Donald Eugene Mason
1942 – 2009
Funeral services for Donald Eugene Mason were held on Monday, July 27, 2009 at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM. Don was killed in a fall while hiking on Ghost Ranch.
Donald Eugene Mason was born on December 5, 1942, to Milton and Ruth Mason in Waco, TX, the tenth of 11 births.
He grew up in a family of nine with four brothers and four sisters.
At the age of 11, he moved with his family to rural Elgin, NE, from an elementary school population of 6,000 to the small country school of Park Center where he was the only student in the seventh grade.
Mason graduated from Elgin High School in 1961 with a class of 10 students.
He graduated from Hastings College in Hastings and from San Francisco Theological Seminary in California.
Don served Community Church in Davis, CA. In July 1970, he met Donna Jensen at a continuing education event at Louisville Seminary.
They were married May 30, 1971.
Don served Covenant Presbyterian Church in Palo Alto, CA and the First Presbyterian Church of Urbana, IL where he retired after 40 years of ministry.
Don was a father to two children, son Paul Andrew and daughter, Marita Ann.
Paul and Marita knew Don as an incredible dad, a good listener and counselor.
In 1983, during a visit to the World Council of Churches Assembly in Vancouver, British Columbia, Don’s eyes were opened to the international and ecumenical church family. He made a series of pilgrimages to the Soviet Union.
The move to First Presbyterian Church Urbana opened another door of involvement.
A family from Malawi, Africa, was completing their education at the University of Illinois. When they returned to Africa, they helped make a connection with a church in Malawi.
This relationship was the beginning of 10 years of journeys to support the new church in Domasi, Malawi, and a regional program of bringing shallow wells to the villages.
Don was a sports fan. He followed major league baseball and completed a goal of seeing a baseball game in every major league stadium. Paul accompanied him to many of the venues.
In Urbana he became a fan of University of Illinois sports. Don was a storyteller and enjoyed recalling humorous events from his own life. He loved to travel.
Don was proud of his children and in retirement was pleased to receive two grandsons, Riley born to Paul and Alice, and Shiloh, born to Marita and Zach Renner.
Don loved Ghost Ranch. In June 1998, he spent a month serving as Chaplain.
In that month he took a class on the history of New Mexico, was introduced to Ghost Ranch stories by Jim Shibley and whenever possible, hiked with John Hayden.
This began a period of 10 years when John and Don led hiking seminars with a focus of hiking to sacred places.
Don loved to hike to vistas where he could see great distances. This summer he listened eagerly to the stories of Continental Divide Trail hikers.
He wanted to take advantage of the time at Ghost Ranch to do day long hikes always wondering what the next challenge would be.
Whenever he climbed Chimney Rock he looked to the next level and said, “I want to be there.”
Memorials may be sent to Ghost Ranch, Don Mason Foundation, HC 77, Box 11, Abiquiu, New Mexico 87510.
Elgin-area relatives of Don include cousins Carolyn Johnson, Sharon Koziol and Keith Clark.