When a brother is welcomed into the Craft, he’s certainly hopeful that he will remain a Mason for as long as possible. But seventy years? That’s surely a long shot!
But that’s the reality for Krum resident Tom Richards, who celebrates seventy years as a Freemason this month. But Tom’s story isn’t just a one off. His father was a Mason for seventy-five years, so a passion for the Craft clearly runs in the family.
Tom lives a peaceful life on acreage in Krum, where he tends to his cattle and maintains a keen interest in his hangar full of airplanes and classic cars. He teaches flying to pilots in training, and is still an active member of his local lodge. At ninety-three years old, that’s quite an achievement!
He’s the longest serving member of Lodge No. 462 in Simpson County, Kentucky, and is also a member of Lodge No. 1453 in Krum. Tom divulges a little about his early life and initial interest in Freemasonry:
“My dad had two sisters who were old maid college professors, and because of them, I was able to go to the college where they taught. Everyone in my family was a Mason, it seemed like. My dad was the master of a lodge when he asked me, ‘Why not become a Mason?’ I told him, ‘Why would I be a Mason?’ I was 21 at the time and really hadn’t given it much thought.”
After a little persuasion from his Dad, and realizing that the Masons in his father’s lodge were high achievers, Tom decided to try Freemasonry. At the same time he joined the Masons, his career flourished, as he landed a job as a flight engineer in the military. Eventually, in 1956, he got a job as a pilot for Delta Airlines, and hasn’t looked back since.
Modestly, Tom reflects:
“I got a pin for 30, 60 and 65 years. My dad lived to be 98. Longevity runs in my family, so I might get my 75-year pin. It’s just been a good bunch of people. You can trust the Masons.”
It’s inspiring to hear of such an impressive Masonic experience. We would love to know of other long-serving Masons and hear about their contributions to the Craft. If you have a story to share with us, please get in touch or submit it in the comments below.