A native of Lincolnton, he was the fourth son of the late Rev. William Thomas and Mary Lena Mason. He and his wife arrived in Jackson County approximately 44 years ago. They relocated as family with five children, sons Thomas DeGary (deceased 1985), Festus Cornelious, Julius (Sherry) Stewart Jr., (deceased 2004) daughters, Lena Margueritte Mason and Claranita Arnell. He joined Sardis Presbyterian Church, operated Mason Funeral Home in Jefferson and then re-opened the establishment in Commerce. He retired from Alto Correctional Institute with more than 30 years of teaching in public schools. He served and was a member of numerous organizations. He loved to “Sing Praises to our Lord” and was known for his distinct melodious tenor voice. He and Lila believed in helping other people. They operated DeGary’s Personal Care Home for more than 15 years. They have welcomed strangers, homeless and people down on their luck into their home and helped everyone they came in contact with. They provided an informal transportation service, where they helped families get to local and out of town doctor appointments.
Mr. Mason was one of the founding members of the Jackson County NAACP, Jackson County Christian Organization, a Scout leader, FFA leader and advisor, taught agricultural science at Bryan High and Jackson County high schools, helped families to secure a loan to build homes and the farmers to improve their capital gain, by introducing new ideas, coached the girls basketball team, member of the North Georgia Black Leadership Council, served on the ACTION board of directors, served on the board for Jefferson Public Library, was an elder at Sardis Presbyterian Church where he served for many years, Sunday School teacher, choir member, sang with many of the local choirs in the community, and rendered many solos, received numerous awards for his community action, and was owner, operator and facilitator of Mason Bros. Funeral Home.
Mr. Mason was preceded in death by siblings, William and Constance Mason.
Survivors include his wife, Lila Duhart Mason; a brother, Welcome (Rubye) Mason; and sister-in-law, Hilda (late Alexander) Mason; grandchildren, Bernice, Brandon, DeGaria Alena, Imani and JuLian; a great-grandchild, Aziryah; and a host of nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends.
He received his education in the public schools of Lincoln County and served in the United States Armed Forces before obtaining his Bachelor’s of Science Degree at Fort Valley State College. He accepted Christ at an early age and joined the Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Funeral services were held Sunday, November 7, from the Sardis Presbyterian Church with the Revs. Otis Smith and J.T. Hughey officiating. Burial was in Ebenezer Baptist Church Cemetery in Lincolnton.
Winfrey Mutual Funeral Home, Athens, was in charge of arrangements.