ORLAND, Maine — Leroy Flanders, 96, was presented with a 75 year membership star for three-quarters of a century of active membership with the Masonic organization’s Rising Sun Lodge 71.
The Grand Lodge of Maine master James Ross presented Flanders with the award on Sunday afternoon in front of a group of about 40 of Flanders’ friends, family and fellow Masons.
“I have heard he is a man with … much integrity,” Ross said of Flanders. “He’s revered by so many in his town as a good, true and thoughtful person.”
For Flanders, the ceremony and celebratory lunch was a surprise. He said the event made him feel old, but he was pleased.
Flanders said that he valued the feeling of companionship that he got from being a Mason.
“It’s interesting and there’s a lot to it if you pay attention and get into it,” he added.
Eric Stover, 70, another Mason, said that though 70-year pins are fairly common, he is unaware of any other 75-year pin.
Flanders said he worked as a carpenter, served in the armed forces and worked at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, among other jobs. His sister, Maple Conary, said he was born in Dexter, but has also lived in New Hampshire and Arizona. He returned to Maine at least 30 years ago to take care of his mother and now lives at the Penobscot Nursing Home.