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Former teacher honored for 50 years in masons
Former Los Molinos High School teacher Thomas Crook was recognized Wednesday for 50 years in freemasonry at the Orland Laurel Masonic Lodge No. 245 in Orland.
District Inspector Jim McKasson of the Paradise lodge and Worshipful Master Larry Donnelley presented Crook with his 50-year member's pin in a public Grand Honors ceremony.
"Fifty years is a monumental achievement for a mason," Donnelley said. "It is our highest honor."
Crook, 76, who lives in Chico, has not been an active member of the Orland Laurel lodge, but Donnelley said Crook's life exemplifies everything a mason should strive to be.
Masons adopt the fundamental principles of integrity, goodwill and charity as the foundations for their life and character, Donnelley said.
Crook was born and raised in Orland.
He attended Plaza School and graduated from Orland High School in 1954.
He got his teaching credentials at Chico State College in 1958 and taught high school math and science for 40 years until he retired in 1999.
He met his wife Donna at Los Molinos High School, where she was also a teacher.
The couple have been married 46 years.
Crook also taught math for the Shasta Community College outreach program in Los Molinos, Corning and Paskenta, and math at Chico State University from 1999 to 2010, when he retired from education.
Crook was also a member of the accrediting commission for several northern California schools, including Corning, Orland and Williams high schools.
Crook joined the Orland Masonic Lodge in 1962 and achieved the rank of Master Mason the same year.
"My father encouraged me to join the masons," Crook said. "He was not a mason, but he thought very highly of the organization and wanted me to become a member."
While admittedly not very active in the lodge, Crook said he was active in participating in Job's Daughters International and Rainbow while his daughters were growing up and involved.
Job's Daughters and Rainbow are Masonic-sponsored youth organizations for girls and young women.
His granddaughter is a past honored queen of Job's Daughters and his daughters are past worthy advisors for the organizations.
Crook was pinned with the symbol of his 50-year membership by his wife Donna with some of his family in attendance.
All three of his daughters, Imogene Dickerson, Andrea Edson and Gigi Sweeney, all from the Sacramento area, were present along with one son, Cayce Crook and son-in-law John Sweeney.
His nephew, Eric Norlie, past Worshipful Master of the Chico lodge and his family were also present.
The Orland Laurel Lodge is a consolidation of the former Willows and Orland Masonic lodges, which were established in the late 1800s.
The lodge has about 65 members from throughout the Glenn County area.
CONTACT Susan Meeker at 934-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.