Harold F. Mason, PhD 1955 (1925-2018)

Harold F. Mason died on December 16, 2018, in Walnut Creek, CA. He was born on February 15, 1925, in Porterville, CA. He moved with his father and mother to Honolulu, Hawaii, when he was a year old, and lived in the Islands until the summer of 1941, when his father was transferred to New Jersey.

When old enough, Harold enlisted in the Army Air Force during World War II, training as a navigator. Following training, he received his deployment orders to the Pacific on the same day the U.S. bombed Hiroshima.

After the war, he completed a degree in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University, graduating in 1950. He then worked for a year of work at Rohm and Haas in New Jersey, ultimately deciding to return to graduate school to focus on Chemistry. He received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 1955. While in Madison, he met physician Marian Caldwell, whom he married about six months later.

After Harold graduated from Wisconsin, the young couple moved to the San Francisco Bay Area when Harold accepted a position with Chevron Research. He remained at Chevron until taking early retirement in 1986.

After Marian died in 1998, he met and married Virginia (Ginnie) Byrne, a fellow septuagenarian, at his church of many years, St. Anselm’s Episcopal in Lafayette. He and Ginnie moved a bit in the early years of their marriage – to Bend, OR, to Carson City, NV, and eventually back to the Bay Area. After Ginnie died in 2015, Harold moved from their home in Rossmoor to Atria Valley View.

Always an avid reader and inquisitive man, Harold dove full-time into several pursuits once retired. He became an award-winning amateur wildlife and landscape photographer. He studied astronomy (always one of his great passions). He explored history, natural science, and even theology. Though slowed in recent years by advancing age, he remained a passionate learner.

He is survived by his children Charles (Glenda) of Laramie, WY; Richard of Chandler, AZ; Kate (Mary Lee) of Plainfield NJ; six grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters.

A memorial service will be held at St. Anselm’s Episcopal Church in Lafayette, CA, on Saturday, August 10, at 11 am.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Doctors Without Borders, the Nature Conservancy, or Friends of the Smithsonian.