Thelston Mason passed away Jan. 23, 2022, with his love, Jeanine (Jean), and his mother, Sheila, by his side. He will be deeply missed by his family and by all the people he inspired and got to know over the years. His life was well lived, full of family, adventure, great friendships and rich experiences.
Born Feb. 3, 1964, in Skagway, Alaska, Thel was brought up like a true Southeastern Alaska boy. He enjoyed fishing, hiking, snowmachining and camping in the Skagway and Dyea valleys and at his family’s cabin in British Columbia. Thel excelled in athletics, particularly basketball and cross-country, and enjoyed the competition and camaraderie that brings so many Southeast Alaskan communities together.
Thel met the love of his life, Jean Fairbanks, while growing up in Skagway. They were high school sweethearts and married in Tucson, Arizona, where Thel attended the University of Arizona. They created a family together, welcoming their daughter, Courtney, and son, Cirai. The family moved to Juneau in 1998.
Thel was a hard-working provider for his family. After attending the Universities of Hawaii and Arizona, he went on to carve out a successful career in the construction industry in Alaska. While working for Knik Construction, he had the opportunity to travel and work in many rural communities throughout the Northwest Arctic, Western and Interior regions of the state. In a 21-year career in management with Secon, Inc., he worked from Skagway to Prince of Wales Island. In the 80s, Thel also spent two seasons based in King Cove fishing and crabbing in the Bering Sea.
Thel was small in stature but big in character. Nothing shone brighter than his work ethic, intelligence and humor. As one close friend said, “The thing I loved most about him was how he could make everyone around him better at whatever they were doing.” In both his work and personal life, he made sure things were done the right way and on time. He was quick with a witty comment and had an endearing nickname for everyone around him. Whether it was a prank phone call to his grandmother or an eclectic fashion choice, he could always rouse laughter from his family and friends.
Thel’s love of travel spurred many adventures with Jean. They traveled throughout the United States and internationally, seeking new cultures to learn, foods to try, activities to experience and beaches to relax on. His favorite destinations included Costa Rica’s beaches and New Orleans’ vibrant culture. No matter where he went he sought out local spots where he would drum up a conversation, connect with people and learn how to best experience the location. In true “Project Manager Mason” style, there was always a well-researched itinerary for each day.
The loss is immeasurable; but so is the love left behind.
Thel is survived by his wife, Jeanine Mason, his children, Courtney Mason (Sheilah O’Loughlin) and Thomas Cirai Mason, his mother, Sheila Mason and his grandson, Kieran O’Loughlin, as well as many close friends and extended family. He was predeceased by his beloved grandmother, Delia “Dee” Mulkey, father, Thomas C. Mason, uncles Terry and Charlie Mason and brother, Troy Mason, as well as maternal grandparents Sam and Ruth Nelson and aunts Darlene, Sandee and Bonnnie.
A gathering in Thel’s memory will be planned for Summer 2022 in Skagway, Alaska, date and time to be shared.