ILWACO — Patrick Webb of Long Beach has been elected to serve as master of the Masonic Lodge in Ilwaco during 2019.
He will take over the gavel from Mike Thornton at an open installation ceremony 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8.
Webb, 61, emigrated from his native England in 1980. He joined the Masons in Camas 35 years ago, maintaining his affiliation with that lodge, which later merged with neighboring Washougal, during a newspaper career that took him to five states.
He retired as managing editor of The Daily Astorian in 2014, but still occasionally writes for the Chinook Observer.
Webb transferred his membership to Occident Lodge No. 48 in Ilwaco a couple of years ago and immediately joined its leadership line. Earlier this year, he won the state ritual contest for Washington Freemasons and was honored at the annual Grand Lodge meeting and again at the lodge this month.
“I look forward to continuing the Masons’ tradition of community service on the Peninsula and in Naselle, which includes our Bikes for Books program, youth scholarships and citizenship awards,” Webb said.
With the changeover, Thornton will become senior deacon. Other new officers are Nick Michaud, senior warden; Mike Carmel, junior warden; Beau Morrow, junior deacon; Dwain Jarman, senior steward; Ed Cox, junior steward; and Les Moore, tyler.
Remaining in positions for another year are Glenn Ripley, secretary; Ron Robbins, treasurer; Dobby Wiegardt, chaplain; and Jerry Bruner, marshal.
Two long-time Masons who have served as regional officers in Southwest Washington will be installing masters. They are Doug Puckett of Longview, current district deputy, and Don Watkins of Ocean Shores.
Installing marshal will be Sherman Richmond of Ocean Park, installing secretary will be Jim Mack of Ocean Park and installing chaplain Jim Banas of North River. Richmond and Mack are past masters of Occident Lodge; Banas is former long-time secretary of Gavel Lodge of Raymond, which merged with Ilwaco in 2016.
Freemasonry is one of the oldest fraternities and exists around the world, with members seeking to encourage tolerance of all beliefs while teaching lessons about building character using architectural metaphors. Its members have included 14 U.S. presidents and notable historic figures from Rudyard Kipling to Mozart.
Webb noted that much of their charitable work has been done without fanfare, although in recent years, facing scrutiny from people suspicious of their traditional secrecy, Masons have embarked upon a campaign to “reclaim the narrative” by being more assertive about publicizing what they do. For example, the current leader of the Masons in Washington state is a strong promoter of the Puget Sound Honor Flight, a charity which pays for veterans to fly to Washington, D.C., to view the monuments commemorating their service era. One of Ilwaco’s past masters, Robbins, a U.S. Air Force veteran, works on this program.
Masons are prohibited from actively recruiting members, but welcome inquiries about their activities. For details, contact Carmel at 360-642-3636.