John Mason passed away at Rock River Hospice and Home in Sterling, IL on January 3, 2023. He was born April 30, 1941 in Morrison, IL to Robert and Cecile Mason. He was raised on a farm and attended one room country schools through 8th grade along with his best friends and cousins Jeanne and Jane. He loved to tell stories of life on the farm and although he left the farm decades ago he always considered himself a farmer. He was a member of the Morrison High School Class of 1959 and was proud that he attended a Morrison High School sporting event every year of his life.
On July 23, 1965 he married the former Nancy Baker and in 1971 they moved to Hinckley along with their daughter Amy. He taught U.S History and Government in Hinckley, Dwight and Sandwich junior high schools and an award-winning service learning class at Malta High School. He loved inspiring students to learn about the U.S. Constitution and government.
As much as he loved teaching, coaching was even more of a passion. He coached both boys and girls basketball at different points in his 56 year career, beginning in Hinckley and then Dwight, Sandwich, Malta, Aurora Central Catholic, Ohio, Paw Paw, Hinckley-Big Rock, Genoa-Kingston, Lamoille and North Boone. On his 70th birthday he was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. At various times he also coached softball, soccer, track and football. He treasured the relationships he made with students and players throughout his career in education and loved staying in contact with them.
When not coaching a game himself, his favorite past-time was attending high school sports, especially the state basketball tournament. Witnessing the Morrison Mustangs win football and softball state championships and the Hinckley-Big Rock Royals win girls basketball state championships were highlights for him.
He was a lifelong Cub and Fighting Illini fan. As a 19 year Cubs season ticket holder he was thrilled to experience the 2016 postseason run to the World Series from his seats in the upper deck at Wrigley Field. He passed down his love of sports to Amy and they shared countless hours together attending games in person and watching them on TV.
He was a member of the First United Methodist Church.
He was also proud of his vegetable garden which typically included well over 100 tomato plants among other vegetables.
He is survived by his daughter Amy (Julie Sullivan), cousin Jeanne (Bob) Kuba, nephews Bill Blean and Matt (Jamie) Andrews, sister-in-law Alice Andrews, brother-in-law Dale Baker, numerous great nieces and grand dog and best friend Clark Addison.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, sister Carolyn Blean, nephew Rob Blean, cousin Jane Fransen and many beloved dogs and cats.
In honor of his love for animals, memorials in his name can be made to Tails Humane Society or the animal rescue organization of your choice.
Funeral Services will be held at 4:00 PM on Sunday, January 8, 2023 at the Hinckley First United Methodist Church, 801 N. Sycamore St., Hinckley, IL with Pastor Derek Rogers officiating. Interment will take place in the Grove Hill Cemetery in Morrison, IL.
Friends may visit from 1:00 PM until the Hour of Service on Sunday, January 8, 2023 at the Hinckley First United Methodist Church in Hinckley, IL.
Arrangements by Nelson Funeral Home & Crematory, www.NelsonFuneralHomes.com or 815-286-3247.