Advertisement

Former Charles Town Mayor D.C. Master dies

June 16, 2013|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — The death last Tuesday of former Charles Town Mayor D.C. Master left a 22-year legacy of service to the city marked by two decades of popular support from voters, plus a few dips into controversy that netted him national media attention.

Master, 94, died peacefully at 1:20 a.m. June 11 in his own bed at Masterpeace, his getaway cabin facing the Potomac River near Bakerton, W.Va., said Carolyn Jones Master, his wife of seven years. The couple lived at Masterpeace throughout their marriage, she said.

Master enjoyed good health in his later years. He built his own airplane and flew it until he was 80, but his health began to fail and he spent his last days in Hospice care, Carolyn Master said.

“He told me Saturday night, ‘I think I’m dying,’” she said.

“I’m 24 years younger than Don, but we had a once-in-a-lifetime marriage,” she said. “It worked perfectly. When it’s right, it’s right.”

Advertisement

A veterinarian for 66 years before he retired, Master was born in Weston, Ontario, and earned his degree from the University of Guelph in that province.

Master is thought to have moved to Charles Town in the late 1940s or 1950, said his longtime friend Roger Ramey, vice president of public affairs at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. Ramey said he met Master in 1950 when he brought his pets to Master’s office for treatment.

“He had an outstanding personality and sense of humor. He knew a lot of people. He was quite a guy and I’m going to miss him,” Ramey said.

Master had his own beliefs and hung onto them, even if they weren’t popular, Ramey said.

“He wasn’t afraid to express himself,” he said.

The first time Master bumped up against controversy was at a meeting of the Region 9 Planning and Development Council in Martinsburg, W.Va., in January 1983.

Master was quoted in a Jan. 21, 1983, story in The Morning Herald for suggesting at the meeting that women on welfare who continue to have children be spayed like cats and dogs because of soaring medical costs.

“I would like to see a spay program put on,” he said. “One mistake is understandable, but after two, someone has got to stop them. I know that politically you would be shot down, but someone has to get up on their hind legs and yell.”

Family planning programs are just “money down the hole,” he said.

In July 1988, Master, again at a Region 9 meeting, was quoted on the subject when he said women should receive temporary sterilization as a condition for receiving welfare checks.

Also in July 1988, Master joined Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke and others on the nationally televised “Phil Donahue Show” for a discussion on legalizing the sale of illegal drugs. Master was invited after he had spoken about the possibility of legalization following a major drug raid in Charles Town.

In September 1988, Master joined a panel of mayors that included Schmoke and Marion Barry of Washington, D.C., who testified before a U.S. House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control.

The panel pushed for legalization as the answer to the country’s drug problem.

“We’re losing the war on drugs,” Master told the committee. “No one knows for certain what the effect of legalization would be.”

Mayor A. David Hamill of Ranson, W.Va., has been that city’s chief executive for 27 years. His tenure and Master’s overlapped for about 12 years.

“He was a great guy who tried to be inclusive with everyone,” Hamill said. “He was not one to be by himself. He enjoyed attention and he was always there when he was needed. He was a good mentor for me and he was very supportive.”

Hamill said he and Master conversed many times on issues of mutual interest for the adjoining cities.

Hamill said while he and Master didn’t know each other at the time, they grew up within 50 miles of each other in Ontario.

Master was mayor of Charles Town from 1968-90.

In addition to his wife, Master is survived by sons Peter Master of Eden Prairie, Minn., and David Master of Reedville, Va.; and daughters Barbara Byars of Midland, Tex., and Mary Master of Cost Rica; plus grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by Grace M. Master, who was his first wife and the mother of his children.

Burial will be private.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|