After a short battle with cancer, dad quietly slipped away from us the morning of Jan. 20, 2012.
Durham L. Mason was born in McKean, Ill., Oct. 22, 1924, to tenant farmers Linzy Leisure and Bessie (Persinger) Mason.
After his father's passing, he took over as head of the family, farming until grandma moved into town.
He then entered the service and was stationed in Weisbaden, Germany, where he helped build the airfield and worked in the motor pool.
After his discharge, he was a live-in hired hand for the Fagg family. It was a fateful decision. There son and his then-girlfriend set dad up on a blind date. Despite a slammed door in the face and a first date to a basketball game (the girl detested sports), dad and mom, Florence (Kitch), of Brazil, managed to get married Saturday, May 14, 1949, or as they like to tell it, "We met on Friday the 13th and got married on Saturday the 14th," albeit a year later.
Mr. Fagg commented upon seeing a picture of mom that he'd never be able to keep dad on the farm because of that "come hither look," in her eyes.
He was right. Dad moved off the farm and eventually he and mom settled in the New England section of Knightsville, where they built their home by hand and raised their family.
He then began work as a mechanic at Gasway's in Terre Haute, eventually retiring from Doan Ford in 1987.
Dad couldn't sit still. He was either tending his garden or puttering around in the garage. And there was nothing he couldn't fix. As he told my sister when she gave him something to repair, "One day, you're going to come home with something I can't fix." That never happened. And if it wasn't broken, he'd take it apart to find out what made it work. He was a born tinkerer.
He had a great sense of humor, was loyal, and was as honest as the day was long. Mules had nothing on him when it came to stubbornness, though. His top priority was taking care of his family, a job he did very well.
He is survived by his wife Florence, daughters Jewell Mason, Knightsville, and Elaine (Jan) Keller, West Terre Haute, step-grandchildren Kristy, Jeremy, Windy and Hope, 10 step-great-grandchildren, sisters Iantha Adams, Terre Haute, and Christine West, Texas, brothers Jake Mason, Texas, and Rodney Mason, Terre Haute, and numerous nieces and nephews from both sides of the family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Charlotte Collins, Maxine Webster, Helen Miller and Sarah Buchholz, and brother Linzy "Bud" Mason.
Services will be at French Funeral Home, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, at 11 a.m., with Pastor Ernie Rush officiating.
Burial will follow at Clearview Cemetery.
Visitation will be at the funeral home Tuesday, from 5-7 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to SouthernCare Hospice, 4624 S. Springhill Junction, Terre Haute, Ind., 47802.
Light a candle at www.frenchfuneralhome.com in his memory.