Dr. William Mason was born on June 15, 1926 in Saginaw, Michigan to William J. and Dora Mason. While in school, he was on the varsity football team and swam on the state championship team. He graduated from Arthur Hill High School in 1944. After graduation, he enlisted and spent 27 months in the U.S. Marine Corps and served in the South Pacific Theatre during World War II.
He attended the University of Michigan in 1946 where he received his medical degree. He married Suzanne Toepel in 1951 and they raised four children, spending their summers at Old Mission near Traverse City, Michigan. The Masons were dedicated parents and members of St. Stephen Catholic Church.
In 1953 Dr. Mason served his internship at San Diego County Hospital. He completed his residency in pediatrics at the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital and was selected to serve a fellowship in epilepsy and cerebral palsy at Boston Children’s Hospital through Harvard Medical School Children’s Hospital.
The Masons returned to Saginaw in 1957 and Dr. Mason opened his pediatrics practice with Dr. Robert Heavenrich, Dr. Rudolph Jarvi and Dr. Eugene Rank. In 1968, Dr. Mason was selected to serve as a Head Start consultant with 525 other doctors to help with the needs of children in their communities. In 1969, he served as a member without pay for one year at Michigan State University along with Dr. Heavenrich, Dr. Jarvi, Dr. Rank and Dr. Roggen as part of a voluntary medical faculty program.
Dr. Mason was the founder of the Saginaw County Youth Protection Council and established the Neonatal Clinic at Saginaw General Hospital serving on their executive committee. Today, the neo-natal unit serves all of northeast Michigan. He helped the Youth Protection Council with a residence for runaway pregnant teenagers, addicts and troubled youth. Today it has become one of the most influential agencies serving Saginaw County youth. A Poison Control Center was established by Dr. Mason at Saginaw General Hospital and created a 24 hour resource.
Dr. Mason was also a founder of Future Physicians Club, which recruited physicians to the Saginaw area. The club was open to all seniors who wanted to learn about the field of medicine and gave them a chance to hear local physicians talk about their expertise in the medical field. He felt “people learn by seeing and doing.” The culmination of the course was the ability to follow a physician of their choice around for a day to get a feel for medicine.
He was elected chief of staff at Saginaw General Hospital and chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at that hospital. Dr. Mason was a 50 year member of the Michigan State Medical Society, executive member of the Loeffingwell Forest Preserve Association and a member of the University of Michigan Alumni Association and its Galen Medical Society.
Dr. and Mrs. Mason both took an active interest in Saginaw by volunteering and keeping up with current events and fundraisers. Dr. Mason also served on the board of the Saginaw Community Foundation and the Saginaw Club.
In 1995, Dr. Mason was selected as one of America’s Outstanding Pediatricians and in 2002 received the Distinguished Physician Award from Covenant Health Care for his many years of caring service to thousands of children.
When he retired after 40 years in practice, the “Saginaw News” wrote that Dr. Mason will always be remembered as “one of Saginaw’s finest friends.” One parent wrote about Dr. William Mason, “He was always there and always took the time to explain things, there was always a smile and usually a story or a joke.”
Dr. William Mason died October 23, 2004 and was inducted into the Saginaw Hall of Fame in 2015.
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