Who was William Hunter Mack?
W. H. MACK
Many of the Grand York Rite Bodies of Alabama are named in honor of the late
W. H. Mack. Many who did not know him may be wondering who W. H. Mack was and
what were his contributions to Masonry in Alabama. Those of us whose lives were
touched by him still hold the many lessons he taught us in high regard. He led
by example and York Rite Masonry in Alabama would not be where it is today were
it not for him.
William Hunter Mack was born December 25, 1910, the seventh child of nine to
Hunter Doyle and Ida Williams Mack in Richmond (Dallas County), Alabama. He
confessed Christ at an early age by joining Campbell Chapel African Methodist
Episcopal Church in that same community. While there, he served as an officer
and Sunday School Superintendent. He attended Street Manual Training School in
Dallas County, Alabama and later graduated as valedictorian from Snow Hill
Normal and Industrial Institute in Wilcox County, Alabama.
Upon his marriage to Essie Coleman Mack, they moved to Birmingham, Alabama
where they both continued their commitment to the service of God by joining St.
Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church, participating in various activities
including the church choir. After a few years, relocating to another part of the
city, he and his family joined St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church where
his membership remained until his death. During his active years at the church,
he served as a trustee, vice president of the choir, and Sunday School
Superintendent. He received a "Certificate of Appreciation" on November 6, 1998
in recognition of fifty years of dedicated and spiritual service to St. John
A.M.E. Church. On July 29, 2007, he received a "Certificate of Recognition" as a
Seasoned Saint for years of service to the African Methodist Episcopal Church
and the Christian Faith.
Brother (Bruh) Mack, as he was affectionately called, began honing his
entrepreneurial skills at an early age in Dallas County. After he moved to
Birmingham, he and his wife owned and operated multiple businesses. They owned
two grocery stores, three laundromats, and a popular eatery. "Mack’s
Delicatessen" was located in the Smithfield community during the fifties and
sixties, and the laundromats – one of which was a combination laundry and gas
station – were located in Smithfield and North Birmingham.
Bro. Mack’s social and fraternal life included membership in the North
Birmingham Thrift Club and The Lucky Twelve Social and Savings Club. He also
served the Masonic Order in various capacities for many years. Offices held in
the Masonic Order included: Worshipful Master of Imperial Lodge #619, High
Priest and Founder of Mack’s Pride Chapter #85 HRAM, Grand High Priest of the
Jurisdiction of Alabama, General Conference Grand High Priest of the General
Conference of Grand Chapters H.R.A.M. of the USA and Bahamas, Eminent Commander of
Shamrock Commandery #17 Order of Knights Templar, Grand Commander of the
Jurisdiction of Alabama Order of Knights Templar, Honorary Past Grand Master of the Grand
Encampment of Knights Templars of the USA,
Illustrious Potentate of Khedive Temple #16 from 1962 to 1998, Honorary Past
Imperial Potentate, and Past Imperial Deputy of the Desert of Alabama.
G.I.G. Mack was also a very active and dedicated Scottish Rite Mason. He served
as Commander-in-Chief of Red Cross Consistory #2 for many years. He also
served the Alabama Council of Deliberation as Chancellor for numerous years. He
was elevated to the 33° in the same class with the legendary Thurgood Marshall,
an accomplishment that he was very proud of.
Among the numerous awards and honors received by G.I.G. Mack were: 1996
Christmas "Toastee" of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templars of the USA; in
1999 the Most Excellent Prince Hall Grand Chapter Holy Royal Arch Masons of
Alabama was renamed the Most Excellent W.H. Mack Grand Chapter Holy Royal Arch
Masons of Alabama; in 2000 the Charles V. Hendley Grand Commandery of Alabama
was renamed the Hendley-Mack Grand Commandery of Alabama; and in 2008 Most
Illustrious W. H. Mack Grand Council Royal and Select Masters was established.
On, July 22, 2009, William Hunter Mack departed this life at the ripe age of
ninety eight. He left behind to cherish his memory one daughter and two sons,
eleven grandchildren, three great grandchildren, and a host of nieces, nephews,
other relatives, friends, and those in the Masonic Order that he affectionately
called "his boys".