Grand Masters

Grand Master Farris Layne Benham
Title: Grand Master
Year: 1999 - 2000
Home Council: Sam J. Helm No. 363

Most Illustrious Grand Master Farris L. Benham needs no introduction to Masons in Texas. He has been a Mason for many years and traveled the State as the Most Excellent Grand High Priest in 1988-89 and Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Texas in 1995.

Most Illustrious Benham, the son of L.F. and Letsy Benham was born in Clarksville, Texas on December 7, 1929. After attending public schools in Texas, Farris attended commerical business school. In addition, he attended extension courses in chemistry, electronics and business management. Since 1963, he has served as President of Benham Natural Gas Service, Inc.

On March 13, 1999, Companion Benham married Betty Phillips Hager of Amarillo, Texas. Betty is a Past Grand Matron of the Grand Chapter of the Eastern Star. They now maintain a home in Amarillo, Texas.

Companion Benham was raised a Master Mason in Odessa Lodge No. 955 A.F.&A.M. on February 29, 1968. He served as Worshipful Master in 1971-72, and was District Deputy Grand Master in 1981-1982. Companion Benham served as Regional Coordinator in 1982, 1983, 1985 and 1987. He has a Life Esoteric Certificate from Grand Lodge and is a Life Member in Odessa Lodge No. 955 A.F.&A.M. He was elected Grand Junior Warden of the Grand Lodge of Texas in 1993 and served as Grand Master in 1995. He now serves as President of the Sam Houston Hall of Fame.

Companion Benham was exalted a Royal Arch Mason in Sam J. Helm Chapter No. 445 on September 20, 1968. He served as District Deputy Grand High priest in 1977; serves as Grand Representative of Nevada near the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Texas; holds as esoteric certificate; was elected as Most Excellent Grand High priest in 1988. He is now serving his second term on the Board of Directors of the Texas Masonic Retirement Center and also serves as Treasurer of the Center.

He was greeted as a Select Master in Sam J. Helm Council No. 363 on September 30, 1968; served as Thrice Illustrious Master in 1973 and 1974; served as District Deputy Grand Master of the 44th Cryptic District in 1984; serves as Grand Representative of Arizona; elected as Grand Master in 1999.

Companion Benham was Knighted in Odessa Commandery No. 110 on July 29, 1971, and served as Commander in in 1979. He is a Life Sponsor of the Knights Templar Eye Foundation and serves as Grand Representative of the Grand Commandery of Nebraska near Texas.

He received the Scottish Rite Degrees in the El Paso Scottish Rite Bodies. He is Past President of the Odessa Scottish Rite Association. He is Degree Master of the Tenth Degree at El Paso in the Spring Reunions, and is invested with the rank of 33rd Degree, Inspector General Honorary.

He is a member of El Maida Shrine; Royal Order of Jesters; a member Odessa Chapter No. 447, Order of the Eastern Star; a member and Past President of the Advisory Council of Odessa Chapter, Order of DeMolay and has received the DeMolay Cross of Honor and Legion of Honor.

In addition, Most Illustrious Benham is a member of the Order of High Priesthood; Order of the Silver Trowel; Super Excellent Master; Knight York Cross of Honour; a member of York Rite College No. 36; a Past Preceptor of Nazareth Tabernacle No. XXXIV, Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests; a member and Past Sovereign of Permian Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine. Also, a member of the National Sojourners, Heros of 76, Knight Masons and Grotto.