Freemasons on Tuesday remembered one of their most illustrious members, diamond magnate Harry Oppenheimer, who died in a Johannesburg clinic on Saturday.

GE Evans, the master of the Richard Giddy Lodge and a past district grand master of the English constitution in South Africa, paid tribute to "HF Oppenheimer, a most senior honorary member of the Richard Giddy Lodge No 1574 of the English Constitution".

City residents, while well aware of Oppenheimer's involvement and support of numerous activities and charities in Kimberley and the rest of the country, are mostly oblivious to the fact that Oppenheimer was a subscribing Freemason for more than 50 years.

He was inducted into the Richard Giddy Lodge in Kimberley on October 23 1943, after being proposed by his father, Sir Ernest, who was master of the lodge in 1912, and seconded by well-known Kimberley businessman DB Blacklaws.

Harry Oppenheimer was a subscribing member of the lodge from his induction until 1993, when the members elected him an honorary member.

He also belonged to the Richard Giddy Royal Arch Chapter and was a subscribing member of the Adamanta Chapter No 50 of the Antient and Accepted Rite. This Rose Croix Chapter is the oldest in the southern hemisphere.

Oppenheimer went through his first two degrees in Kimberley, and was elevated to Master Mason in Johannesburg on behalf of the Richard Giddy Lodge.