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Descendant of President Adams, John Homans Mason Is Recalled As a Gentleman and Scrupulous Jurist 1 - 2


THE HONORABLE JOHN HOMANS MASON Lí73, a respected justice on the Massachusetts Appeals Court, died last July after a long illness. He was 58. Mason, who often stayed in the office well after his clerks had departed, was known for his legendary work ethic and his well-crafted and detailed legal opinions. Friends also remember him as an unassuming gentleman.

"John was a very special person. His intellect was equaled only by his compassion for others. And, for many of us, he was our very, very, very best friend," said Henry Schlieff Lí73, chairman and chief executive officer of Court TV, which has established a John H. Mason Fellowship in Law and Public Service.

A quintessential Bostonian, Mason was a descendant of John and Abigail Adams. Raised in the shadow of the Massachusetts State House, he graduated from Harvard College in 1967. After college he enlisted in the Army and volunteered for duty in Vietnam, saying at the time that he had no right to stay home while others put their lives on the line to serve their country. As with every endeavor in his life, Mason distinguished himself, receiving a Bronze Star and a medal of similar rank from the Vietnamese. (He had been a combat advisor to Vietnamese forces.)

Following his tour of duty, Mason attended Penn Law School, where he served as editor in chief of the Law Review before graduating magna cum laude in 1973. Former Penn Law Dean Bernard Wolfman Cí46 Lí48, who came to know Mason quite well, has fond memories of him. "John was known not only for his extraordinary intelligence, but also for his never failing courtesy while remaining firm and true to his principles and carefully thought-out positions where others might differ," recalls Wolfman, now Fessenden Professor of Law at Harvard.

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