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John L. Mason, Ph.D. (1923 - 2019)

John L. Mason

John Latimer Mason, a former consultant for Applied Research & Technology, was a Trustee Emeritus of the PSI Board of Trustees. John was born in Los Angeles and from an early age demonstrated an inquisitive mind. He excelled academically and graduated from Hamilton High School at the age of 15, then entered Cal Tech at the age of 16. 
John enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at the start of World War II, and, while serving, attained a Bachelor of Science in meteorology from the University of Chicago.  John returned to Cal Tech after the war and earned a Bachelor of Science in Applied Chemistry (1947), a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (1948) and PhD in Chemical Engineering (1950). 
 
In 1950, John began a distinguished career in the aircraft and aerospace industry as a design engineer by the AiResearch Division of the Garrett Corporation. He led teams in the design of automotive turbochargers, aircraft cooling systems, and when Garrett was contracted by NASA, John helped to create environmental controls for the space capsules in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions that were essential in protecting the astronauts. 
 
For more than 60 years John and his wife Mary lived in Palos Verdes Estates, CA, and raised their family of four children. The Masons were an active part of the community where he coached numerous baseball and softball teams and even designed and led the building of a Senior Division baseball field on the Peninsula. In addition, he volunteered his time to bring specialized science programs to local schools, helping students understand electricity as well as solar energy. 
 
With John's achievements in space exploration, automotive technology, clean energy and engineering research, he became a leader in the international scientific and engineering community. Among his many leadership positions, he was elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and served two terms as president of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). John was also a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Chemical Society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and was a trustee for the Planetary Science Institute. He was recognized at the White House by President George H.W. Bush for his contributions to the U.S. space program. John was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Schulte Mason, and is survived by four children and numerous grandchildren. 

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