John W. Mason

john mason

June 14, 1934 ~ October 14, 2023

Born in: Centralia, Illinois
Resided in: Marshall, North Carolina

John W. Mason, a man of kindness and gentle strength, peacefully departed this life on October 14, 2023 at the age of 89, at The Greens at Weaverville, North Carolina. He was born on June 14, 1934 (Flag Day), to John Webster Mason and Florence Hazel (White) Mason.

John’s early years were in Wamac, Illinois and after the death of his mother, he, along with his three sisters, father and step-mother moved to Centralia, Illinois in the summer of 1950 into a home his father built on 10 acres of land. John graduated from Centralia High School all the while holding down numerous jobs from the young age of 13. After high school, John attended Junior College and made the basketball team playing the entire season as a starter or first substitute. It was during this year when John met Janet Ann Webb and after courting for over 11 months eloped and married Janet on January 16, 1954.

In 1956 John was drafted into the U.S. Army and after his basic training in Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio in the medical corps, he was transferred to Fort Polk, Louisiana for permanent duty where he was a clerk typist in the First Armored Division Headquarters, Fort Polk Military Hospital supply hospital. It was during this time that their first of three daughters was born on December 15, 1957, Anita Diane Mason.

Being deeply involved in the United Pentecostal Church, John pursued a career in Portland, Oregon to attend Conquerors Bible College to become an ordained minister. They later moved to Aberdeen, Washington and while there, John and Janet were overjoyed by the birth of their second daughter, Rebecca Gayle Mason, born on September 29, 1959 in Vancouver, Washington.

In 1961 their third daughter, Angela Lynn Mason was born on August 27, 1961 in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, in Janet’s hometown. Shortly after her birth, John accepted a position with the Veterans Administration in Houston, Texas.

John finished his college years at the University of Houston all the while working full time at the VA. John attended night classes and some Saturdays for five years from 1964 until his graduation in June 1969. John spent his entire adult career with the VA starting as a clerk-typist as a GS-3 with promotions requiring him and his family to move to Washington, D. C. for three years and then a further promotion to Loan Guaranty Office of the Florida Veterans Administration to Florida from 1972 until his retirement in 1986. John retired as a GS-15 (the highest grade for Federal employees) and took pride in his accomplishments and career. Upon retirement, John and Janet moved to Maryville, Tennessee.

John’s early jobs as a young teen and young adult provided him skills that turned into hobbies and his love of woodworking provided him years of happiness making furniture and then he discovered he had considerable talent and began creating jewelry and also started to paint. Later in life he discovered stained glass and created several beautiful windows that adorned several homes of friends and family. He also loved to garden, boat and fish.

In 2005 John’s first wife, Janet passed away and in 2006 John found love for the second time and married Sandra Kiffin Lunsford of Marshall, North Carolina on May 5, 2006. John and Sandy lived in beautiful Marshall on the side of a mountain on acreage overlooking the mountains until his passing. Porch days soaking up the Carolina sunshine, gazing over the meadow with grazing deer and turkeys and watching the hummingbirds flit from flower to flower in Sandy’s garden were some of his favorite days; and were especially wonderful when they would host large gatherings of friends and family to celebrate life’s blessings.

While in Marshall, John helped produce two of Sandy’s original plays; Return of an Angel, a play about Thomas Wolfe which was first produced in 2007 for the Thomas Wolfe Festival in Asheville, and Along About Sundown, a play co-written by Sandy and her sister Brenda Lunsford Lilly, a screenwriter, about the life of Bascom Lamar Lunsford, a prolific songwriter also known as the Minstrel of Appalachia who also happened to be their great uncle. Sandy is a multi-generational Asheville native, playwright, artist and novelist.

John’s life was from humble beginnings and he left this life as a humble and loving father, husband, brother, grandfather, uncle and sweet, selfless human being. He embraced strong morals and integrity and gave to others without hesitation. His legacy of kindness and love will endure through his wife, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

John is survived by his loving wife, Sandra Kiffin Lunsford Mason and her children, Chapel, and daughter Gentle. He is also survived by his three daughters Diane Woodall Hannum (Dave Hannum); Rebecca (Becky) Gayle Zadrozny (Rick Zadrozny) and Angela (Angie) Lynn Brown (Chip Brown). He is also survived by his grandchildren Lauren Ann Woodall Fatheree (Scott Fatheree); Trevor William Brown and John Parker Brown. John has two great grandchildren, Duncan Atlas Woodall and Forest Winter Woodall.

He is also survived by his two sisters Barbara Sue Mason and Grace Mason Creed.

He was preceded in death by his first wife Janet Ann Webb Mason; his sister Florence Jaynet Mason Roy; his father John Webster Mason and his mother Florence Hazel White Mason and step mother Wildrey Mason.

John will be deeply missed and forever in our hearts. The memories created with him will be cherished forever. His love and devotion to his family is his greatest legacy. They were his pride and joy and he loved them all more than anything. May John rest in eternal peace, he was fortunate to live a long and blessed life.

Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian is assisting the family.

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  1. I knew him as Dubby….He was a strong man with strong beliefs and a gentle touch. He followed his keen instincts throughout his life. He loved life, teasing his sisters, living life at the fullest. He was my brother’s brother-in-law and he too had great respect for Mr. Mason. We’ll miss you Dubby, your smile, your intelligence, your wit, your teases and your generosity. We have lost a very fine man indeed. God bless and keep you Dubby! I hope we meet again.

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