On December 21st, 2019 Starr Thompson, PM, was awarded the prestigious 50-Year Golden Veterans’ Award by the Brothers of Conejo Valley Lodge #807.
It has been a custom of the Grand Lodge of California to present to those brothers who have attained a minimum of 50 years of membership in good standing, the Golden Veterans Award. This honor is presented only to the select few who have reached this point in time by their own volition, and at the will and pleasure of our Great Creator.
The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of California has noted with gratification that Worshipful Starr Kenneth Thompson has been a member of a regular Lodge of Masons for 50 years.
This Golden Veterans Award is but a small token of the esteem in which the recipients are held and the affection with which they are regarded. The gold in this pin is used to signify 50 years of membership. The blue face alludes to a righteous conduct, as limitless as the vast expanse of the sky, which is so necessary to maintain that membership. The square and compass and the letter “G” etched on its face, are recognized as an emblem or insignia of our Masonic Fraternity. It is emblematical of that purity of life and conduct which should be displayed by Masons whithersoever dispersed.
Worshipful Starr Thompson was:
- Initiated an Entered Apprentice Mason on June 3rd, 1969 in Conejo Valley Lodge Lodge No. 807;
- Passed to the degree of Fellow Craft on August 5th, 1969; and
- Raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason on March 31st, 1970.
- Worshipful Starr Thompson has also served the Lodge as an Officer in several capacities, and served the Lodge as Master in 1985.
- He is also a recipient of the Hiram Award, which was awarded to him in 1991.
- He is now a member of Conejo Valley Lodge, No. 807
Starr Kenneth Thompson was born on August 30th, 1922 and the son of Officer Kenneth Thompson of the Tuscaloosa Alabama Police Department and Beulah Thompson.
In Starr’s earlier days, he was raised by his grandparents. As Starr grew older, he, like many of this generation were forced to work at a young age, in order to help provide for his family. His days were long, between school and work, but he, like so many others managed to find a way to get it all done.
As he became a teenager, his first love quickly became flying, and he spent as much time as he could around local pilots, learning all that he could. Naturally when WWII began, he immediately gravitated to this branch of service.
After surviving WWII and Korea, he started a family and eventually moved out west to Southern California and became a pilot for the flying tigers, which was the First American Volunteer Group and served with the 14th Air Force in China. The wages of Flying Tigers for pilot officers was around $600 per month, flight leaders were paid $675 per month, squadron leaders were paid $750 per month, and skilled ground crewmen were paid about $250 per month. Just before the Flying Tigers 50th reunion, the U.S. Military Services awarded a Presidential Unit Citation for “Professionalism, dedication to duty, and extraordinary heroism and in 1996 the United States Air Force awarded the Flying Tigers pilots the Distinguished Flying Cross.
In 2017, Starr Thompson was featured in an article on the Fremont Police Association website, titled “A Man for the Ages and an Unlikely Friendship” Starr shared with writer, Mr. Borstrom, how he never really knew much, nor did he have anything of his fathers, by which to remember. That’s when Borgstrom sprang into action.
Borgstrom reached out on social media to friends and family in DC, or traveling there as part of Police Week; asking if anyone could take the time to get an impression of Starr’s dad, Officer Kenneth Thompson, from the memorial wall. The response was overwhelming, and following is an excerpt from the story Mr. Borgstrom shared on his Facebook page:
“When he was 3 years old, he and his mom received a knock on the door, from the local police chief, letting them know the man who was their husband and father, had been shot and killed in the line of duty.
92 years later, because of the generosity of dear friends Rachelle and Randy Dean, I was able to give him the impression of his Dad’s name, from the national memorial wall in D.C. He had no idea it ever existed and has searched desperately to know more of his dad, for many years. I surprised him with it, and explained what it was, and then, we just sat.
Quietly he stared at it, while tears rolled down his face. For what seemed like an eternity he just looked at it; breaking only momentarily to wipe the tears from his eyes. I said nothing (mostly because I myself had a tear or two). It was as if you could see the theater in his mind playing a million versions of “what should have been”.
After a few minutes, I asked him what came to mind. He went on to share all the moments he’d wished he had. All the things he wanted to ask and share with his “daddy”.
And then, somewhat surprisingly, he began to share his thoughts on loyalty, friendships and the things which losing his father, made him appreciate most. “Find a group of fellas and a lady who will be forever loyal, no matter what life may bring your way. You’ll need them, and they’ll need you. They are rare, hard to find and some folks never do. But if you can, like I did, you’ll be one lucky son of a gun”. He shared moments of disappointment, times of betrayal, and how they helped to mold him into the man he’s become today.
An incredible story, over 90 years in the making. The bond of the brotherhood knows no limits, and knows no time. The work that was put into getting this done for Starr, on behalf of his deceased father, is a testament to that commitment of honoring our fallen, their families and the hurt which never fades, even after 90 years, two wars and a lifetime of service. Continue to hold the line, honor the profession and those who’ve paid the ultimate price.
The year was 1969, the year Starr became a Mason.
The year started on a Wednesday, was the 969th year of the 2nd millennium, and the 69th year of the 20th century, and the last year of the 1960s. The year is associated with the first manned landing on the Moon with Apollo 11 and the creation of the internet.
The top hit songs of the day included “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies, “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” by the 5th Dimension, “I can’t get next to you” by the Temptations, and “Honky Tonk Women” by the Rolling Stones.
The top movies of the day included Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Midnight Cowboy, Easy Rider, Hello Dolly!, and The Italian Job.
Popular toys from 1969 included 8 Track Cartridge Players, Aerobat Fun, the Apollo Saturn Moon Rocket Model, and the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang magical car with flip out wings.
In 1969, the Beatles had their last public performance on the roof of Apple Records, the Boeing 747 jumbo jet made its debut, Woodstock attracted more than 350,000 rock-n-roll fans, and the first humans are landed on the moon by the United States, which included astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, who just so happened to be a Mason and member of the Scottish Rite.
In 1969, the first automatic teller machine or “ATM” or “Cash Machine” is installed in the United States, and ARPANET is created (which is the predecessor of the Internet), the first battery powered smoke detector is invented, and the first microprocessor is invented, which opened the way for the computer revolution that followed.
The New York Mets won the world series, New York Jets won the Super Bowl, The Boston Celtics won the National Basketball Association Championship, and the Montreal Canadians won the Stanley Cup.
In 1969, the average price of a home was $15,550, average income was $8,550 per year, The Dow Jones Average was 800 points, An Ounce of Gold was worth $41, the cost of a movie ticket was $1.42, and a Gallon of Gas would have cost you $0.35.
That same year, a young man by the name of Starr Thompson wandered into his local Masonic Lodge and submitted an application. Little did he realize that he was entering upon a life long journey and on December 12th, 2019 we were privileged to recognize the first 50 years of that journey.
On behalf of all the Brethren of Conejo Valley Lodge #807, we congratulate Worshipful Starr Thompson for receiving the 50-year Golden Veterans Award.