This site includes the postings from the Irish Aires email list. This includes a listing of Irish/Celtic events in the Houston area and other information that the Irish Aires radio program posts.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Mason, well-known singer and teacher, dies at 78 Mason, well-known singer and teacher, dies at 78 Well-rounded life included time with Houston police, churches for singing By MIKE TOLSON HOUSTON CHRONICLE June 1, 2009, 8:24PM Arthur Gordon Mason, a former teacher and well- known local singer who performed for years at the Great Caruso dinner theater, died Friday. He was 78. Mason enjoyed several careers. He taught at Awty International School and Rice University. He served as a psychologist for the Houston Police Department and in private practice. And he sang professionally, with his lyrical tenor voice a special favorite among Houston’s Scottish and Irish communities and parishioners at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, where he was a member. “Arthur could speak with an Irish accent, Scottish accent, English accent or a faulty American accent, but his voice spoke the universal language of music and love,” said longtime friend Kathleen Miggins. “There wasn’t a finer voice or a grander fellow that you’d ever want to know.” Mason was born in Corby, Northamptonshire, England, on Dec. 11, 1930, to William and Mary Mason. He came to the United States in the early 1970s to visit a sister, Margaret, a war bride, and decided to stay. He received his initial college degree in England but continued his education in the U.S., ultimately earning a doctorate in psychology, relatives said. “Every family has the favorite uncle who encourages you to do silly stuff, and that was our Uncle Arthur,” said his niece, Margaret Keenan. “We called him Peter Pan because he was just an overgrown child himself, especially around kids. He was always silly Uncle Arthur who tap-danced in the choir loft and had this pocket full of candy for the kids. He loved children.” In his prime, Mason sang at weddings, funerals, wakes and dozens of special occasions. He sang at the Shamrock Hotel and was a mainstay at Irish Society and Heather and Thistle Society functions. In time, he gave up teaching and made his living at the Great Caruso, a west Houston dinner theater that offered musical entertainment for three decades until it burned down in 2006. Mason retired from the restaurant following a stroke about 10 years ago, his niece said, but continued to sing at private events. He also sang at church and recorded sacred music with Scott Holshauser, the church organist and keyboardist for the Houston Symphony. “He had exquisite range and could sing the comic songs as well as the classics,” Miggins said. “He would bring a tear to a glass eye singing Bonnie Mary of Argyle.” Mason, who never married, is survived by a sister, Betty Keenan of Houston; brother Tommy Mason of England; 10 nieces and nephews and 12 great-nieces and great-nephews. He was preceded in death by a sister, Margaret Williams. A rosary will be said at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at Holy Rosary followed by a memorial service.
Dr. Arthur Joseph Mason
DR. ARTHUR JOSEPH MASON died peacefully in his sleep on Friday, May 29, 2009 at Memorial Hermann Hospital Medical Center surrounded by his loved ones.
Born on December 11, 1930 in Craigneuk, Scotland, Arthur lived a rich and colorful life.
As a psychologist, educator and entertainer, he touched countless lives. Arthur was probably best known for his glorious tenor voice which helped form the soundtrack of many people's lives in the Houston community and beyond.
Arthur was preceded in death by his beloved parents, William and Mary Mason and his sister Margaret Williams. He is survived by his loving sister and brother-in law, Betty and Harry Keenan, brother Tom Mason (in England), brother-in-law Franklin Williams, as well as his much-loved nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews and a host of long-time friends.
The family wishes to express their sincere gratitude to the neurological team of doctors, nurses and other caregivers at Memorial Hermann Hospital Medical Center.
A Memorial Mass will be held at the Holy Rosary Catholic Church on Wednesday, June 3 at 10:00AM, immediately following the Rosary at 9:30AM. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations in Arthur's name to either the Dominican Fathers or the Alzheimer's Association.
Is there a man, whose judgement clear
Can others teach the course to steer,
Yet runs, himself, life's mad career,
Wild as the wave?
Here pause - and, thro' the starting tear,
Survey this grave.
Robert Burns (from A Bard's Epitaph)
Here I am, Lord
So sorry to learn of Arthur Gordon Mason's passing. He was a good friend to the Irish community in Houston and we personally remember how he sang to our newborn son at his baptim back in 1977. RIP Arthur. We will keep Arthur in our thoughts and prayers as we cannot attend the service due to being out of the state. Desmond and Patricia
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