Ill. Gus "Buddy" Blass II, 33°
On May 31, 1923 Gus “Buddy” Blass II was born. He entered into Magnolia Lodge #60 as an Entered Apprentice in August of 1949, passed to the degree of Fellow Craft in September and raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason on September 27, 1949. On November 9, 1949 he joined the Scottish Rite in Little Rock, AR. In 1956, Bro. Blass, who had served in the U.S. Army in World War II as a First Lieutenant and had been awarded a Purple Heart, was chosen by the Little Rock Junior Chamber of Commerce as the city’s Outstanding Young Man of the Year. He left the Blass Company and in 1962 became president and managing officer of the Capitol Savings and Loan Association. He was active in the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Little Rock Unlimited, Urban Progress, Boy Scouts of America, Salvation Army, United Fund, American Red Cross and the Family Service Agency. His many years of service to the Boy Scouts of American culminated into Camp Rockefeller at the Gus Blass Scout Reservation in Damascus, Arkansas. Brother Blass received the 33rd Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry on December 13, 1969, the same day as Brother Cletis Odell Overton, another distinguished Scottish Rite Mason and World War II veteran (featured in the February 2015 Issue, VOICE of the ORIENT). These two men are our most tenured Inspector Generals Honorary in the Orient of Arkansas. Brother Gus “Buddy” Blass will turn 93 years young this May. The Scottish Rite in Arkansas and Freemasonry as a whole is proud to count men like Brother Blass as one of ours. The Gus Blass Company that had originated in Little Rock in the 1860s continued as a family owned store by the Blass-Heiman families. In 1950 Noland Blass Sr., son of Gus Blass, retired as president and was succeeded by Hugo Heiman. Heiman who became chairman of the board in 1960, served as director of Downtown Little Rock Unlimited and of the Urban Progress Association. Others who were involved in the management of Blass company included Julian Blass Jr., Gus Blass II and Max A. Heiman, all grandsons of the original founders. In 1961 a branch store was opened at Pine Bluff, and in 1963 the Blass Company became the first major store in Little Rock to announce plans to establish a branch at the Park Plaza Shopping Center, west of downtown. In 1964 Julian G. Blass Jr. resigned as president and the company was sold to Dillard’s Department Stores. Leonard F. Levy was then named president of the stores, which Dillard combined under the name of Pfeifer-Blass; later they were given the Dillard name.