Rothwell B. Mason

JULY 7, 1927-DEC. 26, 2010

January 10, 2011

PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. — Judge Rothwell B. Mason died Dec. 26, 2010.

He was born in Hagerstown, Md., and attended public schools there, where he was an Eagle Scout and worked as a radio announcer before graduating as valedictorian of his 1945 high school class.

He enlisted on his 17th birthday and became a naval aviator, flying from four carriers in two fleet squadrons, and then affiliating with various Naval Air Reserve “weekend warrior” squadrons, retiring as a commander in 1964.

He never lost his love of flying, owning all or part of 10 airplanes over the years. The FAA gave him the Wright Brothers Master Pilot award in 2007, recognizing more than 60 continuous years of flying.

A graduate of George Washington University and Fordham University School of Law, he was an FBI agent, an advertising representative, a federal prosecutor and in private law practice before being appointed by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan to the bench in California in 1973.

He and his wife, Barbara, retired in 1991 and moved to Port Townsend, but he continued to accept assignments as a California Superior Court judge several times per year, right up until his death.

He was a member of various honorary and professional societies, including Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Gamma Mu, Phi Delta Phi, Delta Phi Epsilon, the Association of Naval Aviation, the Society of Former FBI Agents, the Sacramento Sheriff’s Squadron, the Jefferson County Pilots Association and the Tuesday Breakfast club.

His favorite activity was travel. With his wife, he visited 180 foreign countries and possessions, on all seven continents, including six circumnavigations of the globe.

A celebration of his life will be Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011, at 4 p.m. at Tailspin Tommy’s hangar at the Jefferson County International Airport, Port Townsend.

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