Shreveport, LA - Glenn Morgan Mason was born in Pelican, La. on August 24, 1915, to Wilmer Hamilton Mason and Susie Barron Mason. Mason died, following a short illness, in Shreveport, La. on July 14, 2013 at 97 years of age. His persistence at handling his own business interests and his uncanny sense of humor and wit seem the cornerstones of his physical and mental acuity up until the very end of his remarkable life.
Visitation will be held from 5 until 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at Osborn Funeral Home. Services will begin at 1 p.m. on Thursday, July 18, 2013 at the First Baptist Church of Shreveport's Frost Chapel. Officiating will be Fr. Pike Thomas of St. Jude, assisted by Dr. Jeff Raines of First Baptist Church of Shreveport. Interment will follow at Forest Park on St. Vincent Avenue.
A resident of Shreveport for more than 90 years, Glenn spent his early boyhood with his paternal grandparents, Dr. William Hamilton Mason and Anna Hart Mason of Pelican, La., and enjoyed playing with his friends on the railroad trestles, hunting in the Dolet Hills, and picking berries and wild plums. Most favorite, he liked following his grandfather, "Doc", around, riding behind him on Doc's retired racehorse, "Nell", to call on and tend to his patients, and, at times, taking it upon himself to repair his own accidental neck break of Doc's prize chicken with tongue depressors, and avoiding getting kicked while milking the rather ornery dairy cow.
At about 7 years old, Mason came to Shreveport to live with his mother and grandmother. His art became his mainstay as he began winning local and regional and then state competitions, and being awarded lessons with the most outstanding artists of the day. He enjoyed being a Boy Scout, and was, in recent years, sent a copy of his Eagle Scout certification, one of the first recorded by the Norwela Council of Shreveport, founded in 1925.
Besides his penchants for art and scouting, Mason also worked as a young man himself at the Strand Theatre on Saturday mornings when children from far and wide would come to see the cartoons, emceed by none other than young Mason portraying "Uncle Billy." He said that, years later, young people would recognize him on the bus and he felt a bit like a movie star. So, just a few years into his studies at C.E. Byrd High School, Mason also added a new character to his repertoire, "The Singing Troubadour", as he began a career in singing on the radio, hosting his own show, on KWKH. Later, his show would travel to Dallas, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans to air on key stations there.
Mason graduated from Byrd and began working at the Shreveport Engraving Company until he could earn enough money to travel and enroll at LSU in Baton Rouge. There, Glenn worked 3 jobs and participated in ROTC. Additionally, his artistic ability found a new outlet - - painting LSU tigers on the backs of raincoats, to the tune of at least 1000 of them. Every home football game, he also climbed the tall scaffolding to paint the scoreboard to reflect each visiting team. Mason met his "Sweetheart of Delta Sigma Chi" there, Frances Walk of Baton Rouge, and he penned that song which was soon recorded by the Dorothy and Jan Garber Band, a nationwide band of great popularity with Dorothy Comegys Garber of Shreveport as the female vocalist. Frances and Glenn both graduated in 1938 as LSU's first art majors, having studied under the renowned Conrad Albrizzio. They married in 1939 with Mason returning to the theater business, managing theaters in Alexandria, New Orleans, and Meridian, Mississippi.
With the invasion of Pearl Harbor, Mason joined the U.S. Navy and was indoctrinated at the University of Arizona, then ordered to communications school at Harvard where he mastered reading mosaics and was one of 2 squadron leaders commanding several hundred soldiers. His duty aboard the USS Ruby took him on Convoy escort in the North Atlantic, also serving aboard the USS Ranger. He was transferred to the Pacific, joining the amphibious forces on Okinawa. This is when his life and his passion for patriotism began to spawn his own achievements for the betterment of his fellow man.
Becoming Aide and Flag Lieutenant to Rear Admiral John Dale Price set the course for several years of responsibility to the high command over the Ryukyu Islands. Mason hosted countless admirals, commodores and Congressmen who came to Okinawa to meet with Price, and Lieutenant Mason was invited to participate in strategic command planning before and after the initial surrender of the Japanese, the end of WWII, and the relocation of the island's residents from surrounding areas.
Price and Mason formed a bond that would see Price become Vice Chief of Naval Operations, provide Mason with the opportunity to serve as a U.S. Ambassador, which Mason declined, and grow a lifelong friendship.
Upon his return from the War, Mason and his wife, Frances, now with two small boys, would settle in Shreveport where, in 1949, he formed one of the Southwest's most influential advertising agencies, Glenn Mason & Associates, handling advertising, marketing and public relations for clients in more than 40 publications and in five languages. His business keystone was the First National Bank of Shreveport, augmented by such area clients as Southwestern Electric Power Company, AMF Beard Industries, the Brewster Company, as well as Gardner Denver out of Quincy, Ill. Mason operated offices in Shreveport and Dallas, Tx.
In the late '70s and early '80s, after retiring his agency, Mason continued to use his skills and artistry to illustrate former President Ronald Reagan and Nancy, which rotates on display at the Reagan Presidential Museum near Santa Barbara, Ca. He also drew the portraits of the forty-four Medal of Honor recipients of the U.S. Marine Corps and Naval Air Divisions, and many of the scenes depicting the heroic achievements. He took that challenge to give recognition to many of our country's unsung heroes – those people who did magnificent things to preserve our country's freedom. Metal etchings of the portraits remain on permanent display at the Pensacola Naval Air Museum in Pensacola, Fl.
Glenn Mason was a civic leader. He cared about his home and carried his heritage with tremendous pride. He was the founder of the Galvez Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution; he reinstituted the Shreveport Chapter of the Navy League of the United States; he was a member of the Living Descendants of Blood Royals. Mason was a member of the First Baptist Church of Shreveport for more than sixty years.
He enjoyed parties, but what he really enjoyed about them was having his family near, particularly his newest namesake, his first great-grandchild, Morgan Laurel Mason of New Orleans.
From martini making to military missions, from self-penned art and songs he sang, to the echoes of history's bell he loudly rang, this was Glenn Morgan Mason.
Mason is survived by a daughter, Ky Ellen Shaw Mason of Shreveport, La.; three sons, Loyd Glenn Mason of Shreveport, Kent Walk Mason and Carol Jennings Mason of Spicewood, Tx., Michael Humphrey Mason and Pat Powell Mason of Shreveport; grandson, Glenn Randolph Mason of Shreveport; four granddaughters, Rebecca Lauren Mason of New Orleans, La., Kristen Danielle Mason of New Orleans, Katherine Elizabeth Mason of New Orleans, and Jacqueline Mariel Mason of Shreveport; and one great granddaughter, Morgan Laurel Mason of New Orleans.
Pallbearers will be Kent Mason, Michael Mason, Randolph Mason, Frank Book, Dr. Donald Walker, John Lecky, Charles Spearman, and Joe Cotton.
Honorary pallbearers are Judge Tom Stagg, Jackson B. Davis, and Dr. Seborn Woods
The family would like to express their sincere thanks to Rosie Bedford, Arthur Giles, Charles Spearman, Pearlie Holmes, Ruby Williams, Allison Samuels, Lisa Bedford, Rosemary Bedford, Jackie Jackson, Kristinia Spearman, Tabbatha Spearman, Sarah Nickerson, Learlean Hamilton, and Linda Grissom.
Memorials may be made to: The Wounded Warrior Project, Community Renewal of Shreveport, or the Boy Scouts of America.
Published in Shreveport Times from July 17 to July 18, 2013