Honor Roll

Donald A. Mason

A couple hundred people turned out to pay their respects to Detective Donald Archibald Mason at his funeral more than six decades ago, overflowing the chapel. The people officiating shared with the crowd that Detective Mason was a good father to his two daughters, a good husband, neighbor, friend, citizen. He was a good public servant. After the memorial, those attending watched as Donald’s gold-colored casket was wheeled out to the waiting hearse. Motorcycle officers escorted the procession to the cemetery as a line of police units moved peacefully onto the street.

Donald began his career with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department on August 27, 1949, after serving in the United States Army. He received “marks of high efficiency” from his superiors at the sheriff’s department. Donald’s personnel file included numerous letters of appreciation – from court personnel, federal law enforcement members, and citizens in the community he served. He possessed a desire to promote, worked hard, and experienced a fast rise from patrolman to detective. As a member of the Sheriff’s Underwater Squad, he was also involved in many rescue activities.

On December 23, 1959, Detective Donald Mason was involved in a physical altercation in a San Bernardino County courtroom. When a judge ruled that the suspect was mentally ill, the suspect kicked Donald in the groin and chest. After the incident, Donald was driving his patrol unit by himself when he pulled over on a Highland roadway and requested medical aid over the radio. On the call, he complained of chest pains. When Undersheriff Walter Pitts arrived, he discovered Donald slumped in the car. An ambulance transported Donald to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. An autopsy showed that he suffered a fatal heart attack – three hours after the courtroom scuffle. Detective Mason was 36 years old.

Detective Donald A. Mason served the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department for 10 years. He was survived by his wife, Grace, and two daughters, Jacqueline, and Kathleen. Please always remember Detective Mason and honor him for his service, his dedication, and making the ultimate sacrifice.