Ruth Alma Mason was born July 5, 1929, in Newark, New Jersey, the fourth child of five of Nathan and Rose E. Lowe. She was the wife of the late Nathaniel H. Mason Sr., mother of Nathaniel H. Mason Jr. of College Grove and Douglas N. Mason of Limerick, Pennsylvania, and stepmother of Alice Benjamin of East Orange, New Jersey.
She was baptized at Bright Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. She grew up in Newark and graduated from West Side High School in 1947. She had a large extended family of siblings and cousins, as well as her beloved older half-sister and -brother Polly Pruitt and Frank Lowe of Columbus, Ohio.
She had a natural ability for facts and figures; accordingly, she chose to leverage those skills in accounting and shorthand. As a young lady of color, she pursued one of the few avenues of professionalism available at the time, studying stenography she became a secretary. Hence, she began her career at New Jersey Bell Telephone.
As a talented professional woman, she left New Jersey Bell Telephone to pursue a passion. After obtaining a real estate license, she attended cosmetology school and became a licensed beautician. If present, many a neighborhood girl would recall her hairstyling in preparation for their meaningful events or occasions.
She soon transitioned back a secretarial role, first at New Jersey State Unemployment. Later, she ascended to her career defining post in New Jersey’s Attorney General’s Office as legal secretary for the director of civil rights. She engaged in and facilitated many landmark legal proceedings, eventually encountering a future Supreme Court justice, which she held in disdain. After retiring in 1991, she studied communications at Montclair State College.
She met and married Nat Mason Sr. in December 1958. They first settled in Newark and finally in Montclair, New Jersey, in February 1966. She resided there for 32 years, raising two boys.
In Montclair, she built many life enduring friendships, becoming an active member of St. Paul Baptist Church, fulfilling a passion for travel both domestic and international.
She and Nat father enjoyed raising two boys, instilling wisdom, strength and perseverance in preparation for an ever-evolving world. In 1998, after Nat’s passing in 1989, she moved to Limerick, Pennsylvania, joining her eldest son, Douglas, and soon began the next chapter of her life as “Granny” to grandchildren Kyle and Natalie Mason.
After 18 years of doting affection (sometimes smothering), she moved to College Grove in 2016, joining her youngest son, Nat, and his growing family. There, she became known as “Grandma” to her grandson, Mason (Nathaniel H. Mason III), and at times “overruled” parental guidance in his favor. Frequently, calling on her daughter-in-law for around-town outings, Deanna would muse to her favorite “dance partner,” “Let’s roll, Ruth!”
She is survived by her loving family, including sons and daughters-in-law Douglas and Wendy Mason, Nathaniel and Deanna Mason, and Alice and Theopolis Benjamin; grandchildren Kyle, Natalie, Nathaniel III, Derrick and Darrell; and three nieces and five nephews.