National Sojourners®

"When we assumed the soldier, we did not lay aside the citizen."

Lt Col Joseph H. Baker, Jr., USAF (Ret)

Brother Joseph H. Baker, Jr., PNP, (2008-2009), laid down his working tools and he passed to the Great Architect on 11 April 2023.

Personal: Joseph Baker, Jr. was born in Eagle Pass, Texas on 27 September 1926. He attended the University of Arkansas and Louisiana State University and attained a BS in Engineering 1951; and a State Government (Diploma) – 1984. He was married to Beverly with four children and six grandchildren.

Uniformed Service: Brother Joseph Baker Jr. enlisted in Reserve status in Army Air Corp in January 1944. He attended University of Arkansas in Army Specialized Training Reserve program from March 1944 through March 1945. He entered Radio Mechanic School on active duty status March 1945. In January 1951, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lt, US Air Force;  Communications Officer Course 195l-52; Base Communications Officer-Tyndall AFB 1952-53; Pilot Training 1953-54; Squadron Officer School 1954-55; Command and Staff School – 1959; Commanded aircrews in KC97G and KC-135 Tanker aircraft in missions throughout the United States, Far North and Far East; Commanded aircrews in C-1308 aircraft throughout the Far East and Viet Nam; Senior Controller in Bombardment Wing command post; Chief of Programs Division of 2AF Hq Command and Control Division, Retired as Lt. Col. in January 1974.

Awards include: The Distinguished Flying Cross; The Air Medal w/3 Oak Leaf Clusters; The Meritorious Service Medal; The Air Force Commendation Medal w/l Oak Leaf Cluster; National Defense Service Medal w/l Bronze Star; Republic of Viet Nam Campaign Medal; Viet Nan Service Medal w/2 Bronze Stars; WWII Victory Medal.

Masonic History: Brother Joseph Baker Jr. was raised 18 October 1960, Euclid Lodge No. 58, Great Falls, MT. He was a Perpetual Member of Etoile Polaire #1, New Orleans, LA; Humble Cottage #19, Opelousas, LA (Past Master & Past Secretary); Ruston #106, Ruston, LA (Past Master); Abe Hinson #472, Alexandria, LA (Past Secretary). Blue Lodge: Worshipful Master – Ruston #106 (1980) Certificate of Achievement; Worshipful Master – Humble Cottage #19 (19S6) Certificate of Achievement; Secretary – Humble Cottage #19 1987-95; Secretary – Abe Hinson #472 1996-99; llth Masonic District Grand Lecturer 1984-87; Past President – llth Masonic District Certificate Association (Certificated Mason 25 years); Worshipful Master -llth Masonic District Lodge (1991). Grand Lodge: Grand Steward, District Deputy Grand Master llth Masonic District (1992); Grand Standard Bearer (1994); Grand Tyler (1997 and 1998); Grand Junior Warden (1999); Grand Senior Warden (2000); Deputy Grand Master (2001); Grand Master (2002). Grand Lodge Committees: Press and Publicity; Perpetual Membership Management; Goals and Objectives; Chmn, Grand Lodge Sessions Arrangements; Masonic Law and Jurisprudence; Disaster Relief Committee. Masonic Service Association: Hospital Visitation Coordinator – State of Louisiana. York Rite Bodies: High Priest-Gordy Chapter No. 32 RAM – Opelousas, LA; High Priest-Keystone Chapter No. 44 RAM- Alexandria LA; Illustrious Master-Summit Council #12 CM; Eminent Commander-Trinity Commandery #8 KT; Puissant Sovereign & Recorder of St. Charles Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine; Sovereign Master-Mt. Moriah Council #38 AMD. Member of Perpetual Membership Committee and Public Relations Committee, Grand Commandery Knights Templar-Louisiana, Scottish Rite Bodies; Wise Master Chapter of Rose Croix; Degree Team Captain 14th Degree; Member of l7th and 21st degree teams; Venerable Master – Lodge of Perfection. Advisory Board – Monroe Consistory. Order of The Eastern Star: Worthy Patron; Grand Chapter Housing Chair, Grand Chapter Transportation Chair; Grand Chapter Arrangements Chair; Grand Chapter Membership Chair.

National Sojourners® & Heroes of ‘76®: Brother Joseph Baker Jr. joined National Sojourners 6 November 1993 in Beauregard-Anderson Chapter 530. He was a Past President and Past Secretary. He was made a hero on 26 March 1994. Brother Joseph Baker was National President 2008-2009. He was a member of 13 chapters.

Lt. Col. USAF (retired) Keye E. Perry

Lt Col Keye E. Perry, USAF (retired) – born April 4, 1947. Father, son, husband, grandfather, uncle, pilot, mason, coach, athlete, scout, consummate life-long learner, and gifted orator – laid down his working tools and joined the Great Architect of the Universe alongside his father, Wes, and son, Rob, on August 23, 2023 after a brief battle with a viral infection he obtained while traveling abroad.

Keye was born in Denver, Colorado to Wesley and Dorothy Perry on April 4, 1947. Keye was known for his grand adventures and mischief around town with his younger sister, Pat, and their family friend Dinah Plum. His father’s work moved the family from Colorado to Idaho to Oregon and onto California where Keye graduated from La Mirada High School in 1965. He attended college at the University of Southern California where he played the trumpet for the USC band and joined the ROTC. He graduated from USC with honors and was commissioned into the United States Air Force in 1969.

After attending flight school, Keye served three tours in Southeast Asia flying O-2s and B-52s, followed by Farsi language training and a brief assignment to Iran flying C-12s for the embassy. His next mission led him to serve as an instructor pilot and school squadron commander at Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, Texas. It was here that he met and married his bride, Becky. He then took the family to Hawaii for a Pacific Air Force role followed by a tour at the Pentagon in Northern Virginia. His last assignment was at Griffis AFB in Rome, New York before retiring and relocating his family to Austin, Texas. He always joked that while he wasn’t a native Texan, he got here as fast as he could.

The next chapter began with obtaining two masters from the University of Texas, starting his second career as a CPA and in his free time, starting his Masonic journey with Parsons Lodge #222 in 1995. He served in many roles within Parsons Lodge, including the Junior Warden (’97-‘98), Senior Warden (‘98-‘99) and Worshipful Master (‘99-‘00) and District Deputy Grand Master (‘15-‘16).

Keye received the 14th – 32nd Degrees in the Austin Scottish Rite in 1996. He received the 32nd Degree Knight Commander Court of Honor in 2007 and was honored by receiving the 33rd Degree Inspector General Honorary in 2019. He served the Austin Scottish Rite as the Head of all Four Bodies (‘10-‘17). He received the Double Eagle Award (2014), was an Emeritus Member of the Knights of St. Andrew Order of the Thistle and served as the Austin Valley Ambassador. He completed the Master Craftsman Course in 2014.

In 1998, Keye joined the local chapter of National Sojourners, Anson Jones #507. Passionate about masonry history and the military community, he dedicated the next 20 years to serving in a variety of roles within National Sojourners including Chapter President (‘02-‘03), Camp Commander (‘03-‘04), National President (‘13-‘14), Trustee (‘15-‘23) and Chairman of the Trustees (‘22-‘23). Additionally, he was the President of Collingwood Library & Museum Association. He served as Deputy Area Representative for the South-Central Area (‘18-‘23) and was a Director of the Royal Order of Barrow Wheelers. He received the Houghton Memorial Award, the Second Highest Award in National Sojourners, in 2018 and the Donor Medal in 2019.

In 2015, Keye received the Conferral of the Orders of the Austin Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine, serving in several positions from 2015-2022. The following year, he was knighted into the Jewell P. Lightfoot Council of Knight Masons #109. He served the Council as Excellent Chief (‘19-‘20) and as Secretary/Treasurer (‘22-‘23).

He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Rebecca Lee (Thompson) Perry; son LTC Keye Perry, Jr (US Army retired) and his wife, Connie and grandsons, Connor, Jake and Zach; son Bryan Perry and wife, Kristin and grandchildren, Hayden and Mackenzie; daughter Sarah Elizabeth Perry; and son Trevor Taubert and granddaughters, Libby and Margaret Ann. He is also survived by his mother, Dorothy Ann Perry and sister, Patricia Young and husband, Robert and nieces, Karissa, Sarah and Rachel. He will be dearly missed by many and will always be loved…


  • Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, Methodist University Sigma Theta Chapter (Member #142).
  • National Sojourner Fort Hood Chapter #208, John Bell Hood Camp Heroes of ’76
  • 14th & 32nd Scottish Rite Valley of Waco, Orient of Texas
  • Florence Royal Arch Chapter No. 275, Florence Council No. 208, Llano Commandry No. 54, Knight Templar, York Rite of Freemansonry.

Grande Dame Floretta “Flo” Barnes

Lady Flo Barnes, the wife of PNP Wayne Barnes, passed 11/23/22.

Floretta was born to Earnest and Minnie Eden Burton on March 6th, 1938, in Martin, Kentucky and raised in Bicknell, Indiana. Floretta attended Bicknell High School and graduated with the class of 1956.

She married the love of her life C. Wayne Barnes on April 12th, 1957. They recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary with friends and all their family.

Since Wayne was in the Army, Floretta became an Army wife and mother. Her travels started in 1963 when she boarded a train in Vincennes, Indiana headed to Germany with her two-year-old Wendy Barnes (Coffey). She spent a total of 27 years in her travels as a military wife, with six years in Germany and two years in Taiwan and she has lived on 5 Bases in the US. All the time raising two fantastic daughters, Wendy and Cindy.

Floretta is a 45-Year member of Mt Olive Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star of Indiana, she is a Shrine Lady of Alee and the Hinesville/Fort Stewart Shrine Club for over 30 years, a Scottish Rite Lady in Savannah for over 45 Years, a National Sojourner Camp Follower for over 20 years she has supported 12 Mid-Winter Conventions and 10 Annual Conventions.

In June at the 101st Annual Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Floretta was named a Grande Dame, the highest Honor that can be given a Lady in the National Sojourners.

She loved to travel and to shop. She never met a handbag or pair of shoes she didn’t need to bring home.

She is preceded in death by her parents, her siblings, Delbert, Willa Mae, Margaret, Edward, Edna, Josephine, Virginia Ruth, June, Ruby, and Gene. And her grandson, Brian Wayne Coffey. She is survived by her adoring husband, C. Wayne Barnes, daughters, Wendy (Brian) Coffey of Augusta, Ga. and Cindy (Jim) Huntley, of Port Deposit, MD.; grandchildren, Jarrod K. Coffey, of Baldwin, Ga., Valinda F. L. (Josh) Williams, of Orlando, Fl., Andrew J. Huntley, and Ainsley G. Huntley, of Port Deposit, Md., and great-granddaughter, Aurora Layne Williams. She is also survived by a sister, Linda (Steve) Jones and several nieces and nephews.

Pallbearers are Jarrod Coffey, Andrew Huntley, Lamar Dowd, Ken Porter, JJ Johns, and Roger Hutchinson. Honorary Pallbearers are Members of Hinesville Masonic Lodge, Hinesville Ft Stewart Shrine Club, and National Sojourners.

The funeral service will be held on Tuesday, November 29, 2022, at 2:00 pm at the Thomas L. Carter Funeral Home in Flemington, Georgia with visitation beginning at 1:00 pm followed by burial at Oglethorpe Memorial Cemetery. MWPGM and Reverend Donald C. Combs will officiate.

1SG Andrew F. Hirst, USA (Ret) (PNC 2011-2012)

It is my sad duty to report Brother Andrew F. Hirst, PNC, (2011-2012), laid down his working tools and he passed to the Grand Commander of us all on 23 July 2022.

Andrew Hirst was born in Sackets Harbor, NY on 19 May 1933 to Raymond and Ethel Hirst (Dyer). Andy’s father served in the U.S. Army for 12 years and was honorably discharged at in Madison Barracks in Sackets Harbor, and he spent the rest of his working career with the New York Central Railroad. Andrew resided in Watertown, NY, where he attended public schools up to the tenth grade, when he dropped out to enlist in the U.S. Army.

Andrew Hirst’s first assignment was to Basic Training at Fort Meade, MD from August to October 1950. In November 1950, he attended Cook School and then was assigned to Kelly Barracks, GE as a cook from January 1951 to July 1953. In July 1953, he was honorably discharged the first time. During his five-year absence from the military, Andrew obtained his General Educational Development Degree. In December 1958, he re-enlisted in the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Sill, OK, again as a cook. While at Fort Sill Andrew Hirst applied for Nuclear Weapons School at Sandia Base NM. After finishing Nuclear Weapons School, he was stationed at Thule AB, Greenland during 1960, after which he was assigned to Fort Story VA during 1961. From 1962 to 1965, he was stationed in Okinawa, at which time he got into the administration field. He departed Okinawa in May 1965 for Army Recruiting School at Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN, and then on to Portsmouth NH as an Army recruiter. His next assignment was at Yale University in New Haven, CT for four years, supporting the Army ROTC program. In 1969, he was honorably discharged the second time. After returning to Portsmouth, NH and four years later, he re-enlisted in 1973 in the 76th Division, U.S. Army Reserves as a Drill Sergeant, was ultimately promoted to 1SG, and retired in 1983, with a cumulative total of 26 years of service. His awards include the Occupation Medal Europe, Good Conduct Medal with three knots, and USAR Medal.

Brother Andrew Hirst was raised a Master Mason in Loo Choo Lodge #172 in Okinawa on 4 Dec 1964. He affiliated with Saint James Lodge #102 in Hampton NH in 1973; was Worshipful Past Master in 1991, was Lodge ritualist and prompter in 1992 to present, was Lodge Secretary 2001-2006, and was Lodge Chaplain at various times. He was Grand Marshal for the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire in 1995-2007. He was elected a permanent member of NH Grand Lodge in 2008. In Scottish Rite, he joined the Valley of Okinawa (A.A.S.R.S.J) in January 1965 and affiliated with the A.A.S.R.N.M.J. as a dual member in 1973. He is a Past Thrice Potent Master in the Valley of Portsmouth-Dover, NH. In 2001, he was elevated to the rank of Knight Commander Court of Honor of the A.A.S.R.S.J. at its 200th Anniversary, which was held in Charleston SC. In 2005, he was coroneted a 33° I.G.H. by the A.A.S.R.S.J. in Washington D.C. In York-Rite, he is a member or RAM, R&SM, and KT bodies in New Hampshire. In Shrine, he is a member of Bektash Shrine Concord, NH since 1985 and a member of Cycle Patrol from 1985 through 1998.

National Sojourners & Heroes of ’76: Brother Hirst joined Portsmouth Chapter #386 in 2004 and was Chapter President in 2007-08. He became a Hero in General William Whipple Camp, Heroes of ’76, in 2004 and was Camp Commander in 2006-07. At the National level, he was an Area Representative for Northern New England Area, and received the Memphis Cup in 2008. He was member of the Committee of 33, Chapter Revitalization and Chartering Committee, and Education and Training Committee. He is an Emeritus Member and was the National Commander in 2011-12 and received the Van Deventer Award in 2016.

MAJ Nelson O. Newcombe, USA (Ret) (Emeritus)

Sunrise: May 19, 1933; Sunset: March 9, 2022.

Brother Nelson O. Newcombe passed away on March 9, 2022. He was the son of the late Walter Owen and Edna Newcombe of Auburn, Maine. He was predeceased by his wife, Carole, in 2014. He is survived by Walter O. (June) Newcombe, Jeffrey A. (Rebecca) Newcombe, Dawn E. (William) McGraw, and Judy (Bill, deceased) Saccardi. He has seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was a 1951 graduate of Edward Little High School and the University of Maine in 1956. He served 20 years in the U.S. Army including tours in Korea, Germany, and Vietnam (2). He then served as the National Secretary-Treasurer of National Sojourners, Inc. for 37 years.

He was a Mason for 68 years and was a Past Master of Semper Paratus Lodge No. 49 in the District of Columbia and a member of Tranquil Lodge #29 in Auburn, ME. He was a member of the Order of Eastern Star in Pine Cone Chapter #26 in Auburn, ME and Faith Chapte r #177 in Annandale, VA for 66 years. He was a York Rite Mason and Scottish Rite Mason in the District of Columbia for 62 years, where he received his KCCH. He was a Past Sovereign of the Red Cross of Constantine, a Past Grand Tall Cedar of the Tall Cedar s of Lebanon. He was the recipient of the DeMolay Legion of Honor, National Sojourners Legion of Honor, and the Silver Beaver of the Boy Scouts of America.

Viewing is 16 March, 2022, from 6 PM to 8 PM at Demaine Funeral Home, 5308 Backlick Rd, Springfield The family has also requested an OES and Masonic service for that evening, but the times have not been set. Please call the National Sojourners National Office at 703 5000 for further details on Monday, 14 March. He will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery at a future date. In lieu of flowers, please make your donations to the National Sojourners Endowment Memorial Fund (SEM).

Please mail checks payable to National Sojourners Headquarters 7942 R Cluny Court Springfield, VA 22153. Notate in the memo field: In memory of Nelson Newcombe Condolences and letters may be sent to: Newcombe family c/o Heather McGraw 8523 Parliament Drive Springfield, VA 22151

His full BACKGROUND & BIOGRAPHY can be found HERE.