DANVILLE — John C. Mason Jr., MD, 90, husband, father, grandfather (“Poppie”), friend (“Jack”) and adored physician (“Doc”) passed away peacefully on Tuesday (Oct. 20, 2020) at the home he treasured, surrounded by his family.
He was an obstetrician and gynecologist for almost 40 years in Danville, both in private practice and with Carle Clinic. He delivered thousands of babies and treated, counseled and cared for his patients with an enduring connection. Even after 20 years of retirement, it was guaranteed that a trip to almost any place in town would include one or more happy encounters that began “… Hi Doctor Mason, you won’t remember me, but you delivered me,” or “… you delivered my baby,” or maybe both in the same sentence. His skill, dedication and caring spirit were the bedrock of his professional, community and family life.
He was born at home during a snowstorm on March 27, 1930, in Rossville, the son of John C. Mason Sr., MD, and Ruth Cole Mason. He was a proud graduate of Rossville High School and later received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois. He earned his medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1955 and was then and thereafter a grateful graduate, supporter and fan of the UI.
During his residency at the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago, he met the lovely Donna Jean Fox and fell in love. Donna and Jack were married in 1957. His partner for 57 years, Donna passed away in 2014. After several years serving in the U.S. Army as a captain in the medical corps, Jack and Donna came to Danville and raised four sons. They built a wonderful life in Danville filled with friends, community and orange and blue.
Jack was an active volunteer and supporter of Danville Area Community College (DACC), Lakeview (later Provena, OSF) Hospital, the University of Illinois and the University of Illinois Medical School. To recognize his dedication, spirit and pride in support of the university, the UI Alumni Association bestowed to Jack the Lou Liay Spirit Award, and for him, this was a proud “ILL-INI” moment.
He appreciated the educational opportunities he was given and gave back through scholarships that he and Donna created and funded for DACC and the UI Medical School. He was honored by his family and the medical school in 2017 with the dedication of a classroom in his name that also honored his parents, the late Dr. and Mrs. John C. Mason Sr.
One might say his attention went to the dogs when he co-led the effort to establish Fetch Dog Park, which opened in 2010. He was very proud of the park and spent many hours on the grounds with his best friend, Maggie, and many more hours behind the scenes with others to make sure the park was successful. Not many dog parks have hats and cookbooks.
Jack loved travel, and he and Donna enjoyed many trips, both international and domestic. He loved long driving trips around the country visiting presidential libraries and sampling fried chicken. He enjoyed experiencing American history and had a particular interest in visiting most, if not all, of the significant landmarks of the Lewis and Clark trail. He documented many of these trips in his journals that he loved to send to his sons and grandkids. He loved, mentored and supported his family with his counsel and humor.
His sister, Carol; four sons, John (Jane), Jeff, Mike (Lisa) and Steve (Kathy); and eight grandchildren (Anne, John, Stephen, David, William, Abigail, Madeleine and Cole) all loved and appreciated him deeply.
At home, he cherished time with family and friends at cookouts, cocktail hour and fellowship on the deck he loved. During the last years, Jack and family friend Barbara McColm enjoyed spending time together with family and friends in Danville and Fort Worth, Texas, where Barbara lived. When he needed help at home the last few years, he and the family received loving support from special friends and the wonderful people at All Ways Caring HomeCare. He and the family also greatly appreciated the care, support and guidance they received from Carle Hospice.
A private family celebration of life service will be held at St. James United Methodist Church, Danville. The Rev. Randall Robinson will officiate. Inurnment will be in Sunset Memorial Park. A public visitation will be from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, at Sunset Funeral Home and Cremation Center, 3940 N. Vermilion St., Danville. It is kindly requested that those in attendance at the visitation or service wear a mask and practice social distancing.
For those wishing to send an expression of condolence, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the University of Illinois at Chicago John C. Mason Family Endowed Scholarship Fund (770612) (collegeofmedicine.webhost.uic.edu/giving/startgivingmedicine2.html); DACC Foundation for the Mason-Cole Scholarship Danville Area Community College, 2000 E. Main St., Danville, IL 61832, checks payable to DACC Foundation for The Mason-Cole Scholarship; or Fetch Dog Park, 12 Newell Ave., Danville, IL 61832, checks payable to Fetch Dog Park.
Please join Dr Mason’s family in sharing memories, photos and videos on his tribute wall at sunsetfuneralhome.com.