Homer Eugene Mason
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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 Jun. 16 to Jun. 17, 2012.
Memories & Condolences
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9 entries
June 29, 2012
Summers on Silver Beach will never be the same. I am sorry that we only became aquatinted these last few years. I always looked forward to my visits with Gene and will miss our neighbor on Lake Minnewaska. Gene, will be missed dearly.
June 20, 2012
Gene was a man with an admirable depth of character, a good friend, a helpful and cooperative colleague, and an important mentor in my early days of Minnesota. We will not see the likes of him again.

Norman Dahl
June 19, 2012
Gene was my teacher and advisor at the U of MN when I was an undergraduate. On the strength of his recommendation to his graduate school, I went to Harvard, too. Gene was a gentle guy who could also be quite direct (with a twinkle in his eye) as he demonstrated when, after getting me my first job, he said, "You know, as a teacher you will have to make all of your classes, not like when you were a student.")
Ron Salzberger
June 18, 2012
My sympathy and condolences to his family. Gene was a quiet but influential philosopher, teacher, and mentor. He was also a sweet and gentle man. He played a significant and formative role in my philosophical education and eventual career. He'll be sorely missed.
David Brink
June 18, 2012
Philosopher and scholar, gentleman, a wonderful, humane person. It was a privilege and a delight to know him. My condolences to all the family.
Vicki Harper
June 17, 2012
My deepest sympathy. I am so happy
that my Fred and I had the privilege of
being a friend. Phyllis
phyllis sherman
June 17, 2012
Gene was my colleague in the University of Minnesota philosophy department until I retired and joined the Minnesota Center for Cognitive Science. He was a bright philosopher and a warm friend and it was a pleasure to be his colleague.
C. Wade (612 354 7683) Savage
June 17, 2012
Professor Mason was the head of the department when I began my graduate studies. I will always remember his warmth and wisdom. My condolences to his family.
Peg Kaplan
June 17, 2012
Anita Wallace
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