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John William "Colonel" Harrelson Passes Away

Today in Masonic History John William "Colonel" Harrelson passes away in 1955.

John William "Colonel" Harrelson is an American educator.

Harrelson was born in Double Shoals, North Carolina. He would attend North Carolina State University. He would graduate in 1909 with a Bachelor of Arts in Engineering and a Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1915. He would receive an honorary degree Doctor of Engineering in 1954.

In 1909, Harrelson would begin working at the North Carolina State University as an instructor of mathematics. During World War I he would take a leave of absence from the school to serve as a Colonel, leading to his nickname.

In 1929, Harrelson was appointed as the head of the State Department of Conservation and Development. He would leave the position in 1933 to head the Mathematics Department at North Carolina State University.

In 1934, Harrelson was appointed as "Dean of Administration" at North Carolina State University. He would be the schools 6th chief executive and the first alumnus to take the position. During World War II, Harrelson would see the establishment of the School of Design and the School of Forestry. In 1945, his title was changed to Chancellor.

In 1953, Harrelson would retire and become the schools archivist.

On the evening of March 12th, 1955, Harrelson was going to make a speech about D.H. Hill to dedicate the new library bearing his name. When Harrelson got to the microphone he was not able to complete his first sentence before he collapsed. He was rushed to the emergency room. He passed away that night from a cerebral hemorrhage.

Harrelson would join William G. Hill Lodge No. 218 in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1909.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.