George W. Mason’s legacy lives on

Amboy Central Elementary School to name the gymnasium in Mason’s honor

By Brandon LaChance, Editor
Posted 4/9/24

AMBOY – There will be a large gathering at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 10 at Amboy Central Elementary School.

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George W. Mason’s legacy lives on

Amboy Central Elementary School to name the gymnasium in Mason’s honor


AMBOY – There will be a large gathering at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 10 at Amboy Central Elementary School.

It won’t be for an athletic practice or a game.

Or a non-athletic function.

The gathering will be to honor someone who for 34 years was at every open gym, practice, game, and function at an Amboy school as Central and the Amboy Community Unit School District #272 are renaming the elementary school’s gymnasium in the honor of George W. Mason.   

“I couldn’t begin to count the hours he spent in the Central School gym, the baseball field, or on the track,” said Mason’s son Jim Mason. “He did a lot of time keeping for the high school football and basketball games. He was really dedicated to young athletes and watching them from grade school to high school.

“I know having the Amboy Central gymnasium named for him would be pretty special to him. It’s too bad that he left us before the naming of the gym in his honor was put to work. Unfortunately, that’s the way it usually goes. It’s really special for the family for him to receive the honor.”

George W. Mason, who passed away at 100 years old on Dec. 12, 2023 (two days before the school board approved the proposal of naming the gym after him at a board meeting on Dec. 14) wore many hats in the Amboy education system from 1950-1984 including a junior high science teacher, physical education teacher, basketball, baseball, and track coach, and a principal for 15 years.

He had four children in Jim (68, Montana), Jan Mason (67, Lyndon), Judy Denys (Geneseo), and Joyce Cook (Morrison), with his wife Delores.

Delores, 94, still lives in the house in Amboy the couple moved to in 1962.

“My memory begins in the third or fourth grade when he would take me with him early in the morning to shoot around with some of the guys,” said Jim Mason. “I can’t even think of the number of kids he coached or influenced during his tenure at the school.

“A big thank you goes out to the community and the people who initiated this. The family is very thankful to everyone involved. It’s an honor for my father and his family.”

Jan Mason has similar recollections as she remembers being in the gym and her father helping her, her siblings, and their friends take jump shots in the driveway or throw a baseball in the yard.

“He coached a lot of sports. If there was a sport, he took the time and helped the kids. It was weird having him as my teacher, but he was my science teacher,” Jan Mason said. “He didn’t give any of his children special treatment. He stuck to the script and treated us like the rest of the students.

“A lot of our lives were spent in the gym. If it was nasty outside, he would open the gym for kids to shoot baskets. He’d have kids come in before and after school. If kids needed to work on free throws, he’d let them shoot.”

Jan called her father a family man who had his wife and children at the top of his priority list.

Next on the list was his career and the students, teachers, staff he worked with.

As Jan recalls, the only time George did not coach a sport was when Jim was playing high school basketball and he wanted to see all of his son’s games.

“He will be remembered for a long time. The kids who are in the school now probably hear stories from their parents about when my dad was their principal, coach, or teacher,” Jan Mason said. “It’s pretty awesome that the gymnasium is going to be named after him. It’s a great honor.”

George Mason’s family are not the only ones who remember him and what he meant to the school.

In November 2023, Darlene Hinkle brought the idea of naming the Central gym in George W. Mason’s honor to the Amboy CUSD Board, which was followed by over 30 letters from others pushing for the renaming to happen.

“It’s sad he died two days before he made the decision to name the gym after him,” Hinkle said. “He didn’t know before he passed. His family did, but George didn’t know the honor that was going to be bestowed on him.

“He was kind, firm, and fair. He was very low key. He didn’t get excited. He worked with the kids. My three boys had him and he was very much admired. He had a huge garden. Even last year, at 99, he would use his walker and work his garden.

“He was a gentleman, a good person, and I thought he deserved the honor.”