Tribute from the Funeral by RW Bro Walter H. Scott, Q.C.

VW Bro Sir Howard Cooke
VW Bro the Most Honorable Sir Howard Cooke ON, GCM, GCVO, CD, PGSwdB

The Most Honourable Sir Howard Cooke was the epitome of all that is good, true and virtuous of English Freemasonry.

He was initiated in the Friendly Lodge No. 383 in Montego Bay on 14 July 1955, long before I was born.

His public and private lives were characterised by moral and religious rectitude; were adorned by seemingly endless charity and benevolence; and were clothed in a virtuous and an upright existence. Despite his learning and elevated status, he was blessed with the ability to treat each man or woman on the level, as equals.

Shortly after his initiation, the initiate is given a Charge where he is told:

“Let Prudence direct you, Temperance Clothe you, Fortitude support you and Justice be the guide of all of your actions”

I dare say that every Jamaican who has had any interaction with Sir Howard will honestly admit and concede that the virtues of Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude and Justice were all hallmarks of the man they knew as “Teacher”.

Our Craft enjoins us all as Freemasons to “unite in the grand design of being happy and in communicating happiness”. Sir Howard was not only a happy man, but he spent most of his adult life trying to communicate happiness to all with whom he interacted. He did so, never at the expense of principle, but always with humility, a ready smile and a twinkle in his eyes.

In summary, his life was not just symbolic of, but represented, all of the Masonic virtues.

His passion for training and in improving the knowledge base of each individual is now legendary. He brought these passions to his Freemasonry. On the occasions when I was privileged to have a private conversation with him, I always came away wiser.

Although he spent a lifetime in politics, he was never partisan in the way that, regrettably, we have come to know and accept that word. This lack of partisanship was no doubt inspired by his Masonic life, where men from all political parties sit together and enjoy their Freemasonry in complete harmony and unity.

At the time of his very sad and lamentable passing, Sir Howard was the 4th most Senior English Mason in the Island. This was a Rank he bore with the humility reserved only for the truly great. Sir Howard lived very well respected and has died deeply regretted.

May his soul rest in peace.

Walter H. Scott, Q.C.
District Grand Master of Jamaica &
The Cayman Islands
08 August, 2014

Freemasonry: a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.