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Mason D. Short (July 22, 1970 – August 11, 2020) of Rapid City, SD, died Tuesday, August 11, 2020, at Monument Health Hospital in Rapid City.
Mason was born on July 22, 1970, to his parents, William (a Wessington Springs graduate) and Joan (Alloway) Short in Appleton, MN, where they lived until 1985. At that time, they moved to Granbury, TX, where his parents were called to teach at Happy Hill Farm, a school for troubled youth. In later years, he would remember this time as life on “the farm.” At the beginning of Mason’s junior year, the family moved to Texarkana, TX, where he graduated from Pleasant Grove High School in 1989.
Next, Mason attended Central College in McPherson, KS, where he quickly fell in love with flying and never looked back. In two short years, Mason attained his private and instrument ratings, as well as graduating with an A.S. in Aviation! During their second year at Central, he and Jeannie Dearborn (CC ’91) met and fell in love. He proposed and they married between Mason’s third and final years at Wichita State University, where he earned his B.A. in Aviation Management. They started their marriage living in Kansas City, KS, where Jeannie finished her degree. They returned to Wichita, Mason completed his formal education and he launched into his 30-plus year professional career in aviation.
On August 12, 2020, Jeannie posted the following tribute to her late husband:
God called Mason home last night, to our shock. While we continue to reel at the brutal reality we are faced with, we wish to share a few thoughts of thankfulness and even hope.
Our family is deeply grateful for the love and care we have received in a few short hours since Mason’s death. From the woman at dispatch to the moment a local police officer entered our home, to the last EMT to enter we sensed that “helpers” were in the room. Upon arrival at the hospital, the continued care of law enforcement officers and the local hospital care team was exceptional. The care of our dearest family and friends has soothed us and brought us comfort in these awful hours!
His absence is palpable despite the few hours it has been! Mason was larger than life! He was known to be the life of most parties, as in – if he were there he would close it out. He was the social butterfly of this couple to be sure! He was the adventurer and he let me come along on many of his adventurous rides (literally and figuratively)!
We shed tears at our deep loss and laugh at fond memories and will continue to fluctuate between these emotions and beyond. Mason was a good son, generous husband, excellent Dad, and a friend far and wide. He had his flaws and was quick to own his errors and ask forgiveness.
As we have started to contact people who we know were dear to Mason, we are also aware that Mason’s friends and collaborators expand beyond who we even know. Mason left an indelible mark on the lives he encountered. His passions were broad – aviation captured his heart, as did the outdoors including hunting and fishing, he was an amazing cook and liked SPICE, his kids’ interest in lacrosse led him to become the lead official for our state league for a couple of seasons. Since his early heart issues in 2014, he was tenacious about exercise and healthier food and gained a deep appreciation for biking through the beauty of the Black Hills. He loved good music, especially that made with his children’s voices and instruments! He could also be an ornery pill, with a strong side of teddy bear. Fond nicknames included “Big Daddy”, “Sas”, and by some dear friends “a brother from another mother”!
In our grief we thank God for Mason’s faith in a Good, Good Father. We rejoice to imagine his body perfected and dancing in heaven, catching the BIGGEST of FISH and seeing wildlife beyond his imagination on this earth. This hope in our Good, Good Father is one we have clung to in this rather ugly year of 2020. If it is not a hope you share, reach out in coming weeks, we’d love to tell you about it and our confidence in Mason’s eternal home.
Please pray for each of us who will miss him most. Pray for a nonsensical peace, a clear sense of God’s nearness even in our great sadness. Pray for strength and tenderness for one another as we grieve.
During his time in the aviation field, Mason managed three airports, each for four years: Newton City/County Airport, which included the development of the Metro-North Flight Support fixed base operation (FBO), the Pierre Regional Airport and the Rapid City Regional Airport. During an 18-month period of change, he managed the parking structure for the Mount Rushmore Society. In 2010, Mason transitioned into his work at KLJ, an engineering and planning firm. In this position, Mason worked as an airport planner and most recently as a Business Development Manager for the aviation department.
Throughout college, Mason was hard-working, not hesitating to take on two to three jobs at a time. His passion for aviation led Mason to many of his jobs, including deep investments in general and commercial aviation businesses. He poured himself into whatever job was before him – at work and at home. He was not afraid to get dirty, and in many cases, preferred to be! He deeply valued his professional friends and colleagues. He had a passion to grow aviation in every possible way. He was actively engaged in leadership in each community he lived, often on several boards at a time. He was a skilled communicator and took pride in providing excellent customer service.
Everywhere he lived, Mason made lifelong friends, had many adventures, served others through his work and life, and was always learning new things. From home remodeling to car repairs, he was always adding hobbies and learning new skills. In his early life in Appleton, he began this life-long pattern by hunting, riding motorcycles, playing trumpet, and more. During his high school career, Mason was actively involved in band, drama, football, and general goofballery. As an adult, Mason grew as a sportsman, primarily with hunting and fishing. He was also interested in camping, boating, hiking, biking, softball with church friends, fantasy football, lacrosse, and more.
When he saw an issue at work or play, he sought a thorough and complete solution. As his kids started playing lacrosse, he was concerned by the number of concussions, so he joined the referee team. Using his growing understanding of lacrosse, in combination with his diplomatic skills, he improved safety for his children and others across the region.
Mason’s pursuit of excellence in career and life was only surpassed by his faith in God and love of family. Mason and Jeannie’s family began growing in the late 90s. Kathlynn arrived while they lived in Newton, KS. She was soon followed by two brothers, Alexander and Kristoffer, who were both born in Pierre, SD. As in every other area of life, Mason poured himself out serving his family and encouraging maturity, civility, and love between his rambunctious children. Mason and his cousin Troy’s family have spent the past several years functioning more like one large family of nine rather than his family of five.
Known to live life to the full, Mason invited others to join with him in his deep and curious sense of adventure – whether beside him or individually growing in their own personal areas of interest! He lived tenaciously! “Big Daddy” left an indelible mark on so many lives, and he will be greatly missed.
In our grief, we thank God for Mason’s faith in a good, good Father. We rejoice to imagine his body perfected and dancing in heaven, catching the biggest of fish and seeing wildlife beyond his imagination. This hope in the Lord is one we have and will cling to and the knowledge that Mason is exploring his eternal home where we will someday join him.
Mason fell in love with flying in his first semester of college! His two favorite ways for airplanes to be used were for medical purposes and missions. In lieu of flowers, we ask you to consider a donation to the Missionary Aviation Fellowship in Mason’s memory: https://give.maf.org/donate/tribute.
ABOUT CENTRAL CHRISTIAN COLLEGE OF KANSAS
Central Christian College of Kansas is a four-year collegiate institution that strives to offer Christ-centered education for the whole person through four core characteristics: heart, soul, mind, and strength. Its history dates back to 1884, and it is located in the friendly town of McPherson, Kansas. Central is a strategically small college that offers over forty areas of residential study and a thriving online program for non-traditional students. To learn more about Central, go to centralchristian.edu/about. Visit the Foundation of Central Christian College to see what projects and events are coming up.