James D. Mason, Jr., MD

Class Year




Posted on: March 30, 2020

Dr. James Dunn Mason, Jr. passed away on March 22, 2020.

He was the son of James Dunn Mason and Sarah Hamilton Mason; grandson of Alexander Donnan Hamilton, Cornelia Cocke Hamilton, James D. Mason, and Martha Leigh Mason. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 58 years, Jeanne Walsh Mason and his brother Alexander Hamilton Mason. He is survived by five children: Dr. Joseph T. Mason and wife Nancy, James D. Mason IV, Nancy M. Terrell and husband Jerry, William W. Mason and wife Beth, and Patrick H. Mason and husband Devlin. Also surviving him are eight grandchildren: Sara P. Mason, Kate W. Mason and husband Andrew Schechter, James D. Mason V, Elizabeth Mason, R.C. “Bud” Webb III and wife Amy, James M. Webb, Cameron H. Terrell, and Samantha Collins. Also survived by his sister Sarah M. “Sally” Ayers and husband Charles, and by great grandchildren Madelyn Webb, Jameson Webb, and Rhett Schechter.

He was educated in the Petersburg public school system and was valedictorian of the 1941 class at PHS. He attended the University of Virginia and received his B.A. in 1948 and M.D. in 1951. He was a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, the Raven Society, ODK leadership fraternity, AOA honor medical society, and Eli Banana. He was privileged to serve on the honor committee at UVA. After graduation from medical school, he trained at Boston University for two years, during which he met and married his soul mate, Mary Jeanne Walsh while she was training as a nurse at Faulkner Hospital. They returned to UVA for two more years of training in internal medicine and hematology/oncology before moving to Petersburg to join the practice of Munford Yates, with whom he enjoyed a great partnership.

He was a diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine and practiced for 45 years in Petersburg. He served as chief of staff for two terms at Petersburg General Hospital, later Southside Regional. He was a lifetime member of the American Medical Association, the Virginia Medical Society, and the American College of Physicians. He also served on the board of directors of the UVA Medical Alumni Association and on the board of trustees of the UVA Medical Alumni Foundation. During WWII, he served in the U.S. Army for 31 months. He was a rifleman in the 96th Infantry Division and received the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for action in the invasion of Leyte in the Phillipines, during which he was shot in the arm and nearly lost it.

Jimmy had a strong Christian faith and was a founding member of Covenant Presbyterian Church, where he was an elder emeritus, taught Sunday school and sang in the choir. He was profoundly grateful to God for all the blessings he received on earth and trusted God’s grace in eternity.

He enjoyed most sports as observer and participant. In 1941, he was state boys tennis champion and with his good friend, Ed Clements, state doubles champion. He was not as proficient at golf but had a passion for the game and was fortunate to play many of the world’s great courses with his many good friends. After his retirement in 2000, he audited many courses at Richard Bland College, whose faculty he valued highly. He also enjoyed playing bridge and poker with friends right up until the last few days of his life. He was a member of the Rotary Club, the YMCA, and the Country Club of Petersburg.

He loved his family deeply and appreciated their love for him. He loved his in-laws just as much. To the above, his family adds that he served with great distinction in all of his professional endeavors, was respected and often revered by his colleagues. He worked until age 76, when medical problems forced him to retire “early.” He was a true native of Petersburg who never wanted to live anywhere else, saying “I had to be where my friends were.” He had so many great companions throughout his life that they are too numerous to mention by name but they and their survivors should know how much they meant to him.

He played many sports with vigor and was almost as good a card player as his father was. He lived from one golf trip to the next and exemplified the “work hard, play hard’’ philosophy. As a father, husband, grandfather, and great-grandfather, he was unsurpassed. He was generous, tough but fair and forgiving and always a man whose behavior comported with his principles.

He will be greatly missed and happily remembered by his family, friends, and the community he served. All services are private at this time. A celebration of his life will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Covenant Presbyterian Church.