John Ray Cantrell was born the son of Glenn Ray and Mary Elizabeth Cantrell on March 5, 1955 in Reidsville, North Carolina. He was educated in Hendersonville City Schools and Blue Ridge Technical College, located in Hendersonville, N.C. He worked for Eaton Corporation and Rockwell International while in North Carolina. He is retired from the City of Kingsport Engineering department as a Drafting Technician.
Brother Cantrell is married to the former Cindy Pegram. They have two children, Nicholas and Peyton.
John is an active member of Christ Fellowship Church, serving on several support teams.
He was raised in William G. Hill Lodge No.218 A.F. & A.M. Raleigh, N.C., on July 20, 2005. After moving to Tennessee, he demitted and joined Kingsport Masonic Lodge No. 688 in April 2006. He is a life member, having served as Worshipful Master in 2011. He served the Grand Lodge as Worshipful Senior Grand Deacon in 2016-2017 under MWGM Billy R. Cutlip.
Exalted in Lynn Bachman Chapter No.195 on April 15, 2006, Companion Cantrell is a life member and served as Excellent High Priest in 2009. He received the Order of High Priesthood in 2009. He served the Grand Chapter as Excellent Grand Master of the First Veil in 2014-2015 under MEGHP Robert G. Officer.
He was greeted in Kingsport Council No.117 on April 15, 2006. He is a life member, having served as Illustrious Master in 2013. He received the Order of the Silver Trowel in 2013.
Sir Knight Cantrell was knighted in Kingsport Commandery No.33 on April 22, 2006. He is a life member and served as Eminent Commander in 2012, receiving the Knight Crusaders of the Cross that same year. John was awarded the Membership Achievement Medal from the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar USA in 2013.
Other Masonic affiliations include Tennessee Priory No.15 Knights York Cross of Honor; the Knoxville Scottish Rite Bodies, decorated KCCH November 13, 2011; Past Governor and current Secretary of Northeast Tennessee York Rite College No.153, receiving the York Rite Sovereign College Service Award, Gold Honor Award and Order of the Purple Cross. Saint Julian Conclave Red Cross of Constantine; Past Sovereign Master of Jacob R. Denny Council No.459 Allied Masonic Degrees; Past Excellent Chief of W.W. Cannon No.96 Knight Masons of the USA; Charles Newton Bush Past Master’s Association; Past President and current Secretary of Upper East Tennessee York Rite Association. Holy Manger Tabernacle XLVIII Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priest and Alfred the Great Conclave Masonic Order of the Pilgrim Preceptors. Masonic Order of the Four Black Llamas.
In the Grand Council, Companion Cantrell was elected Grand Captain of the Guard on March 21, 2017 and has progressed each year being elected Most Illustrious Grand Master of Cryptic Masons of Tennessee March 23, 2021.