John Leland Mason – 1924 – 2012
John Leland Mason was born Jan. 10, 1924, in Pattonsburg, Mo. After completing high school where he was the senior class president, he entered the R.O.T.C. program at Kansas State College (presently KS University). World War II called him to Northern Europe where he served in the U.S. Army as a sergeant in the 266th Combat Engineers Battalion, performing bridge construction and demolition work. After the war, he returned to Kansas State to complete his major in civil engineering, then relocated to Wichita, Kan. to begin his career in heavy construction with M.K. Eby Construction Co. in 1949.
John met Billie Eloise Parkins at the First Methodist Church in Wichita where John’s boss attended. At a singles gathering, Billie had brought her macaroni salad and according to John, after he tasted it he decided, “she’s the one.” Thus began a budding romance that led to their marriage on Sept. 10, l949.
While in Wichita, John and Billie’s home grew to include three children: Kathy Sue, John David, and Kent Parkins. In 1957 John’s job with M.K. Eby relocated him to Colorado. They rented a cabin in the mountains, and John became one of the first commuters in the area to his job on the front range. John and Billie loved the mountains and eventually built their own home near Morrison, Colo. John began as a laborer for Eby Construction and eventually became vice president and Colorado area manager. His constructions projects included the NOAA (Atomic Clock) building in Boulder, various missile sites around Colorado, and other local facilities.
After John’s retirement from Eby Construction, his ownership in the Independent Gas Company led him to Granby, Colo. in the mid 1970s. Later he started the Auto Recycling Service and towing company in Granby. Volunteering as an ambassador at SolVista ski area, the Granby Senior Center, and the YMCA at Snow Mountain Ranch kept John busy in his later years until his moving to Longmont, Colo. in the fall of 2011 for assisted living. John passed away on Jan. 31, 2012, after suffering a heart attack in Boulder, Colo. at the age of 88 years.
John was predeceased by his wife Billie Eloise Mason on July 19, 2005. He is survived by his sister Mary Margaret Schneider; three children Kathy Hobson, J. David Mason, and Kent Mason; three grandchildren Rebecca Stefoff, Matthew Mason, and Sharon Hopper; and three great-grandchildren Peyton Stefoff, Chandler Stefoff, and Nina Hopper.
A memorial service honoring John and Billie Mason will be held at 1 p.m. on Feb. 20, 2012, at the First Baptist Church, 833 15th Ave., in Longmont, Colo. A “friends get together” will be held at 1 p.m. on Feb. 17, 2012 at the SilverCreek Inn in Granby, Colo.
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Backcountry permits for the Indian Peaks Wilderness will go on sale online on later this month, according to the US Forest Service.