AMerican Veteran 11

William J. Mason

September 29, 1925 ~ November 16, 2021 (age 96)


William J. Mason, 96, of Urbana died Tuesday, November 16, at Brookdale Assisted Living community, Urbana.  He was born September 29, 1925, in Sadorus, Illinois, the son of William H. Mason and Edna Holl Mason.  They preceded him in death.  He was also preceded in death by his sisters Lois Gepner of Urbana and Donna McCoyne of Sarasota, Florida.  He is survived by two nieces, Marsha Gepner of Urbana and Marilyn (Gary) Miller of Cary, Illinois; and two nephews, Michael and Mark McCoyne of Homewood, Illinois.  Also surviving are four grandnieces and three grandnephews, two great-grandnephews and two great-grandnieces.

William, or “Uncle Bill” as he was affectionately known, not only by his nieces and nephews, but also Brookdale staff members and others who knew him well, was a World War II veteran. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps from 1943 to 1946, as a corporal and aerial gunner.  Bill graduated from Sadorus High School, and was a lifelong, devoted member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Sadorus. 

Growing up, Bill worked with his father in the family’s Sadorus garage; and became a proficient mechanic. Bill was a cameraman at WCIA-Channel 3 for many years before retiring.  He was also a professional photographer, who frequently traveled throughout the U.S. to find places of interest and beauty to photograph. His favorite subject was nature, be it large panoramic views of mountains and lakes, to macro photographs of flowers, dewdrops, birds, and other wildlife.  A reticent fellow with a keen sense of humor, he was an avid fan of the St. Louis Cardinals since he first heard them on the radio win the 1934 World Series against Detroit. 

Despite his sometimes gruff exterior, Bill had a gentle and kind spirit and he was always ready to give a hand to family, friends, and charitable endeavors to which he lent his support for several years. Family was always of primary importance to him. Following his father’s early death, Bill looked after his mother through the end of her life. His legacy to his family will be the visual poetry of his vast collection of photographs, a testament to God’s glorious natural creations.

Bill will be interred at Craw Cemetery, Sadorus.  A graveside memorial will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, charitable donations to the Urbana Parks Foundation would be most appreciated, as one of Bill’s favorite places—where he spent hours and made many amazing photographs—was Meadowbrook Park.
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