John Nielson (Neil) Mason, age 70, died peacefully on May 24, 2017 at home in Lillooet BC, surrounded by love and caring, after a rollercoaster ride with cancer. Neil was born June 1, 1946, in Vancouver BC to Dr. John Leslie (Jack) and Ivy Mason. The Masons moved to Summerland in 1950 and became a fixture of the Trout Creek neighbourhood.
Neil attended Okanagan College and UBC, earned a Masters degree in English, and later taught English at the Military College in St Jean-d’Iberville, Quebec. Neil was a man who recreated himself several times both in his work and his personal life. He decided he wanted to be a mushroom farmer in 1980, starting his own farm in Nova Scotia, followed by working at a couple of farms in the Lower Mainland. Then, starting in 1985, Neil spent many years building and operating Meadowfresh Mushrooms in Saskatoon. In 1996 he closed Meadowfresh and moved back to Summerland to take care of his dad. During these years, he operated Summerland Used Auto Parts. His life once again changed course when he decided to return to school to become a counselor. He proudly earned his Masters in Counselling from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington in 2006, and got a job as Tit-Qet Band Counsellor in Lillooet, BC.
Predeceased by his parents Jack and Ivy Mason and wife Connie Driver, he leaves behind his wife Elizabeth (Dunlop) Mason; his children David Mason (Katie Claussen) and Kathy (Chris) McKellar, and their mother Joan (Holler) Mason; his son Fieran Mason-Blakley (Jennifer Coles) and his mother Buffy Blakley; his grandchildren (Isaac, Gwyneth, Ian, William, Adam, Jonas, and Kai), his step-daughter Josie (Driver) Wessel, as well as his extended family.
Neil found his calling when he became a counselor, and this work gave his later years great meaning. Over the years, he developed a close connection to the St’at’imc people. After his passing, a St’at’imc traditional ceremony was held for him at his home in Lillooet, and our family felt honoured to take part.
We thank those special people who cared for Dad before his passing, including his Drs. Mandoloun, Nyeong, and Van Heerdan, Nurses Lindy & Crystal, BC Cancer Agency and Interior Health staff, St’at’imc spiritual leaders and healers, and especially his wife Liz who took care of him with great love, tenderness, and patience. A celebration of life event took place in Summerland on June 3rd.
We thank all those that attended and we enjoyed reconnecting with family and friends.