James Leonard Mason – September 16, 2017

James Leonard Mason, loyal and devoted soldier for his God and his country, received a hero’s welcome home to heaven on September 16, 2017.  His strong and inspirational presence has been cherished by his family, countless friends, and many more who knew him through stories and wisdom shared. The family’s pain of this loss is eased by knowing he is reunited with so many he has loved who are already in heaven, including his beloved wife Marie and precious daughter Jeannie. James’ children, Jeannie, recently deceased, (David) Potter, Brenda (Charles) Young, J. Leonard (Cathy) Mason, and Dwight (Patty) Mason and their children owe a great debt to God and His people for the many expressions of love and gratitude shared with James that made his life fulfilling and purposeful.

“Grandpa” Mason remains a hero of epic proportions to 11 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren:  Rachel (Young) Carpenter and husband Aron (Maxwell and Riley James), Jennifer Potter, Zachary Young and wife Amanda (Skylar, Maverick, Shaelee, Marie May deceased, Hazel), Sara Potter, Jacob Young and wife Jessica (Eden and Evelyn),  Caleb Mason, Melinda (Mason) Ferguson and husband Ray, Sarah Mason (fiancé Nate Alderfer), Marshall Mason and wife Michelle, Jonathan Mason, Benjamin Mason.

James was born May 1, 1921, in West Decatur, Pennsylvania, to Leroy and Minnie Mason. His parents raised an active and loving family of seven children to be contributing and serving adults. All have preceded James to heaven except his youngest sister, Campsey Richter.

James joined the Army in 1938. He was at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed, and as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne, he personally heard Winston Churchill’s challenge before their jump into Normandy on D-Day. He was wounded in 11 places on June 21, 1944, during the liberation of France at Carentan. 

Following the war, James committed his life to Christ. In 1950, he married the answer to his prayers, Marie Elizabeth Todd, and they entered the pastoral ministry. James was a graduate of God’s Bible School in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He and Marie served Free Methodist churches in Caldwell, Zanesville, Canton, New Albany, Dalton, Urbana, and Sugarcreek, Ohio.

“Pastor Mason” is distinguished by being truly that, a pastor until his last days. Even in his final years, as a resident at Walnut Hills Retirement Community, he continued to minister to and pray with the residents, nurses, staff, and all who came to visit him.

The family is especially grateful to the nurses and staff at Walnut Hills and LifeCare Hospice for their faithful care and loving support of Jim.

Pastor Jim’s generosity, sacrifice, love, and continual investments in those around him are his legacy to his blessed family and the world. His departure was full of peace and joy. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” (Psalm 116:15) Strike up the band! Another soldier has come home!

Services will be held on Sunday, September 24, 2017, at 3:00 PM at NewPointe Community Church, 3950 SR 39 NW, Dover, OH 44622, where Military Honors will also be held.  Following services private family burial will take place in Union Hill Cemetery in Sugarcreek.  Friends may call on Saturday from 1-6 PM at NewPointe Community in Dover and on Sunday from 2-3 PM prior to services at the Church. Arrangements are being handled by Smith-Varns Funeral Home in Sugarcreek.  To continue James’ lifelong ministry of helping others, memorial gifts may be sent to ClearBlue Global Water Project, 2717 S. Arlington Road, Suite C, Akron, Ohio 44312, and water wells will be drilled in his memory in needy countries.  For those unable to attend please visit the funeral home’s website to share a memory and sign the guest register.