ILWACO — A member of the Ilwaco Masons lodge has won the Grand Lodge of Washington’s 2018 state ritual contest.

Patrick Webb is senior warden (deputy leader) of Occident Lodge No. 48. He defeated four other finalists at the championships in Wenatchee April 15.

Webb, 60, is the retired managing editor of the Daily Astorian and occasionally writes for the Chinook Observer. He joined the Masons in Camas in 1983 shortly after emigrating from England and maintained his affiliation there as he moved around the U.S. during his newspaper career.

He moved to the Long Beach Peninsula in 1998 and became such a regular visitor at the Ilwaco lodge that he was eventually made an honorary member. The action prompted him to transfer his affiliation to Ilwaco and he almost immediately became part of its leadership team.

The annual ritual contest calls for Masons from Washington lodges to demonstrate proficiency in the ceremonies for conducting meetings and introducing distinguished visitors. As the 2018 champion, Webb will be invited to gavel open a session of the Grand Lodge meeting, coincidentally also in Wenatchee.

Mike L. Thornton, master of Occident Lodge, commended on Webb’s success and said his participation in the Grand Lodge ceremonies in June will reflect credit on the lodge. “This is a great honor for Patrick and correspondingly for Occident Lodge’” he said.

“I’m not surprised that Patrick won the ritual competition as I have sat with him in lodge for many years and I know his ritual work is perfect. I also know, having been involved in this type of competition before, it is not just enough to be letter perfect but you win with your presentation.

“Patrick’s thespian experience, having participated in plays put on in Astoria by the River Theater and Partners for the PAC have given him experience on where to place emphasis and where to place appropriate pauses — this, coupled with his British accent, make his presentations memorable.”

Webb joked that parental correction at the dinner table may have helped, too.

“My mother had watched ‘My Fair Lady’ far too often, so when I was a kid she used to insist my brother and I always spoke properly, pronouncing our consonants and never slurring our words,” said Webb. “It took 50 years, but that guidance finally paid off!”

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