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July 11, 2014

Former City Councilor, Vice-Mayor Sam Mason remembered

McALESTER — Former Ward 6 City Councilor and McAlester Vice-Mayor Frank C. “Sam” Mason, 82, died Friday at his McAlester home following an illness.

Mason twice served as the Ward 6 McAlester city councilor. He served his first term from September 2005 until March 2010.

He served a second term from November 2010 until December 2013, when he resigned from the post. During his second term, Mason also served as the city’s vice-mayor.

Ward 3 Councilor and current McAlester Vice-Mayor Travis Read said he considered Mason his friend.

“When he left the council, he left some big shoes to fill,” Read said.

Mason came onto the council in 2005, the same year that the council had fired former City Manager Randy Green and that then-Mayor Dale Covington resigned from the office.

Mason took office after winning a recall election against then-Ward 6 Councilor Louis  Smitherman.

Read noted there had been a lot of turmoil in McAlester city government at the time.

“He came on the council at a time when city government needed somebody like him, someone with a lot of ethics and with a no-nonesense approach to city government,” Read said.

“Citizens are lucky to have had him on the council during this period of time,” said Read.

Mason would later lose a rematch election with Smitherman in 2010, but when Smitherman left the office later that year to serve as city manager in another town, Mason regained the post during a special election, going on to also be elected by his fellow councilors to serve as the city’s vice mayor.

One of Mason’s many projects had been leading the effort to have traffic signals placed at the intersection of Wyandotte Avenue and Strong Boulevard.

Mason had a storied career, including serving as a certified flight instructor at the Spartan School of Aeronautics. He was also a corporate jet pilot for Getty Oil Co. and William Wrigley Jr. Co.

A graveside memorial service is set for 10 a.m. Monday at the North McAlester cemetery.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

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