Anthony John Haines was born in Bushey on 24th June 1932 and attended local schools before doing his National Service in the Army.
Having served his country he went on to work at Sun Printers as a compositor until he retired.
Tony’ s love of jazz was well known and he and his best pal the late W. Bro John Ausden were regular attendees at various local jazz clubs.
As well as listening to music Tony loved to sing and those who has the privilege of hearing him sing the Masters Song at Installation meetings would vouch for the quality of his rendition of this most emotional work.
Tony was a Past Master of North Watford Lodge 6918 , a member of Herts Installed Master Lodge 4090, P.Z, of Watford Chapter 404, P.Z. of Old Fullerian Chapter 4698 and a member of North Watford and Oxhey Chapter 6918, as well as being a regular visitor to many other Watford Centre Lodges and Chapters.
Apart from his sister who lives in Australia and who Tony had not seen for many years he had no close family, apart from his ex-wife Barbara whom he divorced many years ago but with whom he kept in close contact as they remained very good friends.
It was therefore a great surprise for him when his Masonic friends from several Lodges arranged a surprise 80th birthday dinner for him at the Hall when Pearl and her team served a delicious vegetarian dinner attended by nearly 30 people.
Tony chuckled when he was told that nobody knew that the courses were all vegetarian and all present,even the omnivores, commented how tasty the meal was before they knew the truth !
At his funeral Tony was carried in by six Masonic pall bearers led by W. Bro Rana Bains W.M Watford 404 with W. Bro Peter Scott Mentor Watford 404 walking behind carrying a V.S.L which was placed on the coffin, bearing a square and compasses, over which was draped Tony’s Provincial apron.
This was to the music of Bro Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s funeral music through which, if one listens carefully, contains Masonic knocks.
The service opened with the Opening Ode and continued with W.Bro Dallas Banfield delivering the first reading from Ecclesiastes 1 and W. Bro Brian Handley delivering the second reading from the Gospel according to St John.
One of Tony’s closest friends W.Bro Mike Green delivered a very sincere, interesting and in parts amusing Eulogy which gave an insight into Tony’s quiet, unassuming and generous nature. Mike said that he was in every way a true Freemason and a real gentleman.
As Tony loved his jazz it was only appropriate that a track from Ella Fitzgerald singing Autumn leaves was played.
Our very own Bro Fr David Stevenson conducted the service on Masonic funeral lines with passion, sincerity and much meaning for us all.
Everyone who attended from many Lodges and Chapters which meet at Watford, one Brother having travelled down from Scotland specially to be there, were overwhelming in praise for the thought and work which Bro David had obviously put into organising and arranging the service
Such was the esteem is which Tony was held.
The service concluded with the Closing Ode and before the final committal prayers Bro David handed back the V.S.L to W. Bro Peter and delivered Tony’s apron into the safe-keeping of W. Bro David Evans who had been a regular visitor to Tony over many years when it was difficult for him to get out. When Tony was in hospital he had a frequent daily visitor, Bro Nick Tessier, who works at Watford General and Tony looked forward to his personal delivery of the daily newspaper by Nick.
The service over and pleasantries exchanged outside of the Chapel it was back to Halsey Hall for drinks and a buffet laid on by Jeff and the opportunity of chatting about our dear friend Tony with many interesting and fond reminiscences.
We shall always remember him with much love and affection because he was somebody who we can all say brought something into our lives which would be all the poorer had we not known him.