Shriners from Generation to Generation: The Legacy Program

Monday, March 19, 2012
The Likness Family    Being a Shriner has been a family tradition in the Likness family for many years. Bruce (center) has been a Shriner for 45 years and grandsons Drew (left) and Ryan (right) have been members for 20 years. 

For many men, being a Shriner is a family tradition. To honor this tradition, and the importance of brotherhood and family, as well as the 140th anniversary of the organization, the fraternity recently introduced the Shriners Legacy Program. The program honors legacy families and encourages all members to continue the Shrine heritage in their families, keeping the legacy in place from generation to generation.

Meet  three families that have been part of our unique brotherhood for multiple generations, and have  joined the Legacy Program. 
An entertaining family

Nick and Pete Goltra 

Pete Goltra (front) and son Nick are active
members of the Shriners fraternity.

At a young age, Pete Goltra already knew he wanted to be a Shriner. His father, Claude, was a member and Pete enjoyed reading books about the fraternity’s history. At age 21, Pete became a member of Akdar Shriners in Tulsa, Okla.

“I remember seeing my dad’s reaction when I was initiated and how proud he was of me,” said Pete. ”It was definitely a special moment that I will never forget.”

Pete is an officer of the scooter unit and was Akdar’s membership chairman in 2011. During his run as the membership chairman, Akdar Shriners saw an increase in new members for the first time in 11 years.

One member Pete was extremely excited about recruiting was his son, Nick, 25.

Nick enjoys entertaining children as “Repete” the clown, along with other members of the clown unit. His character has won several awards.

“The fraternity has always been a huge part of my life,” said Nick. “It’s extremely fulfilling to share the camaraderie with my dad and at the same time make the world a better place.”

Nick and Pete Goltra were the first recipients of Legacy program pins. 

Family in the fraternity for more than 50 Years

Chances are if you are a male in the Likness family, you are also a Shriner. Leonard J. Likness was a member of Yelduz Shriners of Aberdeen, S.D., for more than 50 years. Leonard’s son, Bruce, has been a Shriner for 45 years and his two grandsons, Ryan and Drew, have been members for 20 years.

“It is a wonderful feeling to be able to help people, while being surrounded by the people you love,” said Ryan. “There is no question that the fraternity has definitely made our family stronger.” Ryan and Drew are heavily involved with the fraternity and both are Past Potentates. Ryan is a member of Yelduz Shriners and Drew is a member of El Zagal Shriners in Fargo, N.D. “My family and this fraternity are the two things I love most in life,” said Bruce. “It makes me so proud to see my sons be such great leaders as Shriners.”

Following in his father’s footsteps

Charles A. “Tad” Claypool’s first memories are of watching his father perform at parades as a member of the horse patrol unit. At age 21, Tad decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and join Antioch Shriners of Dayton, Ohio. 

“It was great being able to share the Shriner tradition with my father,” said Tad.“We didn’t just have a father-son relationship, we were also brothers.”

Tad serves on the Board of Trustees and was Imperial Potentate of Shriners International from 2002-2003. His father was Imperial Potentate from 1979-1980. They are the only father-son combination to hold the position of highest ranking Shriner in the world.

The fraternity’s legacy within the Claypool family continues on, as Tad’s son, Matt, and his son-in-law, Ed Vorrasi, are also Shriners.

“The most enjoyable aspect to being a Shriner for me is the opportunity to meet and become friends with people you otherwise would have never met,” said Tad.“I believe that aspect is what makes this fraternity so special.” 

As we continue to celebrate our families and traditions, as well as the 140th anniversary of Shriners International, we look forward to sharing more stories of legacy families and the positive impact the fraternity has had on their lives.