Charles Levi Walker, 33°, is only one
of the many Grand Old Opry members who know both country music
By William G. Hinton, 33°, P.G.M. and
Robert B. Schlenk Jr., 32°,
K.C.C.H. The Grand Lodge of Kentucky
The Grand Ole Opry and the Masonic Fraternity
share the devotion and commitment of some mighty good people!
Grand Ole Opry notables such as Roy Acuff, Eddy Arnold, Grandpa
Jones, Pee Wee King, Little Jimmy Dickens, Roy Clark, Charlie
Louvin, and Grand Ole Opry band member Joe Edwards-all have
committed themselves to the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood
of man by becoming Master Masons. Numbered among such celebrities
is Ill. Charlie Walker, 33°, a Grand Ole Opry member who
knows both country music and Freemasonry.
Charles Levi Walker, Jr., was born in Copeville, Texas, on
November 2, 1926. His early acquaintance with Freemasonry came
from his mother, Lillie Mae Walker, whose father was a member
of the Fraternity. He grew up on his parent's cotton farm in
Nevada, Texas, about 35 miles northeast of Dallas. His father,
a Texas lawman and Justice of the Peace, taught his young son
the basics of music. When Charlie was a senior in high school,
the family moved to Dallas where Bro. Walker finished school.
As a 17-year-old high school senior, Bro. Charlie got his first
professional job singing in a Dallas honky-tonk and soon became
a vocalist for Bill Boyd's big western swing band, the "Cowboy
Ramblers." He was with them for a year until he was called
into military service and served two years in the United States
Army. He completed his basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky,
and became a member of the 8th Army, 304th Signal Operations
Battalion. One year in the military was spent in Japan where
he introduced country music to the Japanese people on the Armed
Forces Network from Tokyo. When he came out of military service,
he moved to San Antonio, Texas, and became one of the nation's
top 10 country music disc jockeys. In 1962, he was honored
as a "Favorite Son of Texas" by the state legislature.
It was during this time that Charlie petitioned Alamo Lodge
No. 44, A.F.&A.M., in San Antonio, Texas, where he was
made a Master Mason in 1953. In 1955, he joined the Scottish
Rite Valley and Alzafar Shrine Temple of San Antonio. In 1962,
he served as Worthy Patron of Alamo Chapter No. 665, Order
of the Eastern Star.
His first significant recording was "Tell Her Lies and
Feed Her Candy." This was soon followed by his million-selling
record "Pick Me Up on Your Way Down." He has recorded
35 albums and had 47 songs in the national charts.
his other big hits are "Don't Squeeze My Sharmon," "Little
Ole Wine Drinker Me," "Truck Driving Man," "My
Shoes Keep Walking Back To You," "Close All the Honky-Tonks," "Who
Will Buy the Wine?" and "A Way To Free Myself." His
latest album is on M.C.A.
Brother Walker is at his best in songs that describe the hopes,
fears, and problems of everyday people. As an interpreter of
country blues, he is incomparable. He performs standard country
with a deep intensity, while giving a timeless quality to contemporary
In 1965 he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and on August 17,
1967, was made a member of the Grand Ole Opry. During his career,
he has toured every state, plus England, Scotland, Norway,
Sweden, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada, and Mexico. He is a
headliner at Las Vegas, Reno, Jackpot, and other Nevada cities.
He has also chalked up numerous credits via TV guest appearances
on all the leading country and western syndicates. In 1981,
the Federation of International Country Air Personalities (FICAP)
inducted Charlie into their Disc Jockey Hall of Fame.
been honored as a recipient of the Tennessee Defense Force
Commendation Ribbon, retiring from the unit with the rank of
Since his move to Nashville, Bro. Walker has affiliated with
Hendersonville Lodge No. 359, F.&A.M.; Hendersonville Chapter
No. 377, Order of Eastern Star; the Scottish Rite Valley of
Nashville, and Al Menah Shrine Temple. Noble Walker is an Ambassador-at-Large
to the Shrine Children's Hospital and a member of the Royal
Order of Jesters since 1986. He became Worshipful Master of
Hendersonville Lodge No. 359 in 1994 and has served twice as
Grand Marshal of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee. He was the second
recipient of the Andrew Jackson Medal that is awarded by the
Grand Lodge of Tennessee to an individual regarded as the outstanding
Mason of the year.
He was invested with the Rank and Decoration of a Knight Commander
of the Court of Honour in 1987 and was coroneted a Thirty-Third
Degree Scottish Rite Mason in 1995, becoming the fourth country
music celebrity and second Grand Ole Opry member to be so honored.
Charlie's hobbies are golf and duck and quail hunting. He shoots
golf in the 70s and plays in about 10 pro-celebrity tournaments
every year. Some of the tournaments he has played in are the
Jackie Gleason Inverarry Classic, The Sahara Invitational in
Las Vegas, The Colonial Invitational, The American Cancer Classic,
The Southern Open, The Greensboro Open, The Texas Open, The
Westchester Classic in New York, and the Atlanta L.P.G.A.
Each weekend, thousands of country music lovers tune in to
WSM Clear Channel 650 for the Grand Ole Opry, the longest continuously
running radio program in the world. President and General Manager
Bob Whittaker has noted, "The Opry is the ultimate. It
is synonymous with being at the top of the ladder, and we can't
have off weeks. Each week has to be great." Thanks to
Ill. Charlie Walker, 33°, and numerous other Masons at
the Opry, listeners can be assured that each program will be
Information for this article
was taken from interviews with Ill. Charlie Walker, 33°,
and from the Official Opry Picture-History Book, Jerry Strobel,
Editor (Nashville: Gaylord Entertainment Company, 1997).
William G. Hinton, P.G.M., 33° of 310 Masonic Home Drive,
Masonic Home, Kentucky 40041-9999 Ill was Grand Master of Kentucky
in 1991-1992. He serves as the Registrar/Secretary of the West
Kentucky Scottish Rite Bodies. He is the Director of Education
for the Grand Lodge's Center for Education and Leadership.
Robert B. Schlenk Jr. 32°, K.C.C.H., is an inventor in
electronic technologies. He is a member of several Degree teams
and the stage crew of the Louisville Scottish Rite Bodies.
He is a Past Master of Parkland Lodge No. 638, F.&A.M.
in Louisville, Kentucky.