DAN LENO (1944 - 2013)
The Masonic Career of Worshipful Brother Dan Leno, PJGD, PGSwd.,PGStB (Royal Arch)
Eulogy by Michael Frangos
Dan was introduced to Freemasonry by his great friend Jimmy Cummings, and he began his Masonic journey when initiated into Opthalmos Lodge on the 20th March 1974, when he was 30 years old, he went on to become Master of that Lodge, as well as serving as Secretary from 2000 until 2012 and also as Almoner from 1995 until 2000. In 1989 he joined Pro Arte Lodge, became Master in 1991, and served as Almoner for 19 years. In 1989 he was invited to join the Lodge of Emulation, a Grand Stewards’ Lodge of some distinction, and joined later that year, he was honoured to be Master in the Millennium Year 2000. In 1991 he joined Jubilee Masters and served as Junior Warden in 2009, in 1992 he joined Euclid Lodge of Installed Masters and in 1999 joined Royal Crown Lodge becoming Master in 2008, as well as serving as Secretary and Almoner. In the year 2000 he joined The Grand Stewards’ Lodge and was their Almoner for 7 years. In 2002 he became a founder of Shotokan Karate Lodge.
Dan was also very active in the Royal Arch, he was exalted in 1977 into Orpheus Chapter becoming Most Excellent Zerubbabel in 2000. In 1988 he joined Royal Crown Chapter and for 19 years kept the Chapter together as Scribe Ezra. In 1992 He joined London First Principals and was appointed Haggai in 2006.
What an amazing catalogue of service to the Craft and Chapter of over 39 years, and not a year without being in office and contributing diligently to the benefit of all. It must be said, however, that he was most ably assisted by his assistant Secretary Cheryl Leno! In The Craft he was appointed Grand Steward in 2000, and served as Secretary of the Board, and even took over the duties of Treasurer on the sudden death the incumbent.
He was appointed Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 2002, and Past Junior Grand Deacon in 2011. Royal Arch appointed him Past Grand Standard Bearer 2005. He was also a very able and caring Senior Visiting Officer for Metropolitan Grand Lodge.
Enough for one man? But not for Dan, in 1994 he joined Guild of London Preceptory and was appointed 2nd Constable in 1998, the second part Knights of Malta was taken in 1994, in 1996 he joined Lily of the Valley Conclave in R.C.C. He then moved into the Order of the Secret Monitor and joined Charles Edward Keyser Conclave in1999, becoming Counsellor in 2011. He also joined Hill of Zion in 2010 and Hill of Zion Consistory No 52 in 2010 and took the first 3 grades. Dan then joined St.James’s Mark in 2011 and then St.James’s Royal Ark Mariners in 2012.
So, 8 Craft Lodges, 4 Royal Arch Chapters, 2 K.Ts., 2 O.S.Ms. 1 Mark and 1 R.A.M. But that does not tell half of the story, not even a tiny part… Not only was he an entertaining and cherished guest at many other meetings, he also served on the Board of Masonic Charities, and everything he undertook was always diligently and honestly handled.
But what an appetite for Life and friendship he had! I have been privileged to know The Great Dan Leno for over 30 years, and I have never left his company not feeling better than I did before. The next morning might be a bit different, however. We have been on Rugby tours together, celebrated birthdays and New Year’s Eve, St.Georges’s Day, Trafalgar day and any other reason we could come up with, his stamina was astonishing, but then he did have plenty of time to recuperate, his legendry sleeping in meetings, and not discreetly, his snores were door rattling!
What better way to prepare for a meeting than catching up with Dan “across the road” for a livener, especially with his late lamented sidekick Barry Coppard, and our other departed chum Nigel Blood. Part of the measure of the man was how many, I mean how very many people would stop to say hello to Dan, wherever he was, and whom he would always greet, irrespective of rank or title, with “Hello, my Old Darling, How are you?”
There is so much more, how he saved Royal Crown Chapter from closing down, and then built up Royal Crown Lodge which was about to hand in their warrant, the amazing work he did in various Lodges and for many members and their families as an Almoner for over 20 years, the great support he gave to younger members, but above all his enormous joie de vivre and great sense of humour.
We will all be the poorer by his passing, and I am sure that we all have our “Leno Tales” to remember and cherish, which we should share with each other.
The Great Dan Leno, unforgettable, irreplaceable, he truly lived respected and died regretted.
Danny was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in early December 2012, he spent 4 months in hospital fighting the disease and various obstacles to do with his illness along the way. Unfortunately, the illness became too much to bear and he passed away at home on Friday 12th April 2013.