|The Humboldt Boulevard Temple, Chicago|
His obituary answers one question - that of the shield under the Magen David. It was the shield of the Order of the Boy Builders. Here's a better picture of it:
According to their website, The Order of the Builders for Boys was formed in 1921 for young men between the ages of eleven and twenty-one related to Master Masons. In January 1921 (two years after the formation of the Order of DeMolay in Kansas City) Arthur M. Millard and several members of Van Renssalaer Lodge of Perfection in Chicago founded the Order of the Builders for Boys, an organization for young men between the ages of eleven and twenty-one. Originally restricted to the sons and brothers of Master Masons, membership was soon changed to admit sons, brothers, grandsons, and nephews of Masons who belonged to recognized Masonic Lodges as well as the closest friends of these individuals.
Today it is simply called the “Order of the Builders,” and its objects are:
To promote the mental, moral, physical, and spiritual development of its’ members. To develop their activities in all that relates to individual duty to God and parents. To promote civic, state, and national betterment, by the defense of civil, religious, political, and intellectual liberty, and to provide by means of fraternal association a relationship through which to develop activities aiming for the mutual advancement of those coming within the range of its purpose and plans.
It is reported that in the first year of the Order’s existence over sixty chapters were established in Illinois with a total membership of approximately 4,500, of which William Reisz was one.
We are able to find out a little more about William Reisz and his family. William Reisz was born May 25, 1903 in Chicago. His father was Phillip Reisz (1864-1933). His mother was Theresa nee Kiershler (1875-1936). The family came to the United States from Austria-Hungary in 1899, and became US citizens in 1905. William had three siblings: Albert (1896-1987), Edward (1899-1980) and Elka (1897-1983). Elka married Herman Greenburg in 1920. The 1920 census has the family living at 2707 W. Hirsch Street.
|2707 W. Hirsch Street, Chicago|
Phillip was a beer distributor. Albert owned his own shoe store, and Elka was a stenographer for a fire insurance company. Twenty year-old Edward and sixteen year-old William were not employed, and at least William was probably still in school.
So that brings us up to January 14, 1923 - the death of William Reisz:
It's a little hard to read, but it says that William Reisz of 2707 W. Hirsch Street died of "Acute endocarditis after streptococcus". He worked as a bookkeeper for Fred C. Cramer & Co., manufacturing agents.
So, that is the story of William Reisz, bookkeeper, son and brother and member of the Order of Boy Builders. He must have been a very special guy, so his family wanted to remember him in a very special way - with his own tree tombstone at Jewish Waldheim Cemetery. Their loss gave us another beautiful work of funerary art, and a way for William Reisz to be remembered.
May William Reisz rest in peace.