Susan Dale “Sue” Mason


Colonel Susan Dale “Sue” Mason, Ph.D., United States Marine Corps (Retired) passed away on May 3, 2022. She lived in Fairhope, Alabama.

Colonel Mason was born on August 31, 1942. She grew up and attended school in Homewood, Alabama. After graduation from Shades Valley High School, she studied at Emory University and Birmingham-Southern College before graduating with honors from Alabama College (now the University of Montevallo).  She joined the Marine Corps through the Woman Officer Candidate program in 1965, receiving her commission as Second Lieutenant. Her assignments throughout her military career were many and varied, and included air traffic controller, air operations, crash/rescue firefighter, public affairs, management analysis, and computers. She was the first woman to successfully command a major Marine Corps unit that was not an all-female unit, when she was Commanding Officer of Station Operations and Engineering Squadron in Iwakuni, Japan. She was also the first foreign member of the Japanese Civil Aeronautics Board. She held a commercial pilot’s license, and after studying at Pepperdine University, she was awarded a Master of Science Degree, with highest honors, in Management and Administration. She retired from the Marine Corps in 1988.

Following retirement from the Marine Corps, Colonel Mason taught computer classes at Faulkner State Community College, and studied at the University of South Alabama. In 1999 she was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Instructional Design and Development, with a research specialty area of artificial intelligence. Her research was presented at major international forums and published in educational journals. After receiving her doctoral degree, she taught in an adjunct status for the graduate school of the College of Education at the University of South Alabama. Dr. Mason was a member of Mensa, Intertel, and 999s.

Colonel Mason was an avid enthusiast of Mardi Gras celebrations and rode for 11 years with a local Mardi Gras society as a mounted Marshal and remained as Honorary member until her passing.

As a volunteer for the City of Fairhope, Colonel Mason was Chairman of the Airport Authority, and was responsible for the expansion and modernization of the Fairhope Airport. She acquired many large grants for the city for this purpose and oversaw the growth and development of the airport for many years.

Colonel Mason was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 39 years, Captain Robert Burgess Mason, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired), and her father and mother, Tharon and Agnes Plant Mason of Birmingham, Josephine, and Spanish Fort, Alabama.

Colonel Mason was adamant that there be no funeral or formal visitation for her. She preferred instead that she be remembered in life as a mounted masker, or driving one of her beloved MGs, or at the head of a classroom, and those wishes will be honored. Full military honors will be rendered at Barrancas National Cemetery at a later date.

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