Mrs. Joyce Marie Mason, age 81, went home to be with her Lord on Aug. 20, 2018 at the Villas of Holly Brook with family members at her side holding her hands as she began her final journey. In her final days, she was not alone but surrounded in love by her entire family as they prayed for her, talked to her, read to her, and held her hand.
Joyce was born on July 30, 1937 in Ecorse, MI., to Ernest Edward and Edna Alice Helbig (both deceased). She had 2 brothers – Norman Lee Helbig who died at age 4 and David Ernest Helbig, also deceased. Due to family circumstances, Joyce was lovingly raised by her uncle and aunt, Ivan and Evelyn Helbig (both deceased), as one of their own along with their 2 children – Richard Helbig (deceased) and Pat Roberts.
Joyce leaves behind a daughter Dawn (Dr. Ron) McCuan of Harrisburg, son Thomas (Kandy) Mason of Johnston City, IL., grandsons Daniel Heze McCuan of Harrisburg and David Robert McCuan of Carterville, IL., son in law Paul Camp of Harrisburg, and sister Pat Roberts of Lincoln Park, MI. Her husband Robert H Mason and daughter Karen Ann Mason preceded her in death.
Joyce married Robert Mason on Aug. 25, 1955. She just spent a glorious 63rdwedding anniversary with her beloved husband in heaven this year. When she married Robert, she gained a whole new family who deeply loved and cared for her: Richard Mason of Ida, MI., Bess (John) Kurtz of Trout Lake, MI., Joyce (Robert) Galliher of Flatrock, MI., and Nancy (Thomas) Swearingen of Trenton, MI. Robert’s parents, Charles and Ruth Mason Sr.,
along with Charles Mason, Jr., Madelyn Mason, and Helen Karen Mason all preceded her in death.
Joyce was the ultimate wife, mother, and homemaker – giving 100% to her family and to her home. The first home Joyce and Robert had together was their apartment on the Michigan State University campus. But her travels and adventure began in Oregon where their home overlooked the Pacific Ocean. She followed her husband around the country wherever Bob’s career led them until he retired in 1995 in Harrisburg, IL where they decided to call home. Besides Michigan, Oregon, and Illinois, they lived in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Missouri and moved a total of 11 times.
Joyce loved cooking and one of her first experiences in Oregon was when she rode up to the forest service base camp on a pack mule to cook for the men on an old wood burning stove. The camp was in a remote area and everything they used had to be brought in by pack mules. She not only succeeded in making delicious meals for the camp, but also made pies, cakes and cookies to their delight. In the early years, Joyce pampered her family by baking all the breads, pastries, cakes, etc. once a week, so the family rarely had to buy any store-bought goodies. Years later, this love of cooking lead to the formation of a gourmet dinner club made up of several couples who planned and cooked a 5-star gourmet meal around different themes picked out by the hostess of the month.
Besides cooking, Joyce and her husband enjoyed many different activities together. They
both enjoyed walking along the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Oregon collecting unique
driftwood pieces and blown glass floats that came off the nets of big fishing boats. In Rosiclare, IL., they were members of the Do-Si-Do-Er’s square-dancing club, which were featured in the local newspaper a few times. In Harrisburg, Joyce and Bob both enjoyed league bowling – with Joyce being the better bowler of the two! The last time it was checked, Joyce’s name was still #1 on the all-time leader board at Ross Cottom Lanes.
Joyce had a green-thumb – she could grow anything. She loved gardening and being outside. Her yard and home were always filled with beautiful flowers. Robert would often pick bouquets from her garden to take to the ladies in his office. They also both loved to decorate for the holidays, especially after their grandsons were born. They were one of the first on their street to fully decorate for each holiday. Joyce’s grandsons along with the neighborhood children looked forward to seeing their displays.
While her children were growing up, Joyce’s focus and energy was on her family. After her children were older, Joyce became very involved with two women’s groups. She was a life-time member of the Beta Sigma Phi sorority in Harrisburg where she held many different offices and often went to the sorority’s national convention to represent her local chapter. Her chapter awarded herBeta Sigma Phi’s Order of the Rose Honorary Degree given to those who have given the best that was in them. Long service to the sorority, outstanding devotion to its ideals, and personal growth and achievement qualify a member to receive this high honor and Joyce was certainly deserving.Joyce was also a long-time active member of the Town and Country Home Extension Unit in Harrisburg where again
she held many offices and went to most of their conventions. For many years she helped organize Harrisburg’s Past to Present Festival. She enjoyed both groups and made many life long friends along the way.
As per Joyce’s wishes, her body has been cremated. Their will be a private gathering of immediate family members. Her ashes together with her husband Robert’s and daughter Karen’s will be buried together in Michigan Memorial Park in Flatrock, MI.
Colonial Terrace Funeral Home in Eldorado took care of the arrangements, and condolences, memories, and messages to the family would be appreciated and can be made on Colonial Terrace’s web page. For those who wish to honor her memory, her chosen charities are Hospice of Southern Illinois and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
The family would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the Villas of Holly Brook for the excellent care of their mother and grandmother. The nurses and caregivers are the absolute best – caring, respectful, and loving! Also, a big thank you to Hospice of Southern Illinois. They were all a God-send. They did an outstanding job of taking care of not only Joyce, making sure she was comfortable and for giving her the respect and dignity she deserved, but also attending to the family’s concerns and feelings. Lastly, the family would like to thank Mr. Jon Poore and the staff at Colonial Terrance Funeral Home.