West Bath, Maine
Conrad Forrest Mason passed away July 1, 2018 at the age of 95.
Conrad was born in Augusta, Maine on August 12, 1922 to John and Elsie (Conrad) Mason. He grew up in Vassalboro and was raised by his father. Conrad loved to drive from an early age and worked for Maine Central Bus Line as a teen. He enlisted in the Army as a tank driver half way through his senior year in high school in 1942. During the war, he “island-hopped” the Pacific Theater driving the Japanese back to their homeland where he then served as a member of the U.S. occupation forces in Japan before returning home in 1946.
He was given his job back at Maine Central Bus Line under one condition: that he go back to school and finish his senior year to earn his high school diploma. Conrad visited Cony Principal Bill Macomber, who worked out a way for him to earn his diploma while still working for Maine Central. It was at Cony that he met the love of his life, Gloria Testa. He was immediately smitten with Gloria, but she made him drive next to her while she walked home from school for two weeks before she agreed to get in the car with him. They married a year later and spent the next 60 years together.
Conrad drove a charter bus for Maine Central and then became a railroad man with Maine Central Railroad in Waterville, a job that he held until his retirement in 1983. He and Gloria loved to travel by car, driving down the east coast or cross-country at least once every year.
In 1969, Conrad and Gloria were blessed with a son, Jeffery. They were loving and active parents, and shifted their driving trips to support Maine YMCA swim meets, rifle shooting events from Maine to Ohio, Boy Scout activities and visiting relatives in New York, Tennessee, Florida, and California. Ignacio Martin-Alba, a friend of Jeffery’s through the state YMCA camp, came to live with the Masons and attend St. Mary’s School for two years and grew to be like a son to Conrad and Gloria. The couple maintained a close relationship to their Mexican family throughout the rest of their lives.
Conrad was a kind man who taught neighborhood children to drive, served as a ready father figure to those who needed one, and loved and cared for many animals. Conrad and Gloria lovingly raised several cats through the years. They were laid to rest in the family pet cemetery where Conrad would visit and share a story with them daily. He befriended several raccoons, squirrels and other wild animals over the years, and was particularly pleased to recall the day a skunk and raccoon ate out of his hand at the same time.
Perhaps the greatest joy of his life was his granddaughter, Katherine Conrad. He pulled her around the driveway in a red wagon as a baby, faithfully attended her school and sporting events, and told her countless stories of his amazing life by the living room fire. No one could ever finish an exchange with Conrad without hearing a tale of Katherine’s current activities spoken with the pride of a loving grandfather.
After Gloria passed in 2008, Conrad spent his time focused on Katherine and driving his car. Each day typically began and ended by driving to the Cook’s Corner McDonald’s from his West Bath home where he would sip coffee, review of the daily newspaper, and enjoy good conversation with the establishment’s friendly staff and regular patrons.
He is pre-deceased by his wife of 60 years and his brother and sister-in-law, Gordon and Dot Mason. He is survived by his son, Jeffery, daughter-in-law, Kristin, granddaughter, Katherine, and Ignacio Martin-Alba, a dear friend of the family. Conrad and his family are particularly grateful for the loving care the staff at the Augusta Maine Veteran’s Home provided the last year of his life.
Relatives and friends may visit on Thursday, July 12 from 5-7 PM at Plummer Funeral Home, 16 Pleasant St., Augusta, ME. A memorial service will be held at 2 PM on Friday, July 13 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Western Ave., Augusta. Burial will be at a later date in the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Mt. Vernon Rd., Augusta.
Memorial donations in memory of Conrad may be made to the Augusta Maine Veterans Home (B Company) (www.mainevets.org ), 310 Cony Road, Augusta, ME 04330 or to the YMCA Camp of Maine (www.maineycamp.org ), P.O. Box 446, Winthrop, ME 04364.