April 18, 2004

Services pending for veteran UM law professor, 69

By Special to The Clarion-Ledger

Thomas Ray Mason, 69, professor of law at the University of Mississippi and a 30-year mainstay there, died Friday at his home in Oxford following a short illness.

Arrangements will be announced by Waller Funeral Home.

Joining the Ole Miss law faculty in 1973, Mason taught torts, evidence, trial advocacy, federal procedure and oil and gas law.

He coordinated the law school's student internship and trial advocacy programs.

"As a member of the faculty, Tom Mason was loved and admired by his students, faculty colleagues, members of our staff and our law alumni," said Chancellor Robert Khayat. "In his quiet, easy way, Tom was the conscience of the law school, always concerned about those in need. We will miss Tom, but we will not forget him. We are grateful for a life well lived."

Mason was presented the 2004 Outstanding Law Professor of the Year Award at the law school's recent Awards Day ceremony. Voted by the law school student body and funded by the Law Alumni Chapter of the UM Alumni Association, the coveted award also went to Mason in 1975 and 1979.

"Tom was a great teacher, and his students knew that he cared for them," said Sam Davis, dean of the law school. "And he was a good friend. His steadying influence will be missed at the law school."

Mason earned the respect of his students, including Corey Hinshaw, who had him for three classes.

"Professor Mason was a special comfort to first-year students," said Hinshaw of Laurel. "He was a great teacher. He treated everyone equally, but he was very endearing and people could get close to him."

Mason attended the University of Oklahoma on an athletic scholarship, receiving a bachelor's degree in geology in 1957. He served two years in the U.S. Army, working one year as counsel in the military courts.

Mason entered the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1959 and worked as a law clerk at various firms during his law school career.

Mason was honored in 1999 with the John Rogers Award as a member of the board of editors of the Oil and Gas Reporter, published by the Southwestern Legal Foundation. The annual award recognizes those who have made notable contributions in the field of oil and gas law.

He is survived by his wife, Darlene Calmes Mason; and two sons and their families: Mark and Kim Mason and sons Lake and Cal of Cedartown, Ga.; and Drew and Darla Mason and daughter Bani of Huntsville, Ala.

Donations can be made to the American Cancer Society or the Lafayette County Library.