Ill. Brother Robert M Speed, 33°
It is with a heavy heart that I write to you to inform you of the passing of Robert M. Speed, 33°.
To say Brother Bob's passing leaves a void in the musical life of the Scottish Rite would be a great understatement. Bob's skills at the organ were tremendous, a result of his over 75 years as an organ student, then teacher, and performer as Church Organist. Bob's vast skills included improvisation, which enabled us to enjoy great "marching music" during the degree work, Fanfares of unsurpassed complexity, and incidental music that never failed to enhance the activity going on during the degree. We were so fortunate that even after he had retired from all other organist jobs, he was willing to continue as one of our organists. We will always remember Bob when we sing the special final "Amen" of the 32nd degree that he composed for us.
Bob never complained about his failing health. Just a couple of years ago, you would never have guessed that he was entering his mid-eighties. He remained vibrant and healthy, and I remember him still taking spinning classes at the gym during those years when most of us would had given up on such activity... but a couple years ago, he began to fail. He remained optimistic much of the time, but at the last reunion, he indicated that he didn't feel up to playing for all the the degrees any longer, but would continue playing for the 32nd Degree, and turned in much of his music. I accepted his partial resignation reluctantly, but with the realization that this was something he needed for his health and his peace of mind.
As a friend, I will personally miss Bob greatly. His sense of humor, his quick wit, and his musical knowledge, were all precious to me. Just sitting and talking with Bob was an educational experience and always ended with a laugh!
As a conductor, I have never worked with anyone as knowledgeable, forgiving, patient, and helpful as Bob Speed.
I'm sure everyone in the Double Eagle Chorus has special memories of Bob. Take just a moment today, and remember him.
I'll let you know when I learn something about memorial services.
Ron Lindhart, Director
Des Moines Double Eagle Chorus
Bob was raised in Capital Lodge on Feb. 26, 1963 to the sublime degree of a Master Mason. He joined Scottish Rite on June 25,1994 and received the Knight Commander Court of Honour on October 4, 1999. He received the Inspector General Honorary (33°) on November 10, 2007.
Keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.
Sincerely and Fraternally,
Shane A. Harshbarger