Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


November 7, 2013

Three WWII veterans named Harry



Harold F. Mason

Harold F. Mason, 86, passed May 19. A native of Queens New York, he grew up a very active young man and loved to play hockey.

While still in his teens, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and was assigned to the Pacific Theater of Action shortly after basic military and specialist training. Crossing the Pacific to an assignment, he accidentally was thrown overboard but hung on to the netting on the side of the ship for most of three days, seeing only the sea and sky. He took part in the Battle for the Philippines and other Islands in the Pacific Theater and had many near death experiences.

On one occasion, while in the Pacific and towards the end of the war, Harry went into a medical tent as his leg was swollen and he had a red streak up and down the leg. The corpsman told him he would probably die within the next 24 hours from the infection. He also advised him that they had a new drug called Penicillin, yet he didn't know if it would help or not. He took the Penicillin, the swelling went down and the infection disappeared.

After the war he attended the Pratt Institute of New York and graduated with a degree in chemical engineering. He met his wife, Christine, at a dance and after some dating decided to get married. He was offered a job with Burns and Roe Engineering in California, and they left New York to start their life together in California. They became Californians with thick Brooklyn accents, had three children and seven grandchildren.

Harold was an avid reader. In his retirement he probably read the Bible at least 10 times. In 2008 he started writing religious books and authored three books on the Catholic faith. Two of the books he had written, which I have read, were The Bible and Today (2008) and The Holy Spirit (2012) — both excellent reading.

He was a dedicated bridge player and became very good at the game. He learned from others and read about the strategies of playing. When in a game, he would quickly learn everyone's cards from memory and their "game plan" within/before the second round. It was a real challenge for him and he accepted the challenge with gusto. He was very, very good at bridge.

I visited with Harry after various church services, as he was most interesting to talk with and always had something new to discuss. In addition to our Catholic faith, we would discuss his time spent in the war and where he was sent to accomplish the objectives. He would always ask questions about many subjects, all interesting. He was a humble, very religious, caring husband, father and grandfather. He was of the "Greatest Generation" of Americans, and I salute, miss him and hold him close to my heart.

These WWII veterans have touched many in their travels. Respected by all they came in contact with and dedicated to making lives for others more comfortable. Peace, justice and the American way were tenets they aspired to and practiced. Thanks for the memories dear veteran friends whom I called "Harry."

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