ILWACO — Patrick Webb, master of the Masonic lodge in Ilwaco, has been given a one-year appointment with the Freemasons’ statewide organization.

Webb has been named state orator for the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Washington.

Webb had a 38-year newspaper career, beginning in his native England and encompassing six newspapers in the United States after he emigrated in 1980. His final full-time job was managing editor of The Astorian.

He has lived in Long Beach since 1998. Since retirement, his writing has appeared occasionally in the Chinook Observer, most recently describing his emotions on the death of his elderly mother to covid-19.

Webb, 63, joined the Masons in Camas in 1983 and is in his second year as the master at Ilwaco. The state orator is the designated speaker at ceremonies when groups merge or lodges are created. Many public buildings and sports stadia have cornerstones that are laid by Masons, whose rituals draw on lessons from the skilled stonemasons guilds who built the gothic cathedrals of Europe.

“My wife and my late mother both said I talk too much,” Webb joked. “I suppose this will be an opportunity to prove them right!”

He noted that many Masonic gatherings planned for this summer and 2021 are in doubt because of the CoronaVirus safety restrictions. Since March, Ilwaco lodge meetings and statewide Freemason gatherings, including the Grand Lodge’s installation of officers in mid-June, been conducted through computer links rather than in person.

Freemasons lodges exist around the world, seeking to improve their members and their communities. Occident 48 in Ilwaco has a youth citizenship program, a schools literacy program, and offers financial help to graduating seniors. Katherine Johnson and Daysi Gonzalez Sebastian from Ilwaco High School and Monte Schell from Naselle were among six honored with scholarships last month.

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