After recently celebrating their 47th wedding anniversary Dave and Patty Mason were given another reason to celebrate. They were notified of their selection as this year’s Old Settlers of the Year award.
“We were both honored and humbled to receive such a great award and even be considered because I know they could have chosen several others that were deserving, ” said Dave upon learning the news.
Living in the same home for all of their marriage the Mason’s are faces that are familiar to many that may have been a student of theirs in past years. Patty working seven years in the Wayne Elementary and running Patty’s Preschool for numerous years while Dave spent 35 years teaching junior high math and coaching a variety of sports in Wayne including cross country, softball, track and basketball.
“When I would come home at Christmas time and play basketball with the other college kids, my old coach Dick Shockey was the Superintendent at Wayne and he said I needed to apply here because he knew they were looking for a junior high math teacher,” Dave began. “He knew I liked athletics and said I could probably coach too. It sounded pretty good to me. He actually just gave me the job, I didn’t even interview. He said I needed to do it and they gave me the contract so they must have thought I’d be okay.”
Dave began his first year teaching in Allerton when the high school was still in place there at the age of 20.
“I was teaching eighth grade and I wasn’t much older than them,” said Dave. “It was a little intimidating that first year due to a lot of good sized boys in that class. I didn’t know if I would make it through the first year.”
Dave states his coaching years were always enjoyed as he began by helping Coach Terry Hiltabidle with junior high football and continued into coaching junior high track that year.
“There was a good bunch of girls in athletics at that time and I didn’t know how lucky I was coming into it with girls like Nancy Crawford, Sue (Warren) Darrah and Linda (Cox) Grismore,” Dave said. “I started right in and just figured they were always this good.”
While Dave was busy beginning his teaching career Patty stepped into her teaching role a short three months later in the winter of 1969.
“The elementary wanted someone to teach remedial to all ages in all subjects so I applied and that’s where it began,” said Patty. “After Lois Hart retired I took over her third grade.”
Patty took a year leave from teaching when they were expecting their first daughter Tammy, who now lives in West Des Moines. In January of 1978 she took over Amy’s preschool before moving it to the basement of their own home.
She took a leave again in 1981 for the birth of their second daughter Sheri who recently was married to Kyle Rogier in a ceremony at Lake Thunderhead in Unionville, Mo. before making their home in Belleville, Ill.
Patty offered daycare services in their home before going back to the preschool in 1983. She continued this until 1993 when they took in a foreign exchange student from Brazil.
“We made my former classroom into a bedroom at that time,” said Patty. “I then went to the Lutheran Church and ran two preschool sessions in the basement there.”
“My last group of kids in the preschool group I had Sage (Hook) Hinson in that group and on the last day her grandmother Rose Hook brought in a rose plant for me and it’s still blooming,” Patty said. “That’s been quite awhile ago.”
Dave took a part time job in 2002 for long time friends Russ and Barb Danielsen working at Conoco (the now Gasland-Express) where he still greets several behind the counter many mornings of the week and continued to coach cross-country for 25 years from junior high up to high school before retiring in 2012. The same year Dave was the Iowa Optimist Governor where they traveled all across Iowa visiting clubs as well as attending conventions in Baltimore and Milwaukee.
Dave and Patty have been very involved members in the Wayne Optimist Club with Dave joining in 1988 and Patty joining a few years later. Other organizations Dave has been involved in include LIONS Club, Civil Service Board, Retired School Personnel where he served as president for 17 years, Wayne Teachers Negotiating Team, Christ the Servant Lutheran Church Council and Task Force, Share Iowa, Treasurer of the Wayne County Fairboard and has spent a few years on the Old Settlers Committee.
He has been a familiar face for many years helping with the youth basketball fundraiser fun days at the Wayne Community School each winter and helping with the Old Settlers Run/Walk event. In his time with the Optimist Club he has held the title of President, Zone Lieutenant Governor and is currently the secretary/treasurer.
“The Optimist Club is a big thing in my life, Dave Daughton called us together one day 31 years ago and said his mentor in Mount Ayr spoke of the club they had there,” said Dave. “Daughton being the competitor he is didn’t want them to have something we didn’t have. So about 20 of us went to the golf course and met with a few from the Mount Ayr club to help us and tell us what we needed to do.”
“We got our numbers up to 25 we needed to charter so in August of 1988 we had enough to charter the club so Daughton was our first charter president and I am forever grateful for him to help get this going,” Dave continued.
After Patty joined the Optimist Club she has also held the President title as well as being voted the Optimist of the State one year.
“Our club grew 25 percent the year she was president,” Dave stated. “She would entice them to come to meetings because she would cater them with a nice meal. We really grew that year from about 25 members to 60.”
Patty fondly remembers time spent taking kids on trips to the JOI International Convention, time spent with their family as well as her teaching a ceramic class following her years as a preschool teacher.
“I had taken ceramic classes and my instructor wanted to sell her business so I bought her kiln and started teaching ceramics at our house,” said Patty.
Adding to her diversified schedule Patty and younger sister Debbie Sebolt ran a catering business together until Debbie branched out to baking cakes for special occassions and Patty continued on with the catering business.
Other clubs Patty has been involved in include a member of PEO, Allerton Garden Club, Bridge Women’s Group, Wayne County Hospital Auxiliary, Friday Club and has helped with bible study, bible school and on the Task Force within the Christ the Servant Lutheran Church.
Both Dave and Patty will be honored on Saturday, August 10 on the bandstand during the Old Settlers celebration.
“We hear it a lot about how our kids in our community behave so well and it’s because of our community and the closeness and friendship we have here,” said Patty.
“It really is a great place to be and I sure hope we don’t bore people with our speeches on Saturday,” Dave joked.