One of Mississippi’s best known and most respected Masons was honored Saturday, Nov. 2. Thirty-Third-Degree Mason Danny Olan Alexander was the guest of honor at his home lodge in Little Rock in the presence of more than one hundred Masons from across Mississippi. Eight of the one hundred Masons were past Grand Masters of Mississippi Free and Accepted Masons.
Danny Alexander’s accomplishments in his life is a true American success story. Since he graduated from Beulah Hubbard at the top of class his and class president in 1965, Alexander has earned his bachelor of science in science education from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree from Mississippi State. He has taught chemistry and physics at Meridian High School and at Lamar School for a total of 51 years. He plans to retire at the end of this school year to spend more time with his family, wife Cookie, daughter Danielle and granddaughter Amber.
His Masonic accomplishments are equally impressive. He was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason in May of 1971. After he became a master mason, Alexander was elected master of the Little Rock Masonic Lodge. He served as grand lecturer for 19 years. In 1993 he was elected grand master of Mississippi Grand Lodge, the highest office of the fraternity. Danny served the Grand Lodge as district deputy grand lecturer for 19 years before being elected grand lecturer, a position he has held since 1994. In September of 2017, Master Mason, Scottish Rite Mason, York Rite Mason and Shriner Danny Olan Alexander was awarded the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a Mason. He was awarded the prestigious 33rd degree.
Danny worked diligently but humbly toward his goals. As a devout Christian, Jesus Christ is first in his life. He is an active member of Little Rock Baptist Church.
Aside from his teaching career and Masonic activities, Danny was on the short list of candidates to go into space aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger. As a blessing in disguise, he was cut and another teacher was selected for the mission. As it turned out Danny being passed over was not a matter of lack of qualifications on his part but a matter of over qualifications. NASA wanted a teacher who was not a science teacher. The agency felt like a non-science person would be of more benefit to the mission. The Space Shuttle exploded on launch, tragically killing the entire crew, including teacher Crista McAuliffe. Thoughts of the crew’s fate still haunt Danny today.
We Masonic brothers of Danny Olen Alexander, wish him well in his future endeavors which he will tackle with the same vigor as he did as a teacher and a Mason.
Ralph Gordon is Mississippi historian freelance writer. He was awarded the William Faulkner Literary Award in 2012.