James Leroy Mason (Jim), of Bloomington passed away in his home on November 22nd, leaving a hole in the lives and hearts of his family, friends and loved ones. Jim was a member of the Church of The First Born and the American Legion Post 18. He retired from Indiana University after 22 years in the Facility Operations Department.
Born on January 1st, 1943, in Cambridge City, Indiana. He was the youngest child of Mabel Louise (Dale) and Cleo Alvin Mason. Jim often recounted stories of his childhood to his family, he told tale of summers spent working on his uncle’s farm, getting up with the rooster’s crow, jokes he played on his mom, meals he shared sitting around the table with his family, and occasionally skipping school to go fishing. He always fondly recounted how much love was in his house growing up, his parents taught him to have a servant’s heart and always help others when he could.
In 1962 Jim met the love of his life, Rose (Collins). Jim and Rose were married in 1963 and started a family of their own, they had five children. The family lived in Texas for a period and later in Florida before settling in Bloomington. Even though the family settled in Indiana, Jim still loved to travel. He took trips with his children regularly going to Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, and in more recent years traveling out West to Yellowstone National Park and his favorite trip; a train ride from Indiana to Yosemite National Forest!
To Jim, family was everything. He worked hard his entire life, to provide for his family. But he made it a point to never miss time with his children. He raised them with love and kindness and taught them to enjoy everyday moments together. When asked about their favorite memories from growing up, his children always talk about big Sunday dinners at their grandparent’s house and being the one chosen to make their dad’s cup of instant coffee, which at the time they each pretended was annoying but was actually the ultimate honor in the Mason household.
As Jim’s family grew with grandchildren and great grandchildren so did his love. Just as his parents had opened their home for sleepovers and Sunday dinners, Jim did the same for his grandchildren. He woke them Saturday mornings bellowing the words to a made-up song, and always had breakfast waiting on the table. One of the most special moments Jim shared with each of his grandchildren was patiently teaching them to swim. He attended every special occasion in each of his grandchildren’s lives and made a point to facetime his children and grandchildren every day.
Jim loved music, he had a singing voice that would bring a smile to the face of everyone who heard it and he loved to pick the dobro. In the 90’s Jim and his wife owned a line dance club where he and his son could be found playing music every weekend. Later, Jim, Rose and their son Bo played in a band at the American Legion where they always drew a large crowd for their Thursday night set. In recent years Jim continued to meet up weekly with friends to pick the dobro. If it was a warm day, you could always find him on his motorcycle, some of his favorite weekends were spent taking long afternoon rides through the country with his children and their spouses. Jim also never missed an opportunity to go fishing with his children and grandchildren.
There are truly no words to describe the loss of Jim for his family. Jim was a wonderful man inside and out, he always put others first, he was hardworking and kind. His compassion for others was unmatched and he did not know a stranger. He tried to be the good in the world and he surely succeeded because he was the good in a lot of people’s worlds. He was a true ray of sunshine and the world is darker today without his light in it. If you knew Jim, you are a better person for it. His life and legacy will live on in his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren as they continue to share his goodness with the world and shine his light as best they can.
Jim is proceeded in death by his parents, his brother Bud Mason and Sisters Boneita (Mason) Davis and Mildred (Mason) Strieby. Jim’s beloved daughter Dee (Mason) Axsom, also passed this year and their reunion brings a small bit of comfort to the family.
Jim is survived by his wife Rose Mason, his children James “Bo” Mason (Lydia), Loretta Kelley (Tony), Samantha Ayers (Chris), and Tabitha Cain (Mark) as well as his son in law Kerry Axsom (Dee).
His grandchildren Tiffany Mason (Daniel Richey), Ashley Kinnett (Jake), Jessica Kelley (Landon DeFord), Natasha Ayers, Jacob Axsom, Whitney Lamb (TJ), Kadee McCloud (Darrin), Nathan Ayers (Abby), Logun Young (Corey).
And his great grandchildren Baylee Kelley, Malorie Richey, Ava Kinnett, Bentley Kelley, Isabel Kinnett, Kinsley Lamb, Henry Kelley, Kruz Lamb, Cooper Potter, Colton McCloud, Henry McCloud, Hazel Kinnett, Liam DeFord, Emilia McCloud, and Lorelei DeFord.
Visitation is from 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM on Friday, November 27, 2020 at The Funeral Chapel of Powell and Deckard, 3000 E. Third Street Bloomington, Indiana.
Funeral services will be private due to COVID-19 restrictions. Entombment will be at Valhalla Memory Gardens in Bloomington.