Richard Lilley was born on a 40-acre farm overlooking Puget Sound near
Olympia Washington along with four brothers and four sisters. He grew up
with his cousins, the Dunklebergers, hunting and fishing around the Sound on
property where his grandparents Charlie and Anna Mason had left a strong
imprint on life. He never got to know them as Charlie and Uncle Jut Tompkins
had passed away a few months before he was born and Anna the next year.
Richard married Beulah Hill from Centralia and joined the Air Force in 1954. He was sent to Texas to learn repair of turbine engines and their applications. Richard's first of 5 children were born there and two were born in England, one in Kansas and the last in Washington. After turbine engine school he was sent to Alconbury England for three years where he worked on the engines of the first atomic bomb carrying jet bomber, the B-45. His unit kept bombers in the air 24 hours a day as a deterrent to Russia during the cold war.
Richard, Beulah and the children lived in Cambridge where they enjoyed English living for the next three years. After his tour in England was over he was sent to Shilling AFB in Salina Kansas where he worked on B-47's and T-33's until his discharge in 1960.
After returning to Centralia Washington he went to work for Weyhauser Timber Co. rigging up spar trees for logging around the Mt. St. Helen’s area. After a couple of years they developed the steel towers that took over for the time consuming wood trees and Richard decided it was time for him get out of the woods. He moved to Tacoma WA. and went to work for Boeing as a pattern maker on the 727 for a few years until he grew tired of the traffic and inside work. He got back into logging and construction and later into contract logging on his own.
After a serious heart attack that left him unable to do any manual labor he retired and built his third house, did a little cabinet work, gardening and just plain takes it easy.
Richard is the chief historian and archivists for the Mason family and a major contributor to Wetherill family history and helps coordinate the Mason/Wetherill reunion each year. He is also is the founder of the Mason family web page and spends hundreds of hours a year contributing updates and keeping the site running.