Fifty-Year Mason Honored - The Missourian: Pacific

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Fifty-Year Mason Honored

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Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 6:32 pm | Updated: 7:05 pm, Sat Jun 22, 2013.

Retired carpenter and perennial golfer Lee King was recognized Jan. 12 for 50 years in freemasonry at the Columbia Lodge 534 of the Grand Lodge A.F. & A. M. of Missouri.

In front of his fellow masons, King’s daughter Rita Gray placed the 50-year pin on his lapel.

King, who worked as a carpenter before he retired in 1990, also was honored for 50 years of service with the Carpenters Union Local 1739.

Born in Gerster, Mo., in 1928, he moved to Pacific in 1948 and went to work for Coy’s Cleaners, where “a pretty girl named Virginia Myers” walked past every day.

“I ventured outside,” he said. “We met and the rest is history.”

The couple wed in 1949 and were married 63 years before her death in 2011. They had three children — daughters Rita Gray and Laura Reynolds and son Tracy King. They had five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

King took up golf in 1980 and played regularly with friends Russ Humphrey and Jerry Bay.

“I still try my hand at it,” he said.

King, 85, has been an active member of the Pacific lodge since 1970. He became a master in 1970, and then treasurer of the lodge in 1979, a position he held for the next 30 years. He served as district deputy grand lecturer for two decades.

In what he describes as a rewarding experience, King presented the oratory for funerals of 150 fellow masons.

“I did it pretty darn good,” he said. “At least that’s what they always told me.”

In 1986, when a committee was formed to plan a 100-year anniversary celebration for Columbia Lodge 534, King was on the committee. He also served as treasurer for the 100th year.

The Columbia Lodge was established in 1886. In 1950, members formed the Trowel Club, raised funds and erected the Trowel Building at Union and Columbus streets. The lodge currently has about 80 members. In the mid-1970s membership was 110.

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