George Orland Braatz was born October 6, 1945 in Toledo, Ohio, the son of Orland and Violet Braatz. In 1955, the family moved to Grand Rapids, Ohio. George graduated in 1963 from Grand Rapids High School. He attended Bowling Green State University, studying journalism, and was graduated cum laude in 1967, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
On June 17, 1967, he married the former Marilyn M. Draper, and they have three children, David, Michael, and Wendy, and five grandchildren.
George was employed in the editorial department of the Toledo Blade newspaper for 10 years and reported on many news events over the years. In 1976, he was promoted to the Blade’s Financial Editor. In 1977, he joined the public relations department of Champion Spark Plug Company, and became Champion’s Manager of Corporate Communications. In 1994, he was named Vice President of Public Relations of Hart Associates, a marketing firm.
In professional activities, he is a Past President of the Northwestern Ohio Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists; a member of the Public Relations Society of America, and served as national president of the Automotive Public Relations Council. He was Chairman of the Public Relations Advisory Committee of the Northwestern Ohio Chapter of the American Red Cross, and a member of the Chapter’s Board of Directors. For two years he served as Chairman of the United Way Campaign at Champion Spark Plug, and has been a member of the Campaign Communications Committee of the Toledo United Way Campaign on several occasions. He is currently scholarship chairman of the alumni chapter of his college fraternity at BGSU.
He is a former member of the board of directors and former treasurer of the Northwestern Ohio Epilepsy Center; he was Chairman of the Grand Rapids Village Bicentennial Committee in 1975-76; was Chairman for three years of the Grand Rapids Area Cub Scout Advisory Committee; and was a youth baseball coach for four years.
He is a former elder, lay leader, and congregational president at Salem United Church of Christ in Toledo, and a former member and lay leader at Hosanna Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids. He is an active member of Grace Lutheran Church, Westerville, Ohio, where he and Marilyn served as newsletter editors and sang in the church choir.
He was raised a Master Mason in Grand Rapids Lodge No. 289, on March 26, 1968, and served as its Worshipful Master in 1973. He was Master again in 1991.
In Scottish Rite Masonry, he joined the Valley of Toledo in 1972, and one year later was appointed into the line of Toledo Consistory, which he served as Commander-in-Chief in 1981-82. He was Coroneted a 33rd Degree Mason in 1980. He was editor of the Valley’s “Masonic Tidings” publication for 30 years. He is also a Past President of the Wood County Scottish Rite Association.
In York Rite Masonry, he was exalted a Royal Arch Mason in Crystal Chapter No. 157, in Bowling Green, in 1972, and served as High Priest in 1977. He was received a Royal and Select Master in Bowling Green Council No. 124, in 1976, and served as Illustrious Master in 1981. He was knighted in Toledo Commandery No. 7, in 1977, and served as Eminent Commander in 1982. Brother Braatz was initiated a member of Ohio Priory, Knights of the York Cross of Honour, in 1983, and is know a Knight of the York Grand Cross of Honour.
In 1985, Brother Braatz became the charter Sovereign Master of Blanchard Valley Chapter, Allied Masonic Degrees, and is also a member and Past Sovereign Master of Key to the Sea Chapter, AMD. In 1994, he served as Grand Master of the Grand Council, Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States. He has received the Knight Commander of the Temple designation from the Grand Encampment, KnightsTemplar, and the Allied Masonic Degrees Knight Grand Cross.
He is a past Worthy Patron of the Grand Rapids Eastern Star Chapter and of Worthington Eastern Star Chapter; and is a member of St. Thomas Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine; Tall Cedars of Lebanon; Zenobia Shrine Temple; O-Ton-Ta-La Grotto; and the Philalethes Society.
He is a Past President of the Downtown Toledo High Twelve Club and in 2002 became a charter member and first president of the Worthington High Twelve Club. He has received the High Twelve International 5-Star Award.
He served on the advisory board of Fallen Timbers DeMolay Chapter in Toledo, and is a recipient of the DeMolay Honorary Legion of Honor distinction. He is an Active Member of the International Supreme Council for the Order of DeMolay. He served one year on the board of the Grand Rapids Rainbow Assembly and is a recipient of the Rainbow Grand Cross of Color.
Both of his sons were active in DeMolay. His oldest, David became State Master Councilor of Ohio in July 1988, and they became the first father-son team in Ohio to respectively head the state’s Grand Lodge and DeMolay at the same time. The younger son, Mike, a Past Master Councilor of Fallen Timbers DeMolay Chapter in Toledo, was also active on the state level. His daughter, Wendy, a Past Worthy Advisor of Grand Rapids Rainbow Assembly, served as Grand Chaplain and Grand Worthy Associate Advisor of Ohio Rainbow.
Brother Braatz was appointed a District Deputy Grand Master in the 11th Masonic District for the years 1976-1977-1978. In 1981, he was appointed in the Grand Lodge Line as Senior Grand Deacon by Most Worshipful Brother Charles B. Moody, and he was subsequently appointed Grand Marshal and Grand Orator. He was elected Junior Grand Warden in 1984, Senior Grand Warden in 1985, and Deputy Grand Master in 1986. On October 16, 1987, he was elected, and on October 17, 1987, he was installed as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ohio.
In January 2000 M. W. Brother Braatz joined the staff of the Grand Lodge of Ohio as Director of Program Development. In October 2000 he was elected Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Ohio. He retired from that position in December 2009.
In September, 2011, M.W. Brother Braatz was named Executive Secretary of Masonic Service Association of North America, with headquarters in Silver Spring, MD.