Richard Stewart Mason
1921 - 2020
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Richard Stewart Dick' Mason December 31, 1921 - May 7, 2020 San Diego Richard Stewart Mason, 98, died May 7 after a cardiac arrest at his home. "Dick" was born in State College, PA on New Year's Eve 1921, the only child of Charles Russell Mason and Elizabeth (Stewart) Mason. He grew up in Sanford, Florida; received a BA degree at the University of Texas, and a master's degree at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and met his wife Sheila Farquharson in Jamaica where he was stationed during the war. After the war, he worked as a Russian analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency until his retirement in 1972. In the 1960s he was an interpreter for several Russian and American trade delegations that visited the two countries. He was a lifelong devotee of foreign languages, with fluency in Russian and German, and teaching himself Spanish, Japanese, Farsi, and Indonesian, among others.He and Sheila were both competitive ballroom dancers, and from that involvement, they founded Telemark Dance Records, which produced and sold ballroom dance music. He also published the newsletter "Danceweek" for 22 years and was a two-term President of the U.S. Amateur Ballroom Dancing Association.When he moved to San Diego in 2000, he threw himself into volunteer work, especially with the Rancho Bernardo High School Library, where he founded the RBHS "Friends of the Library" which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. He organized an annual poetry contest for students, in Spanish, German, and French. Throughout his life he was devoted to education and politics to create a better world. He campaigned for numerous candidates for elected office, from the local to the national level, and did door-to-door canvassing up into his nineties. In 2014, he was inducted into the prestigious Rancho Bernardo Hall of Fame and last year into the first annual "Hall of Fame" of RBHS. As a final gift to the community he loved, he donated his body to the UCSD School of Medicine.He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife Sheila. He is survived by his loving companion Joan Ballard; his son David (Sharon); his daughter Marion Strandh (Lennart); four grandchildren: Dana Goodson (Brian), Melanie Macey (Edward), Daniel Strandh (Marla), and Trevor Strandh (Rachel); and nine great-grandchildren. Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, a memorial service at RBHS will be postponed until a later date. He asked that any memorial donations be made to the RBHS Friends of the Library (

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Published in San Diego Union-Tribune on May 13, 2020.
Memorial service
Rancho Bernardo High School
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May 14, 2020
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