MASON Charles Irving "Chuck" ALBANY Charles Irving Mason, formally of Clarksville, N.Y. and Ellenton, Fla., died peacefully September 30, 2011 at the age of 92. Charles was born February 25, 1919. Raised in Brewerton, N.Y., he attended Central Square High School and Cornell University. In 1941, he completed his wildlife biology degree at Cornell. He was hired by the New York State Conservation Department before serving in the 8th Army Air Corps. He was navigator on B17's, flying out of Polebrook, England completing seven bombing missions before being shot down over Germany on September 12, 1944. Following the POW camp's liberation in May 1945, he returned to the Capital District to continue his career as a state wildlife biologist, working first at the Delmar lab (now Five Rivers Environmental Center) and then in the Department's central office. In 1947, he married Elizabeth Ellen Crookes of Clarksville, N.Y. Together they bought acreage, built their home and raised four children. During his career, he successfully worked to reopen the turkey hunting season in New York State, and traveled to Japan and Korea returning with ring-necked pheasant eggs to restore populations in New York and Pennsylvania. Charles retired in 1974. He and Betty enjoyed a lengthy New York/Florida retirement until her death on April 19, 2009. Charles was an active retiree, earning his real estate license, participating in the conservation department retiree's group over the decades and continuing his wildlife management activities through the Nature Conservancy of Eastern N.Y., working tirelessly to preserve the native giant rhododendrons in Bear Swamp that were threatened by flooding from beaver activity. Charles and Betty also enjoyed the camaraderie of the monthly meetings of the Manasota, Fla. POWs. He is survived by his children and grandchildren. Father to Jill E. Pritchard of Portland, Ore., David B. Mason of West Cornwall, Conn., Deborah S. Cooper (Christopher) of Danbury, Conn. and Patricia M. Fritz (Alan) of Feura Bush. Grandfather to Justin Pritchard (Lora) of Happy Valley Ore., Bret Mason of Hanoi, Viet Nam, Aaron Cooper of Danbury and Tristan Fritz of Feura Bush. He is also survived by his fellow airman and bombardier, Melvin Steffes (Harriet) of San Simeon, Calif. Final interment for Charles and Elizabeth will be together at Arlington National Cemetery.
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Published in Albany Times Union on September 16, 2012