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Turlock Masonic Lodge celebrates 75-year member
Ken Nordell
California Grand Master John E. Trauner was in Turlock on Friday to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Ken Nordell, who has been part of Freemasonry for 75 years (Photo contributed).

Ken Nordell marked a milestone within Freemasonry that few ever reach.

The 98-year-old Nordell has been a member of the Turlock Masonic Lodge #236 for 75 years.

A special celebration was held for Nordell at the Turlock Masonic Lodge #236 on Friday and included the presentation of a 75-year pin by John E. Trauner, the Grand Master of California.

Nordell was born in 1921 in Denair. He graduated high school in 1940, and married his wife Bonnie in 1941. He worked for Turlock Irrigation District and during his spare time started learning how to repair watches from his father-in-law, Ernest Charters. It was a skill he took to quickly, and in 1944 he built a small building on South First Street and opened his business K.L. Nordell Watchmaker. In 1949, he purchased a spot in Patterson and relocated his business and family, expanding into all jewelry at the same time.

It was during his first year as a watchmaker that Nordell joined the Freemasonry.

“My boss was a Mason and I always enjoyed him as a man and I thought I would like to be that way,” Nordell said. “I’ve always been proud to be a Mason. It made me a better man.”

The Turlock Masonic Lodge #236 has been a part of the Turlock community since 1874. The Lodge was built in 1920 and stands as an iconic example of architecture from that decade in downtown Turlock.

Freemasonry is the world’s first known and largest fraternal organization and is based on the belief that making a man better improves the world at large.