H. Arnold Wilder, 99, of Westford, MA died three days before his 100th birthday on Wednesday May 20, 2009 at the Lowell General Hospital.
Born in Lancaster, NH on May 23, 1909, he was the son of the late Henry E. and Evelena (MacPherson) Wilder. A long time and well-known resident of Westford, Arnold graduated from Westford Academy with the Class of 1927. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University in 1966.
He worked as a Manager of Government Facilities at Raytheon Corp. before retiring in 1974. He previously was employed at the Abbott Worsted Company from 1935 to 1956 and the Wright & Fletcher General Store from 1928 to 1934.
Arnold was very active member with the Masons. He was raised Master Mason in the Caleb Butler Lodge in Ayer, MA in 1933 and Worshipful Master in 1945. In 1938 He became affiliated with the Tahattawan Lodge in Littleton and served as organist in both Lodges from 1981 to present. From 1948 to 1950 he was the District Deputy Grand Master of the Fitchburg 13th Masonic District. He was a member and Past High Priest-Bancroft Chapter, Royal Arch Masons. In 1961 he became a member of the Lowell Lodge of Perfection, Princes of Jerusalem, Mt. Calvary Chapter-Rose Croix, the Mass. Consistory- Boston. He was Past Thrice Potent Master, Lowell Lodge of Perfection and in 1990 elected 33 Degree Honorary Member of the Supreme Council. He joined the Scottish Rite of Lowell in 1961, the Aleppo Temple-Shriners 1962 and its Mounted Patrol. In 1990 he earned the Scottish Rite 33 Degree in Milwaukee in 1990. He held numerous awards including the Joseph Warren Distinguished Service Medal, Veterans Medal, Mass. Council of Deliberation Meritorious Service Award 1970 and Certificate of Appreciation for 50 years as District Deputy Grand Master.
Arnold served as Honorary Director of the Middlesex County 4-H Fair and their Mounted Patrol Engineer 1964 until present. He was a member and former assistant secretary of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, and Past President and member of the National Railroad Enthusiasts 1942-1945. He was former member of the Westford Historical Commission, a trustee of Westford Academy and “Field Driver” for the Town of Westford.
Arnold loved horses having owned five during his lifetime, Bobbie, JoeBee, Laddie, Topaz and Lady Mary. He rode many of the horses in many parades throughout area and at Westford’s 200th anniversary he was the Parade Marshall riding Topaz dressed in his colonial outfit. It is rumored that Topaz is the only horse that has been thru all of the degrees in Masonry and has stood at the West of the Altar in Tahattawan Lodge to assume his obligations.