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On September 24, 2012, Joan S. Mason of Arlington, Virginia died peacefully after a battle with Pancreatic cancer. Joan was born in Nashville, Kansas, the daughter of John Schnittker and Theodora Steffan. After schooling in Kansas, she earned a master's degree in Music Education from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC in the early 1960s. A long-time teacher, Joan shared the gift of music with students from pre-school age through adulthood, teaching in both public and private school settings, including the Arlington Country Public Schools. She taught piano privately in her home for close to 30 years. In addition to her skill at the piano, Joan was an accomplished singer, church organist, and choral director, who performed with the Encore Chorale and directed the Angel Choir at the Saint Charles School in Arlington, Virginia. As a community volunteer, she presented music programs at the Powhatan Nursing Home in Falls Church, Virginia for many years. Later in life, she co-founded the Vinson Hall Voices singing group.
Joan is survived by her husband, Ralph B. Mason, Jr., two sons, R. Bryant and Andrew J. Mason, her brothers, John A. and Jerry Schnittker, and numerous nieces and nephews. A mass followed by a reception will be held at Missionhurst, 4651 N 25th Street, Arlington, VA 22207 on Saturday, October 27, 2012 starting at 11 a.m. A remembrance service is planned for the chapel of the Vinson Hall Retirement Community, 6251 Old Dominion Drive, McLean, VA 22101 on Sunday, October 28, 2012 from 3 p.m. until 4 p.m., with a gathering of family and friends to follow until 6 p.m. A mass and burial will be held in Cunningham, Kansas at a later date.
The family would like to extend their appreciation to the many friends who offered their companionship to Joan throughout her life, allowing her to pursue her love of family, friends, and music. In lieu of flowers, tax-deductible donations may be made to the "Joan Mason Memorial Fund - Music" at the Saint Charles School. Please make checks payable to St. Charles School, note the name of the memorial fund in the memo section, and mail to the St. Charles School, 3299 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington VA 22201.

Published in The Washington Post on Oct. 24, 2012