James Russell Mason Jr.
June 15, 2023
On May 26, 2023, after a valiant fight with cancer, James Russell Mason Jr. passed away peacefully surrounded by his wife and daughters, and returned to the twinkling stars from which he came. During his time on earth, he brightly lit the way for his family for 86 well-lived years.
Born a man of luck and coincidence in Ironwood, Michigan, on Jan. 17, 1937, James arrived on the same day at the same hospital as his cousin, also named James. Newspaper stories announcing the twin cousins' births sealed his fate as a local legend. The first of four children born to James and Luella Mason (Treloar), Jimmy was a homegrown product of the U.P., an outdoor-loving boy who could be found fishing lakes and streams and hunting at the camp house on Lake Gogebic. He was an accomplished skier and ski jumper who worked ski patrol at the local ski hill.
Jim graduated from Luther L. Wright High School in 1955, and went to work with his father at Mason's Refrigeration before joining the U.S. Navy in 1957. In 1958 he married Annette Ojala of Bessemer, Michigan, and liked to tell the story of how he first met little Netsy while playing kick-the-can as children. Jim and Annette settled in Long Beach, California, where Jim followed in his father and grandfather's footsteps in the HVAC business.
A proud father of three daughters, Jim shared his love for hiking, fishing, and camping with his girls. He cheered them on through all of their endeavors, always reminding them that "if they could dream it, they could do it." A motto he followed throughout his life, building homes, barns, snowmobiles and a boat, to name a few of his undertakings.
After moving to Orange Park Acres, California, in 1971, Jim lived his dream as a cowboy farmer, building his barns, growing vegetables, and raising animals. Always busy trying his hand at new ventures, Jim took college classes, earned his pilot's license, his real estate and broker's license, sold John Deere tractors, invested in rental properties, taught school, restored vintage cars, and eagerly shared his knowledge with his neighbors and friends. He was a jack-of-all-trades and master of many.
There is so much more to say about Jim, he charmed almost everyone he met with his earnest midwestern demeanor. He truly loved his family and he lived his life the way he wanted to, in a way that only he could do. He will be eternally missed.
James Mason Jr. leaves behind the love of his life, his favorite dance partner, and his wife of 65 years, Annette Mason (Ojala); daughters, Renee Reynolds (Greg), Annissa Mason Doumitt (Robert) and Jaimee Rojas (Rafael); grandchildren, Morgan Reynolds, Mason Reynolds (Diana), Maitlyn Reynolds, Ella Rojas, Emery Doumitt and Layla Rojas; great-grandchild, Russell Reynolds; and siblings, Craig Mason and Bonnie Noonan. He was predeceased by his parents, James and Luella; and sister, Marsha Miller.
Donations can be made in memoriam to Disabled American Veterans at cst.dav.org.