Laurel Nichols Mason, 68, of Nevada, passed away Wed., Jan. 27, 2010, at St. John's Hospital in Springfield, Mo., following a lengthy illness. She was born Dec. 4, 1941, to Albert Gordon Nichols and Nell Elaine Manning Nichols, of Southwest City, Mo.
Laurel attended Southwest City schools and began taking music lessons at John Brown University at the early age of 6. At the age of 8, she met her future husband, Mickey D. Mason, however, it wasn't until she turned 15 in 1957 that they would become life-long partners. From the time she was eight years old until she was 16, Laurel served as the organist for the United Methodist Church in Southwest City. As a result of her brilliance, Laurel transferred from high school to become a young student at Central Methodist College in 1958 at the age of 16.
Laurel and Mickey were married Aug. 12, 1961, at the United Methodist Church of Southwest City, Mo., just one year before she graduated from Central Methodist College in 1962, receiving her B.M.E. with a lifetime teaching certificate. During her many years of education, Laurel attended various schools including Oberlin University in Ohio, Central Missouri State University (Music Conservatory Masters program), University of Missouri (Conservatory Masters program in Kansas City) and, later in life, Pittsburg State University, where she graduated with her master's degree in pipe organ performance. Laurel and Mickey moved to Nevada in 1962 and gave life to their first child that same year.
In 1963, she began her teaching career in Bronaugh, Mo., and taught in several local school systems over the years while continuing the growth of her family with a total of seven children. A few years after moving to Nevada, she began her 33-year career as the United Methodist Church organist. Laurel also taught private music lessons the last several years of her life. During the 68 years of her life, aside from her family, music was Laurel's daily inspiration as well as her gift to her survivors.
Laurel was preceded in death by her parents; a brother-in-law; a sister; and two granddaughters. Survivors include her husband of 48 years, Mickey Mason, of the home; son Chris Mason and wife Joelle, of Nevada; daughter Cheryl Shultz and husband Scott, of Springfield, Mo.; daughter Cindy Dye and husband Jimmie, of Nevada; son Cary Mason, of Springfield, Mo.; daughter Candace Dunback and husband Chris, of Eudora, Kan.; daughter Celeste Grothusen and husband Dallas, of Wichita, Kan.; daughter Crystal Hancock and husband Jesse, of Nevada; 18 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Funeral services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, at Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada, with the Rev. Lester Thornton officiating. Interment will follow in Newton Burial Park in Nevada.
Friends may call now and until the hour of service at Ferry Funeral Home in Nevada. The family will receive friends at the funeral home Friday between 7 and 8 p.m.
Memorial contributions may be made in her memory to either the Missouri Organ Guild or the American Cancer Society in care of the funeral home.
View obituary and send condolences on line at www.ferryfuneralhome.com.