Mason, Homer Eugene Homer Eugene "Gene" Mason, 86, died Wednesday, June 13, 2012 in St. Paul. Born July 4, 1925 in Montevideo to Homer and Malinda Mason, he grew up in Northfield, where he graduated in 1943 as valedictorian of his high school class. He was drafted into the Army and was injured in Hürtgen Forest in 1944. He returned home to attend St. Olaf College, where he met his future wife Joan Overson. After graduating in 1948, Gene earned an MA from the University of Minnesota and a PhD in Philosophy from Harvard. His first teaching position was at Penn State. In 1957 he joined the Philosophy Department at the University of Minnesota, where he taught until his retirement in 2000, having served several years as chair. Gene was particularly interested in the philosophical writings of Søren Kierkegaard and Ludwig Wittgenstein, and in theories of justice and ethics, writing on moral and social issues and public policy. These interests dovetailed with his political engagement; he was active in the DFL and advocated for human rights. Gene and Joan were known for the gatherings they hosted, welcoming friends, colleagues, graduate students and visiting professors into their home. Gene learned carpentry from his father; in 1960 the two of them built an addition to the beloved family cabin on Lake Minnewaska. Gene was a wonderful father who took his children camping and hiking, imparted to them his love of nature, and taught them Zeno's paradox over dinner. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Joan; his children, John (Susan Davies), Austerlitz, NY; Chris (Ann), Baltimore MD; Karen (Matt Schaefer), Iowa City, IA; Martha Mason Miller, St. Paul; Tom, Nashville TN; his brother, Jim Mason, Starbuck; and grandchildren, Bronwyn, Kari, and Noah Davies-Mason; Elizabeth and Will Mason; Daniel Schaefer; and Erik, Chris, and Kai Miller. A memorial service will be held Monday, June 18, at 1:00 p.m. at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, 2136 Carter Ave., St. Paul. Memorials may be made to Doctors Without Borders, the Hong Kierkegaard Library (St. Olaf College) or the Iowa Women's Archives (University of Iowa).
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Published in Star Tribune from June 16 to June 17, 2012