Robert Charles Coley, the son of our- late Brother Oscar Floyd and Vivian Allen Coley, was born at Tarrant City, Jefferson County, Alabama, June 1, 1930. As he grew up, he attended elementary schools in Gadsden, Grove Hill and Mobile before he earned his diploma from Murphy High School, of Mobile, in May, 1947. He attended Birmingham’s Howard College (now Samford University) and the University of Alabama, in Birmingham, prior to his enlistment in the military in September 1950. He served in the U. S. Army during the Korean conflict. Receiving his discharge from the military, Brother Coley became a civilian employee of the U. S. Government, where he has served for more than twenty years. He is currently employed with the Naval Education and Training Command, Pensacola, Florida.
He is married to the former Katherine “Kitty” Maits, of Mobile, and they have two daughters and two sons. Their son, Dan, resides with them in the Hollinger’s Island Community, South of Mobile. They attend the Hollinger’s Island Baptist Church.
Grand Master Coley received his Blue Lodge Degrees in Eureka Lodge No. 64, Greenville, Alabama. He was initiated an Entered Apprentice August 2, 1954, was Passed and, on September 6, 1954, he was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason. In July 1959, he transferred his membership into Guy T. Smith Lodge No. 883, Hollinger’s Island, Mobile, where he served as Worshipful Master during 1962-1963.
Brother Coley’s service in the Grand Lodge began in November 1964, when Most Worshipful Grand Master Tolbert D. Sharp appointed him a member of the Committee of Lodges Under Dispensation. His service on this Committee spanned five years, the last two as Chairman. He was appointed Lecturer of District 32 in 1969 and served as assistant Lecturer of the District in 1971-1972. Upon the creation of District 33, in November 1972, Brother Coley received the appointment as first Lecturer of the new District. Appointed to the Committee on Work in 1973, he served until his election as Right Worshipful Senior Grand Warden in 1976, and on November 23, 1977, Brother Coley was elevated to the exalted office of Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Alabama.
He received the Scottish Rite Degrees in 1960 and served as Venerable Master of the Mobile Lodge of Perfection in 1968 and in October 1973, the Scottish Rite Supreme Council (Southern Jurisdiction) honored him with the rank and decoration of Knight Commander of the Court of Honour. He received the Degrees and Orders of the Mobile York Rite Bodies in August 1974, and in August 1977, he was created a Knight Companion of St. Bernard Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine and he is a member of Abba Temple Shrine in Mobile.
Brother Coley is a charter member and Past President of the Alabama Masonic Historical Society; Past President of the Mobile County Masonic Breakfast Club; a charter member of the Mobile County Masters and Wardens Club and Albert J. Youndt Chapter No. 511, National Sojourners, Inc. He is, also, an honorary member of the Grand Lodge of F. & A. M. of Florida and the Florida Lodge of Masonic Research.
Brother Coley is a member of Hollinger’s Island Chapter No. 480, Order of the Eastern Star and is Past Patron, serving in 1976-1977. He has also been elected to membership in Wisteria Court No. 6, Order of the Amaranth, in Mobile.
In addition to his Masonic activities, Brother Coley is a very avid and active Citizens Band radio operator, and holds membership in several CB Radio Clubs and Associations.