Legacy Lodge Legend: Bob Morris

Legacy Lodge Legend: Bob Morris

A Captain in our Midst

His military career and rank gave Bob Morris his commonly used title of Captain Bob, but his beliefs shaped his adult life. After a childhood in the East and seven years as a Marine, he came to Jackson to support candidates who opposed the Vietnam War.

Let’s dig into his history a bit—Captain Bob’s early years were spent primarily at his family home near Central Park in New York City where his father was an attorney. Like lots of people, his favorite time of the year was summer. He spent the first half of each summer at his grandparents’ home in Massachusetts and the second half by the ocean in Southampton on Long Island.

When he was twelve years old, he entered Groton School in Massachusetts. Later he attended and graduated from Yale where he majored in history, focusing on American and European history.

He entered the Marines as an officer candidate. After some time at Quantico Base in Virginia, he was sent to Okinawa and Japan (during the last battles of WWII), before returning to the U.S. where he was stationed first at Yorktown Naval Base and then at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. A Marine Commandant under whom he served was passionately outspoken against the war in Vietnam.

Following seven years in the Marines, he was discharged and went back to Connecticut and a happy life there. However, after two years, thinking of the thousands of young Americans getting killed in Vietnam, he became a political activist. He flew to Jackson to support a political candidate who was against our participation in the war.

Finding he liked Jackson, he bought a condo here and made this his home.

Many people remember that he founded and broadcast from the first radio station here after procuring a license from the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) and the necessary equipment. Ask anyone who has lived in Jackson for a while, they will start to quote Captain Bob’s commercials. “It only takes one minute of living in Teton County to register to vote!” His ads ran so frequently (like favorite commercial jingles) that everyone clearly remembers them. Whether he was running for office, promoting a candidate, fighting for a proposition or raising awareness of local and national issues, Bob could be counted on to get his voice heard. His commercials ran every single day for 12 years.

People here also remember he lived simply. He lived in Teton Village and instead of owning a car and driving, he either hitchhiked or rode a bike into Jackson.

When hitchhiking he usually gifted the person who gave him a ride with a $2 bill. The $2 bill became a signature for Captain Bob. He frequently depleted the bank’s stash of $2 bills. He didn’t use them only to pay people for rides, he bought everything he could with them. “It’s cheaper. It costs less to print a $2 bill than it does to print two $1 bills. It’s better for our economy. The more 2-dollar bills in circulation, the more money we save. It’s better for our country.”

To paraphrase the old Frank Sinatra song, Captain Bob took some blows, but he did it his way. He faced it all, stood tall, and he did it his way.

“I’ve lived a life that’s full, I’ve traveled each and every highway, and more, much more than this, I did it my way.” – Frank Sinatra

Today, he continues to stand tall and do it his way.

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Legacy Lodge Legend: Allen Raver

Legacy Lodge Legend: Allen Raver

Jackson folks probably remember Allen Raver as a respected and busy building contractor while folks from Pringle (near Custer), South Dakota remember him as a hard-working boy, son of a local rancher. He enjoyed the life and work of a cowboy–riding horses and helping with the cattle. Because Pringle was too small to have a high school, he went to school in Custer where he was in the 9th grade on Dec. 7, in 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

He was horrified to learn of the deaths and injuries as well as the ships and planes sunk or damaged by the Japanese aircraft attack. He wanted to help win the war started by this attack—but he was too young. Again and again he asked his parents to sign the papers necessary to allow him to join the Marines. Eventually they did, allowing him to volunteer at age 17 when he was between his junior and senior years of high school.

He took his boot camp training at the Marine Base in San Diego and was amazed at the end of that time to hear their tough drill instructor call them all “gentlemen.” The drill instructor also singled out Allen, “Step two paces out, Private Raver.” and gave him a chevron making him a Private First Class.

All the young Marines wanted to help win the war. Allen was a very good shot and was soon sent to Pearl Harbor and from there to Saipan where a brutal battle with a large number of casualties occurred. Allen went from there to the Island of Tinian and then to Okinawa where he was wounded in battle, shot in the arm. He was later given a Purple Heart.

At some point during his service, he was sent back to Corvallis, Oregon where he was amazed to see hundreds of young women. [Since so many young men were in the service, OSU in Corvallis, like most colleges at that time, had thousands of female students and very few male ones.

After the war, Allen went back to S.D. and went to college hoping to become a dentist. This was difficult because of a bone chip from his arm wound. A VA doctor recommended that he become an electrician instead.

While back in S.D., he met Margaret, the girl who would become his wife–she was going to Teacher’s College in Spearfish and happened to room with a girl who had been Allen’s neighbor in Pringle. Allen moved to Rapid City, S.D. and built apartments to sell. He and his wife Margaret also lived in Casper before moving to Jackson where he continued to build and sell apartments.

Margaret taught school in Jackson for many years as Allen continued his construction career. She passed away in 2000.

They had two sons, of whom Allen is very proud and who now live in Alpine and Thane. They, like their dad, are both good men and are both involved in construction—Tim is an electrician and Jeff a building contractor.

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The Masonic Dream

The Masonic Dream


Charles Edward House (Ched House), a Nye Square resident, was uncertain of his future when he was brought to the Masonic-Eastern Star Home for Children (M-ESHC) in Fremont, Nebraska at age 14 by his mother, who was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star. While serving as the president on the Board of Directors of the Children’s Home for 32 years, he looks back on his experience with a grateful heart, knowing The Masonic Home held an experience most kids only dream about — a safe and supportive environment, encouraging them to thrive in life and pursue their dreams.

Ched was born on October 31st, 1924 in Omaha, Nebraska where he lived with his mother, father, and his older brother Rodney. His family experienced an event that changed the trajectory of their lives in an instant. Their husband and father died of a sudden heart attack at age 41 leaving two teenage boys and a wife with no source of income to fend for themselves.  His mom was left to endure the economic hardships on her own. She was forced to give up the house, and two years later, upon taking on a better paying job in Sioux City, IA, she was forced to part ways with her kids — an emotional hard set of events. Rodney graduated which qualified him to enlist in the armed forces, and Ched, a freshman at Omaha North High School, quickly found the Masonic-Eastern Home for Children in Fremont, Nebraska.

His father had been a Mason for several years, therefore, Ched was fortunate enough to have had a connection with M-ESHC prior to his father passing.  Ched’s earliest memories of the Home rooted back to the annual picnic where he, and other kids from The Home, fished Vess soda pop out of a stock tank filled with water, blocks of ice, and watermelons. Listening to his father play in the Shrine band and dixieland band at the Home’s annual picnic also became a fond memory.

At the time of his admission, M-ESHC consisted of four two story buildings called “cottages”, each housing 15-16 children and a full working farm. The kids learned how to take care of themselves by cooking, setting the table for meals, and cleaning. The boys also learned how to raise and butcher their own livestock for their food supply.

Ched settled into the home very quickly, and found himself working on the farm detail – raising pigs, chickens, cows, plowing the fields using their own working mules, and delivering five gallon milk cans of fresh milk to the cottages each morning and night. He relished in his purpose on the farm.

When asked if it was hard being away from his mother, he said, “it was always nice to see her, but the farm became my home, and I was always excited to get back with the kids.” He was living a dream.

During his junior year at Fremont High, he became a trusted driver and was privileged to chauffeuring the cottage parents to and from their personal churches each Sunday.  He attended church himself and was an usher.  When he finished church duty, he would pick the parents up and take them home.

In 1942, Ched graduated from Fremont High and went off to college in Lincoln, Nebraska.  WWII interrupted his plans and he served in the military for a year before he was medically discharged back home.  With no place to return, M-ESHC welcomed him back with open arms until he was able to figure out his next steps in life.  He continued to stay closely connected with the home visiting Mr. Hartman, who was the executive director and father figure to him.

Ched had been dating a lovely lady, Ruby Gifford, whom he met in choir his senior year of high school. They dated throughout college, and Ched explained how he would hitchhike six hours to visit Ruby at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa and how he’d take the train back to Lincoln following their visit. In 1946, Ruby gave him a ring at Christmas for becoming a Master Mason.  This ring represented the Freemasonry symbol — a square and compasses featuring a “G” in the center. Both the square and compasses are architect’s tools and are used in the Masonic ritual as emblems to teach symbolic lessons. This ring also is a symbol of loyalty to the masonry mission and values, and a loyalty to each other. He said, “By this time, I knew she was really liking me.”  He was right, they later married on June 22, 1947 and raised two children of their own, Leslie and David.

Ched and Ruby were in business together with Ruby as the book keeper and Ched as the manager. They managed and renovated alfalfa meal warehouses in Grand Island and Valley. They later managed a lumberyard together in Arlington, and went on to own and operate it for 36 years. When asked about retirement, he chuckled and said “I’ve retired three times – age 65, 75, and 85.”

Along the way, he emerged himself in giving back to The Home by working his way up through the Eastern Star, Grand Chapter, and onto the board of M-ESHC in 1984.  His wife, Ruby was also active with The Home serving on the board from 1967 to 1974. After two years on the board, Ched was nominated and elected president, and has been re-elected each year since. He humbly serves this position and at 93 years old, has 34 years under his belt.

He looks back and feels as if he had a chance at life when his world was dismantled as a young teenager. Full of gratitude, he’s thankful for the experience which taught him how to be a successful citizen, husband, father, and friend in a world that holds many uncertainties, never once questioning the dreams that live at M-ESHC. A dream that now runs thick in his blood as he continues to serve and dedicate his service on helping a child and family like the home did for him. He concludes saying, “Once a Home kid, always a Home kid.”

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