Willard Meredith Avery, 105, passed away on Feb. 11, 2012, at Springhurst Health Campus in Greenfield. He was born on Feb. 2, 1907, in Palmyra, Ind., to William and Cora (Klinker) Avery.
Following graduation from Depauw University in 1929, he taught history and speech in Portand, Ind. He then attended The University of Michigan Law School where he was the recipient of the Henry M. Campbell Case Club Award. Willard was Student President of the The Lawyer’s Club and received his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree in 1934. Following graduation he served as general practice attorney in Knightstown for 60 years retiring at age 90. Willard enjoyed managing his family’s farm operation, spending time at Lake Tippecanoe, and was known for his many civic responsibilities. He had served as the Town of Knightstown attorney, a member of the Glen Cove Cemetery Board, on the First National Bank Board, was the attorney for the Knightstown School Board, and was Citizen of the Year. He was a member of the Knightstown United Methodist Church which he served faithfully on various church boards for many years. He was a member of Kiwanis, Odd Fellows, and Historic Knightstown. Willard was actively engaged in The Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America for many years. He was Knighted in Knightstown Commandery No. 9 on May 2, 1939. He served as Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of Indiana. He was the first President of the Board of Directors of the Indiana foundation of DeMolay, Inc and held the DeMolay Honorary Legion of Honor. He served as legal counsel for the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc. He was the Past Grand Patron of the Indiana Grand Chapter, O.E.S. and was Chairman of the Knights Templar Eye Foundation Committee of the General Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. He was Past Sovereign of St. Basil’s Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine, a member of the K.Y.C.H., and a member of the Murat Temple of the Shrine. He was a charter member and Past Preceptor of St. Andrew’s Tabernacle H.R.A.K.T. P., a Knight Grand Commander, a holder of the Grand Cross, and a member of the Scottish Rite, Valley of Indianapolis. He was raised to the degree of Master Mason Lodge No. 91, New Castle, in 1936. He was transferred to Golden Rule Lodge No. 16, Knightstown, where he served as Worshipful Master in 1940. He was Exalted to the degree of Royal Arch Mason in Knightstown Chapter No. 33 in 1938 and served as High Priest in 1955. He was Greeted as Royal and Select Master in Cryptic Council No. 29, Knightstown, in 1945 and served as Illustrious Master in 1954. He was made an Honorary 33*, Supreme Council, A.A.S.R., Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, Sept. 1967, in Pittsburgh. He served the Grand Encampment as Department Commander of the East Central Department 1961-1964. He was editor of the Knights Templar Magazine for 5 years until 1967. He was elected and installed as Grand Captain General in Detroit, 1967, Generalissimo in Denver, 1970, Deputy Grand Master in Chicago, 1973, and as Grand Master in Kansas City, 1976. He presided over the 54th Triennial Conclave in Indianapolis in 1979. Willard will be remembered as a gentleman who served his community with pride and responsibility.
He is survived by his son, Max Avery of Greenfield; grandsons, Brandon Avery of Burbank, CA and Brock (Anna) Avery of Indianapolis; granddaughter, Meredith (Chris) McDonald of Knightstown; and five great grandchildren, Lydia Avery, Meg Avery, Jack Avery, Reagan McDonald, and Henry McDonald.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret (Barrett) Avery; son, Jack (Judy) Avery; and sister Lewise Ade.
Friends may call from 4-8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012, at Knightstown United Methodist Church with a Templar Service beginning at 8 p.m. Services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, at the church. Burial will follow in Glen Cove Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to The Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc. 1033 Long Prairie Road, Suite 5, Flower Mound, Texas 75022.
You may express condolences or share a memory of Willard at www.hinsey-brown.com.