Tears fell from Patty Quigley’s eyes when she learned that the Mercer Island Masonic Lodge #297 F & AM of Washington was to be renamed for her father, Dean LeClare Quigley.
Patty said she practically grew up in the VFW Post #5760 building, where the Freemasons have met since 1966, when she returned there on the evening of Dec. 2 for the re-dedication ceremony. The local Freemasons formed their chapter in 1953.
Dean, who was a Freemason for 73 years, passed away on Feb. 17 at the age of 97.
“He was one of the most wonderful honorable men I have ever met in my entire life. His loyalty, his love for people. His caring went so far beyond what you often see,” said Patty, whose siblings Alan and Linda also attended the event.
Dean was a dedicated Freemason who was involved in the community’s youth services, Boys and Girls Clubs, Junior Achievement programs and more. He was a war veteran, VFW member and worked for Boeing for 43 years.
“This is a really big deal,” Patty said of the renaming ceremony, adding that the lodge had to submit an application and have it approved by the Grand Lodge of Washington. The Washington grand master reconstituted the lodge to honor Dean during the ceremony.
As lodge members prepared for the ceremony, they greeted Patty and her siblings and reminisced about their father.
Patty remembered one of her dad’s favorite sayings, “It’s the ‘sizzle’ when you’re selling something,” when he had to prove to the military that they needed to purchase commercial planes during his Boeing days.
John Gebhart, a 13-year member of the local Freemasons, said that Dean remained an active member — with a capital A — until his death. He was the master twice, secretary for 30 years, district deputy of the grand master for District 7, and they created a mentor position for him after learning about the role during Gebhart’s visit to a London lodge.
“Personality-wise, No. 1, he would always greet everybody with some kind of a joke. His icebreaker was that he wanted to start the relationship with a smile and a laugh,” said Gebhart, adding that Dean handed out “senior citizen money clips,” which consisted of a penny glued onto a snap-top of a soda can.
Dean also passed out interesting books and articles and notes from other Freemason meetings he attended to generate ideas to be implemented into the local lodge’s ritual.
“It was his commitment to helping us learn and understand our craft (of Freemasonry),” said Gebhart, noting that their ritual is similar to the Catholic mass’s Apostles Creed, when congregants state their beliefs and faith.
According to the lodge’s website, “Freemasons of Washington will be recognized as a relevant and respected Fraternity, committed to attracting and retaining all men of high quality who strive for self improvement and the opportunity to make a positive difference in their community.” Modern Freemasonry dates back to the formation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717, from which the United States’ first lodges were chartered.
Gebhart said that Dean was like a walking encyclopedia regarding the numerous and deeply felt lessons within the lodge’s ritual.
“You start Dean talking about it and he wouldn’t stop. He had kind of a living knowledge of this stuff. It was a little overwhelming,” said Gebhart, who added that Dean was instrumental in helping him advance through his Freemason degrees.