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MWBro. Richard Mecartea had requested “no funeral or memorial service” in his will. Accordingly, the family has canceled the scheduled memorial service for this coming Saturday. He will be buried at the Tahoma National Cemetery at 11:30am this Friday.
Richard A. Mecartea
8/9/22 – 1/23/17
Most Worshipful Brother Richard A. Mecartea was born in Mt. Vernon on August 9, 1922, to James and Pearl Mecartea. He shared his childhood with four brothers and three sisters. Our distinguished Brother attained his early education in the Mt. Vernon and Marblemount School Systems in Skagit County. He later moved to Seattle where he graduated from Franklin High School. During WWII he served in the U.S. Army Field Artillery and rose to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant. His military experience included serving as an Infantry Artillery Forward Observer in the South Pacific.
Following his honorable discharge from military service, he attended the University of Washington and majored in Civil Engineering. He worked during the summer vacations for a mechanical contractor, and this was the beginning of his life-long vocation in this field. He held positions as Estimator, Project Supervisor, and Project Engineer on some significant construction programs, including military projects in Alaska, the Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona; a natural gas distribution system in Anchorage, Alaska; a five hundred mile pipeline and related pumping stations in Iran; major hospitals in Seattle – Veterans, Swedish, Providence, and University of Washington; the major reconstruction of SeaTac International Airport; and construction of the Boeing Auburn and Everett facilities. Our Brother, upon completing his formal education at Seattle Community College and Purdue University, taught night school for many years at Edison Vocational School, Seattle Community College, and Renton Vocational Technical School.
Our b\Brother’s Masonic career began June 14, 1957, when he joined Elliott Bay Lodge No. 257, in Seattle and was enrolled a Master Mason March 4, 1958. After progressing through the Lodge line, he served two years as Worshipful Master of his Lodge in 1964 and 1965.
His long service in our Grand Lodge began when he was appointed Deputy of the Grand Master for District No. 5 in 1984 by Most Worshipful Brother Matt Martin. He served continuously in appointed positions including Grand Lecturer, Grand Marshal, Junior and Senior Grand Deacons, and numerous Committee positions including Chairman of the Future Planning and By-Laws Committees, until he was elected Junior Grand Warden in June 1997.
During his tenure as Grand Master in 2000-2001 he preached a theme of “Shaping the Future” while at the same time “Improving the Present” by becoming involved in our communities by revealing who we are, what we do, and what we stand for.
Most Worshipful Brother Dick and his wife, Barbara, celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary during his year as our Grand Master. They have been blessed with two daughters, Judith and Patricia, four grandsons, and one granddaughter. Dick and Barbara were very proud of their family. He was active in the International Order of Rainbow for Girls during the time his daughters were involved in this young women’s organization. He served as Rainbow Dad on several occasions, was on the Adult Advisory Board for six years, and Chairman of that Board for three years. In recognition of his dedicated service, he is a recipient of the Rainbow Grand Cross of Color.
Other Masonic organizations in which he was active are Nile Temple of the Shrine, Royal Order of Scotland, Angora Grotto, Order of Eastern Star, Walter F. Meier Lodge of Research No. 281, and Seattle Valley of Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. He was designated 32° Knight Commander Court of Honor in Scottish Rite, receiving this distinction in 2001 during the celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction. He is also a member of the National Sojourners and Heroes of ’76.
Our Past Grand Master has always been a true student of Freemasonry. He has consistently lived by our philosophy and worked hard to promote the principles and tenets in his daily life and to others. His years of skill and experience, and his calm and steady demeanor proved most helpful to each Grand Master he served. He has always been there to offer his assistance and expertise when needed, and will be long remembered as a faithful worker and leader in the quarries of Freemasonry.
Our Brother passed to the Celestial Lodge January 23, 2017. His Lady Barbara pre-deceased him May 1, 2009. He is survived by his second wife, Ophelia, daughters Judith (Lawrence) and Patricia, 5 grandchildren, great-grandchildren and many relatives.
A new class has been added to the Secretary, Treasurer and Temple Board Training schedule. This is a great opportunity for anyone who is currently serving in one or more of these positions or is thinking about making themselves available in the future. We look forward to seeing you there. To sign up for the free training, please call Chantal at the Grand Lodge office (253.625.7891) or click on one of the options below:
Sat, January 28, 2017
11:00 AM – 4:00 PM PST
Bremerton Lodge, No. 117
878 5th St.
Bremerton, WA 98337
Additional dates and locations will be added as they are confirmed.
Due to the fact than many brothers and lodges have expressed that they would be interested in help with their lodge websites, I’ve had my company, which built and maintains the Grand Lodge website, put together special packages to be available to all lodges in Washington to help out.
Below are the details, and if anyone thinks their lodge might be interested, they can fill out the following form, and we will send more information for your lodge to vote on at your next stated meeting.
-Danny Done, co-chair of the Grand Lodge technology committee.
174 lodges remain out of the 318 that have existed in our state.
Another way to look at it is nearly half of the lodges that have existed in Washington state have ceased to exist.
That’s a hard concept to understand for those who run around screaming, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling! Freemasonry is dying!”. No, no, no. Freemasonry is not dying; Lodges die. Just like fruit falling off of a tree and its OK.
I saw this happening in my Lodge (Verity 59) a few years ago except I realized that there was an opportunity at stake. Another way to look at it is my lodge was in a crisis and “crisis” is a Latinized form of the Greek word “krisis” which meant, the “turning point in a disease”. We were certainly at that turning point: either let the Lodge die or double down on our labor. We chose the latter and its been one of the best things I’ve ever done personally.
There I was with a handful of other brothers grasping onto that fruit as best we could to not let it slip away. Perhaps to add to the analogy above, if a Lodge is the fruit then the branch holding it is its membership. When a branch dries out (loses membership) the fruit withers and falls to the ground. But if you don’t have any nutrients getting to that branch, then it will be growing one sad piece of fruit. The key was not to hold onto the fruit, but to feed it and supply it with what it needed to grow.
As I found during this crisis, there is a lot of work that goes into supplying nutrients to a lodge. Not just the the organization but even the building itself. There is no way one person can effectively and harmoniously do it all. It has to be done as a team, and each person on that team brings his special talents to the Lodge. Those talents can and should become the nutrients which sustain the Lodge. When you bring together a group of brothers in the work its like bees bringing together all the local sources of pollen to make the honey in a hive. A hive working through the efforts of one worker bee cannot be sustained, it takes the collective efforts of the whole hive!
Fortunately before we had this crisis there was this little inspiring book that came out. It was called ‘Observing the craft‘ (2010) and it changed my thinking forever by asking this simple question: “Would George Washington want to sit in my lodge?” It was a wake up call to what we were doing. My answer was a clear and definite NO. It turns out that this “ho hum lodge experience” was common across the nation and since this little book was released, it has lead to the development of a new wave of consciousness in our gentle craft.
We needed to stop thinking that there was something wrong with Freemasonry and instead realized we were just one piece of fruit on the tree and we needed to focus on that one fruit. We needed to work to improve the overall experience within our lodge so that when people were attracted to its fruit, they would find something like nothing else in life.
There is a reason Freemasonry has been around since time immemorial. Freemasonry fosters and promotes the growth of men. We become the fruit of our Lodges and the fraternity overall if we truly practice its teachings.
It’s time that we use our Lodges for what they are meant for: environments where we are inspired to grow! Grow as men and as Lodges. We waste so much time talking about what we should do instead of just doing it.
A lodge doesn’t need 500 members to function. It needs 10. 10 brothers who are willing to put in time and work. With these 10 active members, a Lodge can maintain itself. With 10 members, a Lodge can practice true philosophical and fraternal Freemasonry.
The next time someone starts to talk negatively about the craft in your lodge give him this scenario. If we Washington masons are down to 174 from a total of 318 lodges, we are still more successful than the average profit driven restaurant. Consider how many 1,000s of restaurants have opened and closed in Washington. According to a study by Ohio State University, 60% of restaurants do not make it past their first year, and 80% go under in five years. We Freemasons must be doing something right because we have lodges still active today that have existed prior to Washington the territory let alone a state!! (See Olympia Lodge No. 1 history). Olympia Lodge is not only the oldest Masonic Lodge in the state, it is its oldest organization period. We need to take pride and ownership of these facts. We need to realize it has taken countless brothers years upon years silently laboring in the quarries to put together this beautiful structure we now get to call our own.
Instead of looking at our Fraternity in a pessimistic way, we need to look at the positives. If we want to make it a better, richer experience, we need to look at what we are contributing to our own Lodge. Then when that new candidate comes along and discovers Freemasonry, he will find that its fruit is like nothing else in the world.
They say Freemasonry is dying, that its glory days are long past. They say that people are just too busy for our gentle craft and worse yet, that the younger generations of today have no interest in becoming masons. What if statements like these were really just excuses for the real problems that we face? What if the truth is that men today do come to our portals seeking the magic and mystery they hear about our fraternity and instead what they find is a poorly attended, mismanaged organization that is neither welcoming nor fulfilling?
What men expect to happen when they first enter a Masonic temple is of course dependent on variables we have no control over. What men actually experience is a different story and not only is it something we control but it is our responsibility to control it! From the very first moment someone knocks on our door whether it be through an email, a phone call or a brief conversation in passing, it should be treated as a serious inquiry. Even if the person is never heard from again, it is our responsibility to create a serious dialogue about the craft. Why? Because if it is not serious to us, then how can we hope to bring in serious candidates from the outside world amidst its concerns?
Look around at the modern world. We have access to more types of entertainment and excitement today than could have been imagined even a few decades ago. Our progress with technology has brought us many useful things, but nothing can compare to the power of the internet. On an information and communications level, it has completely connected us across the globe to an extent never experienced before in human history. To take it a step further, many people today are equipped with smart phones that are arguably the most powerful tool man has ever carried around with him. With a few taps of the screen, you can literally see, learn and do anything, not to mention instantly communicate with countless people! If someone were so inclined, they could even (tongue in cheek) obtain the secrets of Freemasonry! <Insert sinister music>
<Transition to uplifting peaceful music> The good news for Freemasonry is that with all these advents of technology, mankind still grasps for something to hold on to in the darkness of his own existence. Indeed, with all our modern technology, we are still searching for meaning in our lives just as we did millennia ago. How we discover “meaning” today depends on a multitude of conditions but the energy we put into finding it constitutes our very lives. To put it simply, who we are is still very much defined by what we do.
Some men find themselves in sports or in raising a family or in their career. Others find themselves in their marriage, a hobby or wealth. For those men who can’t find all that they are searching for in the material world, many are driven inward in search for something more meaningful called truth. In Freemasonry we call this truth, “Light”. When a mason begins his search for Light, his progress is dependent on two factors. One is his direct access to men already in possession of it and two is his willingness to work for it (as the others did).
This willingness to work and the desire to improve one’s work are what really distinguish a master from an apprentice and an initiate from the profane. When we as masons actively take up this work, we make Freemasonry a verb and continue the Great Work that truly brings glory to God and this ancient fraternity.
While a smart phone is the most powerful tool that technology has brought us, one of the things that it cannot do for us is this work. The internet can bring candidates to the door of a Masonic Lodge, but it cannot and will not ever be able to initiate a man into true Masonic light. Only active Freemasons can do that and as long as there are those willing to engage in this work, Freemasonry will maintain its sacred position in the world.
MEMORANDUM for Lodges
Subject: Fires in Eastern Washington
Brothers this has been a devastating fire season in Eastern Washington and now it
is time for us as Masons to help our fellow Brothers and citizens to the best of our ability.
An emergency declaration was declared by the President of the United States to
help with the relief. The order specifically covers Asotin, Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Klickitat, Okanogan, Pend Orielle, Skamania, Spokane, Stevens, and Yakima counties. It also brings aid to the Colville, Spokane, Kalispel, and Yakima tribes.
Thousands of residents have been displaced with many homes and businesses destroyed by the fires. The Twisp fire alone covers over 250 square miles, the same fire that took the lives of three fire fighters. My prayers go out to the families and to all those impacted by this devastation.
The recovery will take many years and we as Masons should make it our priority to help. I have directed that $1,000.00 be allocated from the Charity Fund to support this effort. The Fund is named the 2015 Fire Relief Fund. All money collected will be used first to help Masons and Lodges, and next the various communities impacted. Please make checks payable to the Grand Lodge of Washington and on the memo line put “2015 Fire Relief Fund”.
Brothers, now is the time to make a difference.