John Mason

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Date published: 24/06/2013
© Newbury Weekly News

JOHN MASON

 

A LINK WITH A PAST GENERATION

 

We regret to announce the death of Mr. John Mason, which took place early on Friday morning at the Newbury District Hospital. Mr. Mason's passing was  one which any man might wish for. Though he had reached the great age of 87 he retained possession of his faculties to the last. A little more than a week before his death he was carrying on his duties of auditing. Then he became ill and upon his doctor's orders was removed to a private ward in the Hospital. He dropped into a peaceful sleep from which he never awoke.

 

John Mason was the eldest son of the late John Hawe Mason, who came to Newbury by coach five years short of a century ago and built up the well-known grocery business in the Market-place -now Walker's Stores- which bore his name. Both father and son outlived their contemporaries. Mr. Mason senior was 90 years of age when he died in 1907, and his son, who has just passed away was 87 last October.

 

Soon after his father's death, Mr Mason gave up the business in the Market-place, but he by no means retired from active work. All his life he was an exceptionally good accountant and being held in the highest integrity he has acted for many years as auditor for various institutions and undertakings, as well as being entrusted with the conduct of confidential matter by many of his fellow townsmen.

 

In the old days there were elective auditors for the Borough accounts, and it is 51 years ago last March since Mr. Mason was first appointed  Borough Auditor. His first co-auditor was the late Mr, Frederick Hickman and afterwards Mr. Mason and Mr. Belcher acted continuously in that capacity until the latter's death in 1913. From then Mr. L. E. Shergold was associated with him until Government auditors took over the auditing of the Corporation accounts during the War.

 

Mr Mason was at the time of his death one of the auditors of the Newbury Building Society, a position which he had occupied for 41 years. He also used to audit the Fire Brigade accounts as well as attending to the affairs of several business firms,

 

Although up to middle age he was to some extend overshadowed by his father- a man of extraordinary determination and force of character- yet Mr. Mason did a large amount of public service for the community in a quiet way. For many years he was largely responsible for the carrying on in the town of the Gordon Boys' Brigade, which in its day did a great deal to solve the problem of juvenile unemployment. He was one of the sole surviving directors of the Newbury Cemetery Company. His work for the treasurer of the Newbury Nursing Association he continued until a week prior to his death and his books were so methodically kept and up to date with their entries that a successor had no difficulty in picking up the threads where he dropped them. His death will be a great loss to the Association.

Mr Mason had been a life-long attendant at the Methodist Church. He came of a well-known Methodist family, his grandfather, the Rev. John Mason, being for many years Book Steward of the Wesleyan Methodist Connexion. Mr Mason was a trustee of the Northbrook-street Church and for many years hon. Treasurer of the Sunday School.

 

In his younger days he was very fond of boating and kept a skiff on the river in which he would row up the old river or take his friends for picnic parties by water to Hamstead Park. He was a volunteer, and amongst his contemporaries in the old E. (Newbury) Company were Mr George Matthews and Mr Ralph Allder.

 

There was an old-fashioned courtesy about him. He had in a marked degree the Victorian virtue of answering in his own handwriting all letters by return of post, and if anyone did him a favour he would never forget to acknowledge it. So another link with a former generation has passed away.

 

THE FUNERAL

 

The funeral took place on Monday afternoon at the Newtown-road Cemetery, a service in the Chapel being conducted by the Rev. O. Kirkby Evans, Northbrook-street Methodist Church minister. The interment was in the same grave as Mr Mason's late wife.

 

The mourners were Mr F.J.Mason (son), Mr. and Mrs. W.A. Ingram, Mr. and Mrs. L. E. Yeomans (daughters and sons-in-law), Miss F. Mason (sister), Mr F.M. Adnams (nephew), Mr J. H. Thompson (executor).

 

There follows a very long list of those present at the funeral and of floral tributes.

 

Newbury Weekly News 17 January 1935

Sources:Newbury Weekly News 17 January 1935

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