Bernard E. Rothman was born on April 18, 1921 in Baltimore Maryland and reared on Ellamont Street. The son of Samuel Rothman, a Jewish vest manufacturer who immigrated from Russia, and his wife Ida Rothman, a homemaker and a New York City native who kept the books of the business, he attended Forest Park High School in Baltimore. After graduating in 1938, he attended the Pennsylvania State College in Elkins Park. In 1942, he received his Doctor of Optometry degree. Dr. Rothman also studied at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore; Ballio College, Oxford, England; and Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana.
On October 13, 1942 during World War II, Dr. Rothman enlisted in the army as a private in the Branch Immaterial or General Officers branch on the Army. He served for four years with some oversea assignments. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 1946 with the rank of Lieutenant, after which he continued to serve his country in the Army Reserves until retiring in 1966 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Licensed to practice optometry in Maryland, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania and Virginia, he established his medical practice in 1947 on Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland. In 1967 he moved his practice to Spring Street until his retirement in 2001.
In 1949 Dr. Rothman married Elaine Keroes of Washington, DC. They have three daughters: Dr. Wendy Rothman and twins Jan and Jill Rothman.
During his professional career, Dr. Rothman taught optometry as the head of a clinical instruction team in the Pennsylvania State College. He has also originated a safety eyewear program at the Naval Surface Weapons Center in White Oak. In 1962 Maryland Governor J. Millard Tawes appointed Dr. Rothman to serve on the board of the Maryland Board of Examiners in Optometry. He served on the board from 1962 to 1978. In 1971 Dr. Rothman became president a position he held until 1978. He is also a founding member and past director of the Silver Spring Kiwanis Club.
Dr. Rothman’s Masonic career started in 1947 when brother Rothman became a member of Amicable Lodge, No. 25 (now Amicable-St. Johns Lodge, No. 25) under the Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Maryland (EA 01/23/47, FC 01/30/47, MM 02/27/47). In 1949 he moved his membership closer to his home in the newly establish Cornerstone Lodge, No. 224 A. F. & A. M. serving as the Charter Junior Warden and later as Worshipful Master in 1951. He also served as the Treasurer and the Secretary of the Lodge.
Brother Rothman was appointment Senior Grand Steward of the Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Maryland by Grand Master John D. Hospelhorn in 1954. He was appointed a Grand Inspector in 1956, and later Secretary of the Board (1959), Vice-President (1960) and finally President of the Board of Grand Inspectors for the State Area (1963). He had the distinction to be the Grand Representative of Brazil (Minas Cerais) and later Grand Representative of Kentucky on behalf of the Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Maryland.
In November of 1974 Brother Rothman was elected Right Worshipful Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Maryland. In November 20, 1978, he was elected Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M of Maryland and was re-elected on November 19, 1979. On November 17, 1980 he was elected Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Maryland and was re-elected for this position on November 16, 1981.
On May 1948, brother Rothman became a 32nd Degree Mason of Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite (AASR) of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction. In November 1981 he was invested as Knight Commander Court of Honor and on October 1989 was Coroneted 33rd Honorary Grand Inspector General. On August 1990, he received the appointment as the Deputy Sovereign Grand Inspector General of Maryland and on October 1991, he elected as the Sovereign Grand Inspector General of Maryland. He held this position until 2001. During that period, he oversaw the expansion and growth of the Scottish Rite Speech and Language Center located on North Charles Street that assists children with speech and language difficulties from all over the State. It was during his time as S.G.I.G that he received his 50 year award from the Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Maryland.
Dr. Rothman was a member of James F. Allen R.A. Chapter No. 33 Rockville, Maryland, King Solomon Council No. 13, Royal and Select Master Rockville, Maryland. He served as Grand Chaplain of the Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons of Maryland. He also served as the Grand Representative to the Supreme Royal Arch Chapter in the State of Israel.
Other Masonic affiliations include Noble of Almas Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S. Washington DC; created a Noble Northwest Shrine Club; honorary life member of Boumi Temple Baltimore, Maryland; Knight of Mecca and Ocean City Shrine Club; Eastern Star. Brother Rothman is also a Charter member of Fudda Nabi Grotto, M.O.V.P.E.R. and honorary life member of Yetz Grotto, M.O.V.P.E.R. Baltimore Maryland.
Brother Rothman served as the director of the George Washington Memorial Association (1984-1987). He received the Henry Price Medal award presented by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. On June 1982 he received the Gold Honor Award of the York Rite Sovereign College of North America. On May 1984 he received the International Grand Council Royal and Select Masters Cryptic Mason of the Year Award. He was an honorary member of St. Elmo Commandery No. 12, Knights Templar; honorary member of Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Maryland; honorary member of the International Supreme Council, Order of DeMolay. He held honorary membership to The Golden Eagle Square and Compass Club and Naval Ordnance Laboratory Square Club. He was also an honorary member of eleven Maryland Masonic Lodges and one in District of Columbia. He was awarded the Order of DeMolay Legion of Honor Honorary as well was named to the Honorary Order of Kentucky Colonels by the Governor of Kentucky. He also has received two Resolutions from the Senate of the State of Maryland (one on his Election as Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master) and a citation from the Governor of Maryland.
On March 31, 2003, a few days before his 82nd birthday, brother Rothman passed away of congestive heart failure at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville, Maryland. Illustrious Hans R. Wilhelmsen, 33rd, Deputy Sovereign Grand Inspector General of Maryland delivered an eloquent eulogy during Rose Croix and Masonic Services, which were held at the Hebrew Congregation of Washington DC. In attendance were Ill Brothers C. Fred Kleinknecht, Grand Commander, David Kruger, Past S.G.I.G in Virginia, John E. Moyers S.G.I.G in Kentucky and a large number of Brethren, friends and guests.