Henry S. Richardson, 84, Masons leader

February 19, 1997|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Henry S. Richardson, a longtime member and high-ranking official of the Maryland Order of Masons, died Sunday of complications from Parkinson's disease at North Charles Hospital Center. He was 84.

Mr. Richardson lived in West Baltimore and joined the Masonic Lodge in the early 1940s. He devoted much of his time to the civic-minded fraternal organization during the next five decades as he rose through the group's ranks.

He was a past master of Mount Olive Lodge 25 and was a 33rd Degree Mason, one of the lodge's highest positions.

"He served in every leadership position [of the Masons]," said Samuel T. Daniels, the current grand master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Maryland, an organization of more than 7,500 people.

"He was always well-informed and willing to help in any way he could."

Mr. Richardson worked on several Masonic committees, including helping with the Masons' volunteer efforts with the Red Cross, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and fund raising for the old Provident Hospital.

"Next to his wife and his church, he loved the Masons more than anything else," said James Dorsey, a Mason for more than 40 years. "He was always there for the lodge -- if they had a raffle, he was first in line to pay. If they wanted to honor someone, he was always first and ready to contribute."

Members said one of the highlights of Mr. Richardson's Masonic career was traveling with Baltimore members in the early 1980s to visit Masonic lodges in Germany and England.

"He just had a good old time then," Mr. Dorsey said.

Mr. Richardson also enjoyed playing cards. "He and I became pinochle partners a few years back," Mr. Daniels said. "We played the best of them and held our own, too."

A Baltimore native, Mr. Richardson graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in 1931 and, after working various jobs for four years, began work as a printer at Fort Holabird Industrial Park in 1935. He retired in 1970.

He married Elvera Mickens in 1948.

Services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at Union Baptist Church, 1219 Druid Hill Ave.

In his addition to his wife, he is survived by a sister, Edith Gamble of New York City; two nephews, Douglas Richardson of Baltimore and Dr. J. Laws Mickens Jr. of Baltimore; and two brothers-in-law, Renaldo Gamble of New York City and Dr. J. Laws Mickens Sr. of Baltimore.

Pub Date: 2/19/97

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