Obituaries & Tributes
John D. Mason
date of birth January 22 1939
date of death March 16 2019
John David Mason, 80, born Myrl Ross Koonce, passed away peacefully Saturday, March 16, 2019 in the quiet hours of the morning at Tess’s Adult Care Home in Milwaukie, Oregon. John, the eldest of three sons was born January 22, 1939 in the Watts section of Los Angeles, California to Dwight Davis Koonce and Grace Delight (Langdon) Koonce.
As a young boy, John enjoyed family vacations including camping in the Redwoods, boating on Lake Mead and playing in the snow with his brothers, Wayne and Dale, at Big Bear and Mt Hermon. He attended Susan Miller Dorsey High School. Though school proved difficult and trying for John due to being dyslexic, he went on to further his education at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. It was there he discovered his passion for helping other learn. John graduated from Westmont with a BA in Education.
After college, John worked a few years as an elementary school teacher and lived in San Francisco. While he had a heart for teaching/mentoring and a passion for helping others John decided to make a career and life change. John sought out a fresh start moving to Portland, Oregon in the early 1970’s.
He found the connection, guidance and career he was seeking when he was introduced to William Temple House and Father Abbott; A career that spanned 17 years during which he honed his leadership, training and mentoring skill. John fulfilled many roles at W.T.H. allowing him varied opportunities to counsel and guide clients, staff and volunteers and to build the organization. As the Director of Volunteers, John was able to do what he loved - train and mentor.
It was also during his time in Portland that John met and fell in love with David Yeager. They shared their lives together for nearly 25 years. After his time with William Temple House new opportunities with United Way took John and David to Chicago, Illinois and then on to Palm Beach County, Florida. Through his contacts at W.T.H. and U.W. he found many opportunities to give of himself in volunteer roles. He was active with the Association for Volunteer Administration and served as Chair of the Pacific NW Region and First Vice President of the Board of Directors.
Outside of work, John enjoyed travel. As a young man he participated in a 6 week study tour of Asia which whet his appetite for travel. In later years he traveled with friends and family both in the states and abroad.He and David celebrated John’s 60th birthday on a Caribbean cruise.
John retired in 2006 and he and David returned to Portland; a place they both considered home. John not only had a passion for teaching but also for learning. He was an avid reader and liked to study many subjects. After David passed, John focused more time towards spiritual and religious studies. He was a member of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral and joined a four year course on Education for Ministry. John saw it as a life changing experience allowing him to reconcile his personal and spiritual convictions.
John was greatly overjoyed to celebrate his 80th birthday with his brother and a few close friends. He stated he was a contented and happy man. He will be missed by his colleagues, friends and family.
John was preceded in death by David Yeager, his life partner, his parents Dwight Koonce and Grace Graham and his brother Wayne Koonce. He is survived by his brother, Dale Koonce (Antha) of Leonardtown, Maryland.
Much appreciation and gratitude is extended to Providence Hospice, Tess’s Adult Care Home and to all those individuals who provide John with the best comfort and care during his final days.
Funeral Services with be held Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 2:00 P.M. in the Chapel at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. A reception will held in the Morrison room at Trinity following the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to William Temple House or Center for Spiritual Development Trinity Cathedral.
10 tribute candles have been lit
Candle lit by Staff at Autumn Funerals, Cremation & Burial Our sincere condolences.
Candle lit by Bryan Bechtold Thank you for your wisdom and for your example of grace and dignity. Your friendship has been treasured and will not be forgotten.
Candle lit by Eileen Coogan John, you have been a mentor and wise guide to so many, including me. Thank you for the love you showed and shared.
Candle lit by Upendo Shabazz John was a wonderful spirit that welcomed all.
Candle lit by Brian Edwards My condolences to all of John's family and friends.
Candle lit by Esther Valenzuelae My condolence to the family o the lost of your brother. John was a wonderful person I had the privilege working with him and kept in touch, after he retired. He had a great personality that will be missed. Thank you so much John for being a part of my life that I called you my friend .
Candle lit by RayBecich & Ben Arico John made a positive impact on our lives in very real way.
Candle lit by Tim Sweeny John and I worked together in Chicago at United Way when I was just coming out of college. He took me under his wing, provided me support and encouragement, and was always an advocate. I am sad to hear of his passing.
Candle lit by Stephanie McKinnis (Worley) My condolences to John Mason's family. I met John Mason at United Way in Chicago, Illinois; he was my mother's supervisor and dearest friend! After our first meeting little did I know John would become a father figure in my life! My favorite memory of John was at my baby shower in 1995 where John knew every answer about me that we had to take him out of all the baby games so others could win prizes! Later we found out everyone was running to John to get answers. That's how much influence John had in my life, he knew everything about me from a little girl to adulthood. I light my candle to honor the life of John Mason. From The Worley Family: Katie, Steven, Stephanie and Stephan.
Candle lit by Catherine Nichols John was a lovely, gentle man who listened in a sacred way. He warmly welcomed me to Trinity Cathedral when I joined the staff in 2005. So glad to hear he was at ease with his death, and that he had recent joyful times. I wish I could be at his memorial service but I now live in Vermont. Will be thinking of him in weeks to come.