Leona Mabel (McMillan) Mason was born in Millstream on January 11, 1935; she was the daughter of the late Allen and Lena (Hayes) McMillan.
Leona (lovingly known as “Onnie” to those close to her) always wanted to be a nurse. She completed her training in Moncton. She was voted “Best Bedside Manner” by her graduating class. This is of no surprise to anyone who knew her. Onnie loved to talk to people and took a genuine interest in everyone she met. She worked for a time at the Sussex Hospital, the Saint John General and Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA where she spent most of her career. Leona was well respected in her profession. This was evident to her family in later years when she herself was a patient at Mt. Auburn. Many staff remembered her and spoke very highly of her. They took great pride in caring for her. Onnie had the role of supervisor in an intensive care unit; she however, much preferred the one-on-one caring for patients to the administrative side of things.
Leona was the devoted wife of James W. “Jimmy” Mason. Onnie was “crazy about Jimmy”. The two married and had two sons. They moved to Massachusetts in the early 1960s for work. Onnie and Jimmy worked hard. They enjoyed their visits home to New Brunswick every summer and fall. She enjoyed spending time picking berries and visiting with friends and family. Her family joked that if there was a car leaving Onnie wanted to be in it. She was always up for an adventure or trying something new. She remained young at heart until the very end. Her family remembers one summer Leona (having never had a car and never really driven in her life) decided in her early eighties that she might like to get a car so she could get around on her own when she came home for the summer. She was determined to make this happen. After much persuasion and much to her chagrin (and to the relief of her family) it never came to be.
Onnie loved being outdoors. She took pleasure in the simple things. She loved swimming (especially in the ocean), taking walks, ice skating, knitting, reading, yoga and in later years she also took up painting. Onnie loved to dance and country western music. Leona enjoyed her time at the senior’s center in Watertown MA, where she made many friends. She loved to keep busy. In fact, she struggled with the concept of relaxing. One summer she decides there was no reason she couldn’t paint the siding on her son Jamie’s house. When she was told “you’re 75, you are not climbing that staging!” Her response: “I’m 76!”. We somehow managed again to talk her out of that one.
Onnie loved to laugh. A good thing too, as Jimmy loved to tease. As did their two sons. She definitely had her hands full.
Leona had a wonderful way of remaining positive in the face of any challenge or struggle in her life. She faced her illness with great courage and strength. Onnie often said “you have to be strong in life”.
She will be greatly missed and will live on in the hearts of her son, Michael Mason of Massachusetts; her grandchildren: Jay Mason, Mark Mason, Krystal MacNeill and her husband Brandon, Allie Mason (Mike Snider) and Devin Dyer; her great grandchildren: Cameron and Hunter Mason and Benjamin and Silas MacNeill; her sisters: Jean Bone and Joan Johnston and her husband Charles; as well as several nieces and nephews.
Mrs. Leona Mason of Watertown, Massachusetts passed away at her home on July 19, 2021 at the age of 86.
Along with her parents, she is predeceased by her loving husband, James Warren Mason; her son, James Allen Mason and by her brothers: Douglas, Ronald, Wayne and Purdy McMillan. As well as her best friend Betty Armstrong, who was more like a sister than a cousin.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Wallace Funeral Home, 34 Sunnyside Drive, Sussex (506-433-1176). A Celebration of Leona’s life will be held on Wednesday, July 28, 2021, at 1:00pm from Wallace Community Chapel, with Father Paul Bebodu presiding. Due to Covid-19 regulations, we ask that you please call the funeral home to reserve your seat.
Donations in memory of Leona, may be may to a charity of the donor’s choice. Condolences to the family and donations may be made through WallaceFuneralHome.com