William Mason

William L. Mason

July 5, 1936 — July 24, 2012

Bill Mason, 76, died suddenly at home in Friday Harbor, Wash., on July 24, 2012.

He was born July 5, 1936 in Des Moines, Iowa, to Ralph and Elizabeth Boyer Mason. He attended Kansas State University, Augustana College and received a bachelor of science in environmental science from Grand Canyon College.

Bill entered the U.S. Air Force in 1957 and retired after 20 years as a lieutenant colonel. During the Vietnam War, he spent a year in Thailand and flew 200 missions in an F-4 Phantom.

Bill taught pilots at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona and completed his career doing intelligence work at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas. He received many military awards including the Distinguished Flying Cross.

He married Alberta Fitch June 18, 1960. They had two daughters and were divorced in 1980. Bill moved to Missoula, Mont. and completed all his coursework for a master’s in zoology at the University of Montana.

Bill married Norma Sandberg Hober April 14, 1984. They and Norma’s youngest son lived in Florence, Mont. for five years before moving to Anacortes, Wash. in 1989. Bill and Norma designed and built their dream home in Friday Harbor in 2003.

A brilliant man with many talents, Bill loved to share his passion for science and outdoor adventures with his children and grandchildren. A lifelong dog lover, he owned Weimaraners for 45 years and showed several to American and Canadian championships.

His hobbies included rockhounding, skiing, scuba diving, hunting, backpacking, running full and half marathons, studying quantum mechanics, flying his Cessna plane and especially sailing his Morgan 382 sailboat. For his 60th birthday, he sailed solo from Anacortes to Hawaii and back.Bill devoted his time and talents to helping Norma fulfill her 40-year dream to find and meet her birth family in Virginia.

Bill was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, Friday Harbor Sailing Club, Anacortes Yacht Club and the Weimaraner Club of America. He volunteered as Cubmaster in Montana and for Island Rec in Friday Harbor, ushered at San Juan Community Theatre and served Thanksgiving pie at the Grange the past six years.

Survivors include his wife Norma; daughters Kathryn Mason Vanderput (John), Calgary, and Pamela Foster, Houston; stepsons Jeff Hober, San Diego, Brett Hober, Spokane, and Todd Hober, Missoula; daughter-in-law Melanie Sullivan, Spokane; grandchildren Emma, Wake, and Clarke Foster, Houston, Alexandra and Elizabeth Vanderput, Calgary, Hayden and Halle Hober, Spokane; brother Don Mason (Midge), Rotonda West, Florida; and sister Liz Mason, Moline, Illinois.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to Wounded Warrior Project, 4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville, FL, 32256, or The Nature Conservancy, 4245 North Fairfax Drive, #100, Arlington, VA 22203.

A celebration of Bill’s life will be held Tuesday, August 14 at the San Juan Island Yacht Club at 1 pm.

— Family of Bill Mason