Royal Arch Mason in Washington Chapter No. 2 on June 18, 1977, and is an endowed member. He served as Washington Chapter as its High Priest in 1986-87, Treasurer from 1987-2001, and as its Secretary from 2001 to present. He received the Order of High Priesthood in 1986. He served as the Grand Royal Arch Captain in 1989 for the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Texas for V.E. Ferris Benham, District Deputy Grand High Priest in 1990 for V.E. J.D. Buddy Baccus, Grand Orator in 1995 for V.E. William Schroeder and in 2001 as Grand Marshal for V.E. Robert P. Bob Walker. He served on the Grievances and Appeals Committee for several years. He also served as the State Coordinator for the York Rite Conference Program both in 1991 for V.E. Jerry N. Kirby and in 1994 for V.E. Jack L. Wright. He was elected to the office of Grand Scribe of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Texas in 2001, Grand King in 2002, Deputy Grand High Priest in 2003, and Installed as M.E. Grand High Priest on December 7, 2004.

He was greeted a Royal and Select Master in Houston Council No. 1 on June 18, 1977, and is an endowed member. He served as Thrice Illustrious Master of that Council in 1987-88, Treasurer from 1987-2001 and as its Recorder from 2001 to present. He received the Order of the Silver Trowel in 1986. He was appointed District Deputy Grand Master in the Grand Council in 1991 for V.I. Richard Coates and as Grand Marshal in 1999 for V.I John Charles Elkinton. He has served on both the Purpose and Policies Committee and the Awards and Honors Committee.

Weldon was Knighted in Ruthven Commandery No. 2 on March 23, 1979, and participated with their drill team for over 12 years. He later affiliated with Houston Commandery No. 95 and served as its Commander in 1989. He is an endowed member in both Commanderies. He earned an all white Meritorious Service Award because of his efforts as Commander. Under his leadership, he had a net growth in membership of nineteen members during his year as Eminent Commander.

He served on the Public Relations Committee for the Grand Commandery of Texas for 1990 to 1999, and is the creator of both the Cross and Crown and Excalibur Awards for the Grand Commandery of Texas. He served as the editor for the Texas Insert for the Knight Templar Magazine for three years, only giving up that up in April of 2002. He received the Knight York Cross of Honor in 1990, in Texas Priory No. 23. He later became a charter member of Thomas H. Rideout Priory No. 75, where he served as its Eminent Prior in 1998. He was Knighted in Texas York Rite College No. 14 in 1985, and later became a charter member of the Gulf Coast York Rite College No. 106, where he served as its Pre-Eminent Governor in 1996. He received the Order of the Purple Cross from the Sovereign York Rite College in 1997. He served as the Very Eminent Preceptor of Resurrection Tabernacle XXI in Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests in 2003. He served as the Puissant Sovereign of the San Jacinto Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine in 2002.

In 1961, he received his Scottish Rite Degrees in the Valley of Houston and has served as the head of two of its bodies. He is an endowed member of the Houston Valley. He honored with the Knight Commander of the Court of Honor in 1977 and coroneted a Thirty-Third Degree Inspector General Honorary in 1983.

He is a member and a Past Patron (1987) of Bluebell Chapter No. 856, Order of the Eastern Star. He is a Past Sovereign Master (2003) of Houston Council, Allied Masonic Degrees and has received the Red Branch of Eri. He is a Past Excellent Chief (1998) of Anson Jones Council No. 47, Knight Masons. He is a member of the Texas Lodge of Research where he has served in several of the appointed offices.

Dad Clampitte served five years as Chairman of the Advisory Council of Sam B. Cantey Chapter, Order of DeMolay in the seventies. In 2001 he was appointed as Executive Officer of DeMolay for Texas, where he still holds that position. He has promoted DeMolay dramatically throughout the state ever since. DeMolay is now more visible than it has been in many years. The DeMolay Leadership of the State is now recognized at all Grand Communications of the several adult Masonic Grand Bodies

Dad Clampitte was honored by both the International Order of DeMolay, with the Legion of Honor in 1983 and by the International Order of Rainbow for Girls with the Grand Cross of Color in 2002.

Dad J. Weldon Clampitte, seeing the Masonic Youth of Texas needed a financial boost to move into the future, established the Texas Masonic Youth Foundation in 2003. A few months later he asked the Grand Lodge of Texas to step up to the plate and be the first primary fund provider for the Foundation. The membership of Grand Lodge obliged at the 2003 Grand Annual Communication by granting the TMYF a one-dollar per capita donation by almost a two-thirds majority. The TMYF is a 501 (c) 3 Foundation working for the betterment of all our Masonic Youth through its relationships with the Masonic Bodies of Texas.