Most Worshipful Brother James Louis D’Acosta grew up in a Masonic household. He was born in Mexico City on April 7, 1927. At age 18, during his freshmen year in college, he was drafted and served in the Pacific during WW II in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of Sergeant and serving as Regimental Radio Chief for the 35th Infantry Regiment of the 25th “Lightning” Division. His principle service was in Otsu, near Kyoto, in occupied Japan, while combat veterans returned home. Following the close of hostilities, he returned to Texas Tech University graduating in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering.
Interestingly, both he and his older brother, Emil, attended Texas Tech, where each respectively found and married their future wife. Upon graduation from Texas Tech, Brother James L. D’Acosta commenced a 36 year career with General Electric Company. His employment at GE brought him full circle with an assignment in Mexico City, Mexico, where he settled with his wife, Levora Nell Manning. The D’Acostas lived in Mexico from 1952 until 1969. Their union was blessed with three children, Carl Emil, Alice Ann, and James Wade, all of whom were born in Mexico City as well. Their family is also blessed with numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. In Mexico, he was assigned to General Electric’s affiliate in Mexico City as a project engineer in 1952; there he initiated manufacturing of sixty-five models of a unique dual frequency design of fractional horsepower motors. He then spent fourteen years in a series of management positions leading to vice president, secretary and manager of Relations and Administration for General Electric de Mexico, S. A.
He was an active member of his church and, at the urging of church friends, he applied for membership in Toltec Lodge No.1 where he was initiated on September 29, 1958. He was passed to
Fellowcraft on May 18, 1959, and raised by his father, Emilio, on August 8, 1959. He moved through the chairs quickly and was elected Worshipful Master of Toltec Lodge in 1964. He became a member of Anezeh Temple Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine in 1960.
In 1967, Brother D’Acosta was elected Deputy Grand Master of the York Grand Lodge of Mexico. The Grand Master that year, MWB Weldon Thomas, spent much of his time in San Antonio where he was preparing to move, so many of the duties of Grand Master fell on the shoulders of Brother D’Acosta. In 1968, at the age of 41, Brother James Louis D’Acosta was elected the second youngest Grand Master of the York Grand Lodge of Mexico, F. & A.M. and served with distinction. During his year as Grand Master, he attended the Conference of Grand Masters of North America in Washington, D.C. In June, in celebration of Saints Johns’ Day, he arranged a gathering that included the officers from the Supreme Council AASR Consistory No. 1, Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons of the U.S. and Mexico, Ivanhoe Commandery of Knights Templar, Mexico Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine, Knights of the York Cross of Honor, Aztec Chapter of the Eastern Star, Order of DeMolay, Knights of Columbus, Anezeh Temple AANOMS and members of the board of governors for the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children.
Also, during the Mexico 1968 Summer Olympics, he arranged and presided over an official visit and joint meeting of the lodges in Mexico City to welcome the visiting Masons who were Olympic coaches and judges from many countries including England, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. (California and Ohio). He served on various Grand Lodge committees and authorized the Spanish language degree ritual for use by Aztec Lodge. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Mexico City Shriner’s Hospital of which his father was the founding Chairman.
He was a founding member of the National Association of Industrial Relations Managers and of the Round tables on Industrial Safety in Mexico. Returning to the United Sates in 1969, he established the company’s Dallas office for college recruiting in eight southwestern states. He was a charter member and the second chairman of the Industrial Engineering Advisory Board at Texas Tech University. He has served as secretary and conference chairman for the Southwest Placement Association. He co-founded what is now the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering. During the 1970’s, he organized and led several General Electric Management Practices Course sessions in the United Sta
tes and played a major role in staging management courses in Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela which eventually served more than 1,250 managers. In 1974, he was named Program Manager on the Professional Recruiting Staff and which was subsequently located at General Electric Headquarters at Fairfield, Connecticut. He achieved professional status as a senior member of the American Institute of Industrial Engineers and his accomplishments were recognized by Texas Tech University when he was named a Distinguished Engineer in 1980. The travel involved with his vocation curtailed his Masonic activities from 1969 on.
He was honored and pleased to raise his son, James Wade D’Acosta as a Master Mason in Ashlar Aspetuck Lodge No. 142 on March 12, 1997 and has enthusiastically followed his son’s progression through the chairs to Worshipful Master of Fidelity-St. John’s Lodge No. 3, Fairfield.
His hobbies include light woodworking, especially making lamps as special keepsakes either from champagne bottles or from pieces of discarded wood from important structures. For example, he has made several lamps from discarded wood taken from the spire of The Congregational Church in New Canaan when the spire was repaired. He is also a voracious reader and as such has been a member of a reading group throughout his retirement his preferred genre being American history and biography. And he writes essays about incidents and episodes of his life and about his family and is expecting private publication of his collected essays for distribution to friends and family by Christmas.
In every community in which he has resided, he has held a leadership in the protestant church where he lives. This was true at Union Evangelical Church in Mexico City, Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas, and The Congregational Church in New Canaan. In New Canaan, he has served on every church committee including heading the Board of Deacons and even overseeing the church office. Throughout his retirement he has been an active member of The Senior Men’s Club of New Canaan which he has served as President.
In recognition of his long and continued service to his church, his community, the engineering profession and, most especially to the Masonic Fraternity, the Grand Lodge of Connecticut, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons is pleased to present to Most Worshipful Brother James Louis D’Acosta the Pierpont Edwards Medal in Bronze for Distinguished Masonic Service.
Written By: James Wade D’Acosta