To know Ron Mason is to love him. He was a unique and much-admired person. Words don’t adequately describe him and for those who know him well, words – without humor – will never suffice to tell the authentic story of this outstanding man. But part of the Ron Mason story is told below.
Ronald William Mason had just embarked on fulfilling his life dream of serving the Catholic Church as an ordained Deacon when he died from complications of COVID-19 on Tuesday, December 15, 2020. Very young at heart, Ron had just reached his 61st birthday.
Professionally, Ron was an expert in public relations, marketing communications and events. He recently retired from Consumers Energy’s Corporate Communications Department after a storied and impactful career. He was beloved at Consumers by people at all levels of the company and was known for his wit, ability to execute flawlessly and for his attention to detail. Earlier in his career, Ron made contributions and friends working at the American Lung Association of SE Michigan, Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan, Guardian Industries in Durham, NC and Broder Brothers Public Relations. He won numerous awards and much industry recognition throughout his career. Ron’s prowess in public relations was evident in his early accomplishment of establishing the Public Relations Student Society of America at Wayne State University, recruiting members to the fledgling chapter who would become lifelong friends. Ron was the Chapter’s first President. He majored in Mass Communications and Journalism at WSU and graduated in 1984.
Ron’s success in athletics impacted the trajectory of his life. He attended Wayne Memorial High School where Ron was captain of the Cross Country and Track team. To this day, Ron holds the record for 4 x 800 M track relay at Wayne Memorial. Ron received 12 varsity letters in cross country and track and field. He earned an athletic scholarship for cross country, track & field to Wayne State University. His teams received two first team, All-Region citations in the NCAA Great Lakes region Cross Country Championships and 10 track and Field All Conference Citations in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate conference. Ron was a 2006 nominee to the WSU Athletic Hall of Fame.
Family, Faith and Community were central to Ron’s life and purpose
Family was foremost to Ron. He was so grateful that he had found (with a little help from a well-meaning matchmaker) and married the love of his life – Rose Beafore. There were many wisecracks about this beautiful hot-blooded Italian meeting the Scottish rapscallion, Ron. Grandpa Smith told Ron how to woo a woman in the old country. “No woman can turn down a marriage proposal if you bring along a bagpiper!” Inspired by that advice, Ron donned a kilt and led an entire bagpipe band and a hundred friends on a parade though Hamtramck. When the happy mob arrived at Rose’s home on Lumpkin and she emerged to see what was causing the racket, Ron got on one knee and proposed. She said yes! A few years later Gianna Rose was born and quickly became the apple of her father’s eye. Andy rounded out the family – a baseball buddy and another source of pride and joy. Lola the dog was a key member of the family too. Ron fulfilled his dream of having a loving family.
Rose, Gianna and Andy were together in Ron’s hospital room for conversations before what they thought would be a few days of medically induced rest and intubation on a ventilator. Ron gestured to his family and told the health care workers and the family that “You are my whole world.” When Ron was not responding to treatment a few days later, the family was able to don full PPE to be present with Ron as he passed.
Faith was equally important to Ron. Since the pandemic began Ron, brought Holy Communion to elderly people who would watch the Mass on livestream but could not leave their homes. Sometimes, Ron was the only person these shut-ins connected with and he made sure they had food and spirited conversation from the porch. This Fall he started teaching 8th grade religious Ed classes on Sunday morning, preparing young people for the Sacrament of Confirmation next Fall. Ron had a gift for connecting with these hard-to-reach teens.
He woke in the wee hours of the night twice a week to keep a prayer vigil in the Adoration Chapel at Queen of the Miraculous Medal Church in Jackson. He would pray fervently and created fellowship with the other keepers of the vigil. Through prayer and meditation, Ron heard a calling. In 2019 he made the decision to pursue the vocation of ordained Ministry of the Diaconate in the Diocese of Lansing. He was doing coursework through Sienna Heights University. He had completed a full year of the 2-year academic program heading for four more years of formation.
In the community, Ron loved to be Santa Claus for many different groups. He worked with adults seeking religious education who were developmentally challenged. Ron was their Santa and each and every member of the class got to sit on Ron’s lap and talk about their dreams. Some of those wishes came from pretty large, older fellows, but Ron treated them to the wonder and delight of sitting on Santa’s lap. Santa Ron visited sick and injured individuals leaving home on Christmas Day while Rose cooked dinner to cheer families. Gianna or Andy would chauffeur the right jolly old elf from place to place. For the last five years, Ron was Santa at an ecumenical Community Christmas dinner for the elderly and the poor on Christmas Day visiting each table to make merry and bring joy.
Ron served on the Boards of Directors of the Wayne State Alumni Association and Children’s Leukemia Foundation. He was a literacy mentor, volunteer for many causes and a play-write for the New Detroit Science Center’s Children’s Live Theater Engineering Career event.
Ron loved carving elaborate pumpkins, telling Ghost stories, movie quotes and doing nice things for others. His favorite snacks included Twinkies and Ho-Hos and he has given advice about the healing powers of Popeye’s Chicken. Ron could consistently kick a 35-yard field goal but baseball held a special place in his heart. Ron hit a 340-foot home run in the American Heart Association Home Run Derby Challenge at Tiger Stadium in 1997. He threw out the first pitch in a Lansing Lugnuts game. And believe it or not, Ron encountered Reggie Jackson in an airport and asked him for an autograph. Reggie was holding a hot dog at the time. Ron offered to hold the hot dog while Reggie signed a napkin and Ron took a bite of Reggie’s hot dog!
Ron was born in Detroit, Michigan to Margaret (Smith) and William Charles Mason both of whom pre-deceased him as did infant sisters Sally and Sharon. Ron is survived by his loving wife Rose Beafore Mason and children Gianna Rose, and Andrew Ronald. Ron also leaves his siblings Diane Fogarty of Wayne, MI, Theresa Yurmanovic of South Lyon and brother Bill of Canton as well as many nieces and nephews and loving in-laws.
Instead of flowers, consider helping another young athlete get scholarship dollars for college by donating to the Ron Mason Fund at Wayne Memorial High School, 3001 4th Street, Wayne, MI 48184
Funeral arrangements are handled by Watson Funeral Chapel in Jackson. Leave your favorite Ron story at Obituary for Ronald W Mason | Watson Funeral Chapel (watson-funeral-chapels.com)
Ron would be appalled if COVID-19 got the last laugh, so please take no chances to honor Ron with your presence at services. Funeral visitation will be Queen of the Miraculous Medal Church, 1111 Carlton Blvd., Jackson, Monday, December 21, 9 to 11 a.m. Mass begins at 11 a.m. There is a 200-person capacity in church due to social distancing protocols. Consider watching the live-streamed funeral Mass on www.queenschurch.com and on the church Facebook page. Interment will be at St. John’s Cemetery, Jackson, Michigan.
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